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Why might the novel, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte have stoodthe test of time with...

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josephgruber | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted August 6, 2012 at 6:47 PM via web

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Why might the novel, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte have stoodthe test of time with such terrible, hateful characters??

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lhc | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted August 7, 2012 at 12:02 AM (Answer #1)

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Classic literature, while not always the most entertaining to read, often endures over time because in addition to having literary value, it reflects aspects of the human condition that are part of all of us.  There is a little bit of Heathcliff, and Catherine in all of us, perhaps; additionally, the idea of a codependent, and ultimately doomed love story, like that of Heathcliff and Catherine, is a familiar archetype precisely because it is something virtually everyone can relate to, regardless of culture, nationality, or the era in which one lives.  Heathcliff's worldview goes from confrontational and aggressive as a youngster to downright ominous as an adult, and the generational angst he causes among the young people descended from him and Catherine is also not an unfamiliar theme.  For as long as humans have existed, parents and children have clashed over various and assorted issues, like who to date or marry, for many different reasons. 

Classic literature can be difficult to read, especially work like Bronte's, that was conceived and created in time period when language, particularly sentence structures and syntax, were very different from what we might consider standard English today.  As such, contemporary readers might prefer to learn about the consequences of impossible love affairs in the form of easily comprehended works such as Stephenie Meyers's Twilight saga, rather than things written by the Bronte sisters, for example, or Jane Austen.  However, if one is willing to slow down one's reading and make the effort to appreciate how the author crafted plot and characterization in a way that also demonstrates remarkable literary value, one might find a work of a depth that will enrich him or her on an intellectual level in a way that a more accessible novel never could. 

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