Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wuthering Heights Wednesday: Week 5

It's week 5 of our Wuthering Heights Wednesday read-along hosted by Jill at Fizzy Thoughts and, according to my calculations, we're just about half way through. I'm really enjoying this read-along experience and believe it's adding a lot to my overall enjoyment of the novel.

Chapter 13 - 15 Summary

The bullet points worked well last week. They helped me sum up the main plot points and organize my thoughts... think I'll use them the rest of the book. Last week, we left off with Isabella running off with Heathcliff, and Catherine on the verge of death (or so we thought!).
  • Catherine's life is no longer in danger, but she will suffer "permanent alienation of intellect".
  • Mrs. Dean receives a letter from Isabella detailing her disillusionment with Heathcliff (did I mention the part about him 'hanging up' her little dog?), the horrible state of affairs at Wuthering Heights, and begging for a visit the following day.
  • Mrs. Dean travels, without a letter from Edgar, to Wuthering Heights where she is shocked at the dirty conditions and Isabella's "careless" appearance. (Heathcliff looks surprisingly handsome and gentlemanly by contrast.)
  • Heathcliff is plotting his revenge on Edgar through Isabella.
  • Heathcliff manages to extract a promise from Nelly (who believes him mad) to arrange a visit with Catherine.
  • Heathclif and Catherine have an emotion-filled (understatement!) reunion.
  • Catherine swoons again.
  • Edgar enters the room and is enraged to find Heathcliff.
  • Heathcliff urges Edgar to tend to Catherine first, which he does; Heathcliff slips away into the garden.

Quotes

Isabella on Heathcliff:
"Is Mr. Heathcliff a man? If so, is he mad? And if not, is he a devil?" (page 135)
"I do hate him - I am wretched - I have been a fool!" (page 144)
Heathcliff on Isabella:
"Now was it not the depth of absurdity - of genuine idiocy, for that pitiful, slavish, mean-minded brach to dream that I could love her? Tell your master, Nelly, that I never, in all my life, met with such an abject thing as she is." (page 150)
Cathy and Heathcliff's "scene":
H: "Oh, Cathy! Oh, my life! how can I bear it?"

C: "You and Edgar have broken my heart, Heathcliff! ...You have killed me - and thriven on it, I think. How strong you are! How many years do you mean to live after I am gone? ... I wish I could hold you 'till we were both dead! I shouldn't care what you suffered. I care nothing for your sufferings. Why shouldn't you suffer? I do! ..."

H: "Don't torture me till I'm as mad as yourself.... Are you possessed with a devil to talk in that manner to me when you are dying?... You know you lie to say I have killed you: and, Catherine, you know that I could as soon forget you as my existence! Is it not sufficient for your infernal selfishness, that while you are at peace I shall writhe in the torments of hell?" (pages 156-158)
My Thoughts

Can I say once again how messed up these people are? Heathcliff's cruelty is utterly amazing. Can readers really find him attractive or romantic?

Chapter 15, or Catherine and Heathcliff's scene, was positively spell-binding! But, can this be what makes this book a legendary romance in some readers eyes?

We end this week's section with Cathy swooning once again. When is she going to die already?? We know it happens...

Final word: Romantic? Not really, but oh, how captivating! On to chapter 16 ...

Reading Along

19 comments:

  1. 'Catherine swoons again' cracked me up!

    That all-consuming obsessive love is not something that would win points with me personally but I suppose the high drama makes for a riveting read. Wait until you get to the bit about the coffins *shiver*.

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  2. You are so right about it not being romantic. I couldn't believe how awful they were to each other when I read it. I had curled up hoping for a cosy classic read! It is compelling though.

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  3. You are definitely right about the romance. What romance! Heathcliff now comes across as utterly appalling and not someone I would like to know. Catherine must die soon, she has held on long enough. Loving the bullet points, might use them next week myself.

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  4. I wonder what would happen if Cathy and Heathcliff actually got to live together. Might make an interesting "alternate" novel.

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  5. Catherine would lay the blame for everything at Edgar and Heathcliff's feet. Like she's an innocent party? Hah!

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  6. The plot thickens ... Great post! I haven't read this yet, but you make me want to.

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  7. Wuthering Heights is one of my favorite books, and I've really been enjoying reading you go through it week by week, finding that it's not quite what you expected but enjoying it anyway. False expectations of a real romance often lead people to reject the novel but I find the actual story much more compelling.

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  8. Don't you just wonder what the Twilight aficionados who turn to WH think of Cathy and Heathcliff? They're a lot more messed up than Bella and Edward. Or so I hear--I haven't read Twilight, at least beyond the first couple of chapters.

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  9. I think this is the furthest thing from romantic personally. However, it is entertaining, and I think they all deserve each other.

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  10. This is a great post JoAnn - thank you so much for sharing. Although I am not reading along, I feel that I am reliving one of my favourite books through your blog!

    Thanks indeed

    Hannah

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  11. That is the big question...why do so many people love Heathcliff???? I despised him!

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  12. It's almost like those silent movies from the 20s. The femme fatale, the fainting...the man sweeping in on a horse blah blah. So dramatic. It's as if Emily wanted to say. "Hey! Look here! These people are a real piece of work!"

    To call this a romance is pushing it. I suppose they can be in love with themselves and still have it count as a romance.

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  13. Darlene - Did you say coffins??

    Tea lady - Romantic is probably the last word I would use to describe this book, yet it is the one word I associated with it before beginning.

    Vivienne - Heathcliff is the most unappealing male character I've come across in quite some time...I'm not feeling the romance here ;-)

    Rhapsodyinbooks - oh... good idea! Why not write it?

    Softdrink - Innocent party? ... sure ;-) She can't possible live through another week's reading.

    Kim - Oh, you've got to read this. Maybe after Jane Eyre?

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  14. Nicole - This book has surprised me more than any in recent memory. You're right in saying this is not at all what I was expecting. And Darlene is talking about coffins??

    Amy - I'm wondering if the cover of that new edition is meant to attract the Twilight crowd. I actually read the first Twilight book at the request of my daughter - I wasn't impressed...

    Sandy - Yup, definitely entertaining... and I agree that they all deserve each other!

    Hannah - So glad that you enjoy following along! I have been afraid that I'm boring anyone who knows the story...

    Staci - Why anyone would love Heathcliff is a total mystery to me!

    Ti - Good one - a romance where they are all in love with themselves - LOL! This has got to be the perfect example.

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  15. Joann,
    Sadly, yes, that cover is meant to attract the Twilight crowd. What a rude awakening for them!

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  16. i keep reminding myself that the Heathcliff i met in the movie aint the Heathcliff in the book.

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  17. For the first few chapters, I was actually starting to feel bad for Heathcliff but the further in we get, the more I remember why I never got why anyone adored him!

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  18. I think I can find Heathcliff somewhat attractive (at least for now). Okay, it's not cool how he's treated Isabella. But he was the victim of a bad childhood and Catherine, his true love, felt he wasn't good enough to marry. He wants revenge and needs a therapist (they all do actually).

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  19. Messy Karen - I'm looking forward to meeting a 'movie version' of Heathcliff!

    Lisa - LOL, my feelings, exactly!

    Rob - Well, when you put it that way, I can at least feel (a little) sympathy for the guy... but I agree a therapist would seem to be in order!

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