Thursday, March 24, 2011

it's a beautiful day in the neighborhood

I finished Wuthering Heights at the very moment Elizabeth Taylor died and now Catherine Earnshaw/Linton will be forever tied up in my mind with the slightly plump young Liz. Richard Burton can play Heathrow, Hindleg and Harelip all rolled up in one overly emotional mass - occasionally drunk, of course. Works for me.

I don’t know, call me uptight but Wuthering Heights was over the top. I’m more the Jane Eyre type. It’s like Rose Red vs. Snow White. I always come down on the Snow White side, even when I wish I could loosen up. It’s why I like pale Legolas more than sultry Aragorn, why as a kid I preferred Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood over Sesame Street, and probably why I work out better in Germany than Italy.

My own failings aside, it is amazing that Heathcliff is considered a romantic hero when really he is a plain sadist. My husband also recently read Wuthering Heights, then watched a movie version, and he said the film brought over more clearly how Heathcliff had been abused and humiliated as a child. You get that less in the book because the volume is cranked up to FREAKOUT pretty much throughout. But the abuse, along with his attachment to Catherine #1, was one of the reasons he decided to be spiteful, tyrannical and cruel for the rest of his life, before finally going insane. Thank you!

I am glad I read it. I’d started and given up on it some years ago. I did understand Heathcliff in the end, and the story and writing certainly are stirring. And we got an excellent Kate Bush song out of it. For the next hour or so I will be enjoying that limbo between books, when every shelf brims with possibilities.

Thanks to Adrienne Kammerer for lending me her image "Bringer of the Black Dawn."


Kathleen said...

I first read it as a comic book. Somehow that worked fine. So those images were stuck in my head when I finally read the book.

Loved the Juliette Binoche film version, the moment when she realizes Heathcliff has overheard her and she runs out after him....

ArtSparker said...

I love that you equate Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights with Snow white and Rose Red.

SarahJane said...

Juliette Binoche! Now that would work.

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