Such a few chapters but chock full of drama, intensity and characters acting with wild impracticality. It is now certain that Edgar Linton will die, the question is only when. Catherine, accompanied by Ellen/Nelly, meets Linton Heathcliff. When his father appears, Linton combines temper tantrums and manipulative coersion by appealing to his sickly state, to convince her to return with him to Wuthering Heights. Upon their arrival, Heathcliff imprisons Catherine and Nelly, physically abusing Catherine when she crosses him. Curiously, although Nelly is liberated after five days, through various coincidences her applications of assistance for Catherine do not work and Catherine must escape herself to reach her father’s bedside minutes before his death. Yet the brief freedom means nothing, as Heathcliff eventually forces her to marry Linton, so his heir gets both Wuthering Heights and the Grange, avenging himself finally on both the Earnshaws and Lintons. Linton is a smaller, yet weaker copy of his father and while he does not perpetrate violence upon Catherine because he is hampered by his health, he relates the cruel treatment he would subject her to if he was able. Soon afer, Linton succumbs to his weak health. Time passes and Catherine, who has throughout the whole novel despised, taunted and depricated Hareton, decides to be nice to him. He returns her advances and they “fall in love”, much to the annoyance of Heathcliff who has other problems churning his mind. It appears Cathy is haunting him; he feels her presence along with a feeling of elation and, for once is distracted from his machinations, neither eating nor sleeping until he dies and is buried, according to his wishes, near Cathy and Edgar Linton. Hareton and Catherine marry and, at the end of the book, decide to live at Thrushcross Grange.
photo courtesy of Greg Neate
It was a real struggle to finish this novel. Thus far, it had been reasonably interesting, if not well-constructed, but for the last quarter of the read, the wild flights of improbable drama often made me want to close the book and go on to something else. I could not find one redeeming feature in Heathcliff, his nature entirely vicious, base and twisted. His love for Cathy was more an obsession, his desires at times blinding him to both her health and well-being, his actions done with complete disregard for future consequences. Yet overall, I am glad that I read this novel. Emily Brontë writes well and there are hints that if she had lived, her writing would have matured, honed by practice and life’s experiences.
Read-along posts: Chapters 1-9 / Chapters 10-17 / Chapters 18-26 / Chapters 27-34 / FINAL REVIEW
Many thanks to Maggie who hosted this wonderful challenge!