I finally decided that I would actually make a series of posts about my favourite novels, and where best to begin but with my all-time favourite – Wuthering Heights.
I came across this novel when I studied English Literature A-Level, and I was introduced to the world of the Gothic. I was very apprehensive about reading a novel from the mid-19th Century, but I quickly learned that I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover (or its publication date). The Gothic is a genre that I recommend to everyone, as it covers the supernatural to the scientific, whilst being completely ambiguous – is it real or is it psychological? When reading Gothic novels, I’m never sure which is scarier. I could not recommend Gothic novels more (mid-1700’s to mid-1800’s).
Anyway, back to Wuthering Heights. I read it the summer before I began the course and I couldn’t put it down. Emily Bronte’s detailed descriptions and the ability to scare her readers by creating a vivid scene inside their heads is what makes her novel one of my favourites. Not only does she create horrific scenes of ghosts cutting their wrists on broken panes and toddlers being dropped from the upstairs bannister, but she somehow makes her readers sympathise with one of the most Gothic characters ever created – Heathcliff.
Heathcliff’s ambiguity surrounds the whole novel, with speculations that he is Mr Earnshaw’s bastard son, a Gypsy, or an Indian Prince. Critics discuss Heathcliff as an outsider because of his ethnicity, with others calling him ‘dark-skinned’ and ‘as dark as if he came from the devil.’ However, Bronte maintains ambiguity around his character, filling her novel with mystery, a conventional method used to invoke fear. What interests me is that contemporary audiences found fear in novels, but of course, they didn’t have the movies, CGI, and virtual reality technology we have today. Despite this, Bronte still manages to invoke fear (perhaps not as much as her contemporary audiences) into modern audiences by her incredible writing.
Before this turns into a huge essay, I am just going to say, read the book and you will see what I’m talking about. Enjoy.
(P.S. You can get the Wuthering Heights Poster made out of text from postertext.com)