I am a sucker for a good book – everyone’s definition of which is different, I’m sure. For me, my good book has character development, absolutely. Plot, definitely. Well-developed metaphors that don’t bash you over the head with either complexity or simplicity (I’m speaking to you, Alchemist), we’re good to go (and while we’re on that note, gestatious dialogue for the purpose of self-importance or even worse, simply “waiting for Godot” = BAH!).
I’ve kept track of the books I’ve read since the beginning of May. Kind of a reclaiming of my love for books that I didn’t know was as intense as it has been (goes to show how intentional routines or structures can retrain your brain, reconnect those pathways, rebuild your bridges so that the emotions reemerge — exposure therapy, anyone?). Book 15 was Wuthering Heights initially a verbose read about a collection of characters that seemed unredeemable and not sympathetic in the slightest. Through the first quarter of the novel, I wanted them all to fall – they were all assholes! Either self-indulgent, insolent, incredulously ill-mannered (using my book words now!), none of these characters had an iota of my sympathy, my connection. That is, until Catherine Earnshaw’s passionate speech to Nelly, the house servant (always a good source for true information), on Pages 83 & 84:
“‘I cannot express it; but surely you and everybody have a notion that there is or should be an existence of yours beyond you. What were the use of my creation, if I were entirely contained here? My great miseries in this world have been Heathcliff’s miseries, and I watched and felt each from the beginning; my great thought in living is himself. If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger; I should not seem a part of it. … Nelly, I am Heathcliff! He’s always, always in my mind – not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being.'”
Love redeems her, at least in the reader’s eyes. To that point she is more insufferable and after that point she may continue to be, but in that moment, love redeems her for me. That is the power of love, because how can someone who loves like that, who cares for another like that, who feels the good emotions like Catherine describes, how can that person be completely unsympathetic, completely undeserving of connection, completely incapable of redemption. The foreward similarly describes this feeling, this time of the character Heathcliff, stating, “No man who loves as he loves can be thoroughly evil. We stay with Heathcliff until the very end” (vii).
The darkness of Emily Bronte’s novel foreshadows that she will fall, that they all will as good tragedies go. However, she will not fall in readers’ eyes, because of love.