Daily suggestions of novels, short stories and poetry for a literary life.
I wish I could provide a more thorough answer to this ask, to be honest. I have read Wuthering Heights but my interest in big romantic books (ie Jane Austen ie Jane Eyre) is sort of limited, and I mostly read all three of those books out of obligation to the literary canon than any actual desire. But, I would say that Wuthering Heights is probably my favorite of the three, and I’ll try to explain why.
It can be very difficult to care about the characters in a novel that is created in such an epic, gothic way - particularly because so much of the plot is build on misunderstanding, and the characters constantly make decisions that I would not make. But you have to remember that the point of Wuthering Heights is the love story and the dark, twisted aspects of that, and not so much about the individual characters themselves. It’s also important to remember that women who wrote these early novels, especially the Brontes, came from their own difficult circumstances, and did not have the resources to write fully fledged characters in the way that male authors did. Although of course I’m saying this from my own perspective and perhaps yours, because there are so many readers out there that feel a close personal connection to Catherine and Heathcliff and their relationship. Either way, I think a lot of Bronte’s focus is on the nature of love itself, according to the limitations that we put on it, and how it can be distorted into something dark and terrible. That’s what I was most interested in, and focused the most on.
In her book A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf called Wuthering Heights a failure. She said that Charlotte Bronte was unable to check her anger, especially at her social status due to her gender, and that it colored her writing and made it impossible to be honest. For me, however, I actually quite appreciate Bronte’s anger. It’s something that you can feel throughout the book, just under the surface, especially if you’re looking for it. I would suggest focusing on those aspects of the book and seeing if you can pick up on that, instead of focusing too much on the characters!