The other day, Peter, one of my teachers, came and said to me, “Yesterday night, I thought of you again.” Following his words, they say that a new wind power generator built in York was named “Wuthering Heights”. Watching it on TV, he visited our classroom to tell me that story because he knows I am a student working on Emily.
“Wuthering” is an adjective created by Emily herself. She adapted it to the name of a house standing on the hill. Wuthering Heights is the house around which “the excessive slant of a few stunted firs” and the moors are spreading infinitely. North England, Yorkshire, a village nearby Keighley, that is, Haworth is a place on which this novel was based. As Heathcliff cried out, if you go out in a bad weather, it’ll be your end ― the footpath is not the footpath, so it’s difficult to return to the main route if you get lost. The story developing in such place is a departure from the ordinary.
This novel is one of pieces which has been reassessed since the early 20th-century in which we can see the rise of literary theory. A lot of issues with which we deal now were cultivated by literary theory. I cannot write them all down here, so I recommend to consult references like Reading Wuthering Heights. Then, I wonder what sort of things I should write here. It might be a problem if I write stupid things about it as my HP was entitled “Wuthering Heights”. Therefore, I would like to raise a simple question as one of the ardent readers of Emily. Why did she write this outrageous novel?
It can be said that not so many writers write novels like this which is cruel and fierce. To be honest, all the things in Wuthering Heights must definitely drive you crazy as much as possible, I mean, this novel is terrible. Everybody in it is rubbish. Nelly, a narrator, is a liar, Lockwood filled with lots of preoccupations is foolish, Heathcliff is a villain, Catherine is selfish, Hindley is vile and Edgar is wily. It is remarkable Emily described all of them in this way thoroughly, and one of the critics said that “it is surprising the author finished writing it without committing suicide”.
This novel has been thought as a representation of natural phenomenon. That Emily describes a trait of each character using adjectives deliberately associated with natural phenomenon was analysed by Mark Schorer. All the characters exist as if they represented a ‘state’ of nature, and sometimes their ‘tempers’ come to be stormy, calm down and melancholic. Changeable sentiments which nature shows completely correspond to theirs. Her intension can be seen in its accordance. We might cry before the splendid sunset as well as before a dying person.
In this respect, that we ask why she wrote this novel is the same as we ask why nature is beautiful or why nature is cruel. That is not the meaningless query, but primitive one which men has been asking for a long time. It’s better to see a picture called Wuthering Heights in an attempt to understand why men are sometimes cruel, rather than consider it in our minds. In it, everybody does what they want arbitrarily without patience. Since her description of such behaviour is scrupulous and honest, Wuthering Heights has been grabbing the hearts of readers for over 150 years.