Wuthering Heights is not just a book – it’s passion; it’s rage; it’s desire; it’s revenge; it’s love; it’s hatred… it’s what not! Emily Bronte didn’t know perhaps when she had written this book that it’d go on to become immortal and making her an infamous author as well. There are the people who like it and there are also the people who don’t like it. Whatever be the case, Wuthering Heights is never out of reach of the circle which remains abuzz round the clock.
Emily Bronte has presented a mixed bag in the form of her only novel to the critics. ‘Wuthering Heights’ has different appeal to different readers. Feminists and Marxists, especially, have too much interest in the novel, or, to be frank, only in some of the characters of the novel. Heathcliff remains the interest of many, at last, because he cannot appeal to a certain section. Heathcliff is made of some different metal which does not let him rest at one instance. His restlessness, hitherto, could not be captured in any single frame of theories and scholars often end in a messy quarrel over his position. Likewise, the characters of Catherine and Isabella are also the centre of debates and multitude nature of assumptions.
Themes, as such in the novel, are many. Aspiration, passion and a reaction to being the one who is left oblivion can be, in my terms, said to be the major ones. Heathcliff’s revenge against Edgar can be said of being a romantically jealous nature, however. While the novel has been received warmly in the hands of modern readers, the early reviews of the novel were mixed in nature. Somehow, even now, the readers don’t fail to see the devastating form of humanity crawling in the novel. There are very fewer instances of ‘healthy’ imagery in the novel – maybe it’s the case because Emily Bronte would have decided to bring a totally different form of narrative – an imaginative one and if so was the case, she has almost succeeded.
Before I put a rest against my case, I would like to point out that the novel is often dodged upon the readers – more often by the readers who read the novel Wuthering Heights themselves under someone else’s influence. A modern reader, as I think, is less thought to find something in the novel except horrific imagery and a sense of restlessness! There is imagination, no doubt, but the novel lacks something which we call permanence. More than this, I would say that The Pilgrim’s Progress would appeal to a general reader in any age…
At last, without taking away something from Emily’s credit, I admit that I personally enjoyed reading the book. I will not say, though, that a reader must go through this book. This is the decision that the readers are to make themselves after reading the first chapter.