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Wuthering Heights

by Emily Brontë

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Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë is a Victorian novel, which traditionally contains characters who lead a hard and difficult life in nearly every way and are then redeemed in the end by hard work and overcoming, in some way, their personal flaws. In other words, in a Victorian novel, the protagonists spend the bulk of their stories enduring their difficult circumstances (usually created by some injustice(s) in society) and perhaps wallowing in their sinful natures, and are then rewarded for their efforts, ensuring a happy ending to the novel.

Wuthering Heights is significant because it is not a typical Victorian novel. One thing it does have in common with most other significant Victorian novels is that it deals with the distinct economic differences between the rich and the poor. That is the crux of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, for example, and it is certainly an issue in Brontë's novel. In fact, this class distinction is one of the most significant factors in how things go for Heathcliff throughout the course of his life and this novel. In this way, Wuthering Heights is typical.

One of the ways this novel does not fit the norm, however, is that it is the only Victorian novel which places its characters outside the society in which they live. Of course the setting of this novel naturally isolates these characters, but they are additionally disconnected from a society that presumably does not matter much to them. In other words, society in this novel is seen only through the characters rather than as an entity which is as significant as any other character in the story.

That is not to say that society does not matter, as Catherine changes the course of both her life and Heathcliff's life based on her adherence to society's standards. She says,

"It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now; so he shall never know how I love him; and that, not because he’s handsome, Nelly, but because he’s more myself than I am."

While Heathcliff is the man she genuinely and completely loves, her adherence to society's dictates destroys any chance for them to experience happiness. Even then, though, we see society through her eyes, not her through society's eyes. 

Another way Wuthering Heights is unique is that it does not deal with social issues and problems like all the other Victorian novels. Instead, she concentrates on the inner workings of her characters' hearts and minds. She puts Heathcliff's rather violent emotions and feelings on display, and this focus on the inner workings of a man's soul is not something others were writing at this time. We are horrified by what things well up in Heathcliff's breast, but we connect to it, as well, because he is us.

Perhaps the most significant aspect of this Victorian novel is that it provides the first indication of the next thing to be written. It is a Gothic Romantic novel, containing many of the elements of the modern novel. The setting is haunting, dark, and mysterious, and the presence of ghosts and other supernatural elements certainly characterize the novel more as Gothic than as Victorian. Even more, Brontë's protagonist is moved to act more by the dark or evil  side of his nature, another indication that this is a Gothic horror and more in the realm of Romantic than Victorian literature.

In short, Wuthering Heights distinguished itself both by being significantly different from nearly every other novel written during the Victorian period and by serving as a forerunner to the modern novel. 

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What makes the novel Wuthering Heights very interesting?

Your question is subjective, of course. It would certainly be possible to ask it of a given person, and that person might answer, "nothing". After all, difficult as it is for me to understand, there ARE those persons who do NOT find the novel interesting!

Also, we might ask the question of 20 persons, and all would have different answers, none totally agreeing with the others.  Therefore, I cannot tell you exactly what is interesting about the book.  You will have to read it and decide for yourself.  However, I can give you a couple of suggestions of what makes it interesting to me.  Perhaps these will give you some clues as to how to begin formulating your own answers.

First of all, I find the setting of the book to be quite interesting.  The description of the heather, the rocky topography, the wind, etc., always evoke, for me, a land that is far removed from my own, and one that I would like to view.

I also like the Gothic nature of the book.  The dark, brooding, questioning, uncertainty, passionate nature of the characters draw me into their personalities.  "What makes them tick?"

And, of course, one cannot overlook the fact of the romances between the two main couples.  Love and romance for one couple is extremely different from the love and romance of the other.  The place of status in society of the era has much to do with their relationships, and makes their actions extremely interesting.

The fact that the novel was written by a woman, during a time when female writers were neither so numerous nor so appreciated as they are today, also gives me another reason to be interested in the book.

These are only some of the reason I find "Wuthering Heights" to be of great interest, and a novel that I have read more than once. I hope this will give you some starting places for your own conclusions.

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What makes the novel Wuthering Heights very interesting?

I will start off with my reason why the novel 'Wuthering Heights' by Emily Bronte is so interesting - hopefully other editors will chime in with some more variations for you. It's interesting because the book broke the mould of its time. In the first half of the 1800s, femininity was everything to the upper classes - in fact girls would fail to have a good match or living without it. Girls were expected to be delicate, gentle, passive, talented in the gentler arts of music, conversation, sewing and to be learning to be good hostesses - in other words to be ladylike accoutrements their rich husbands could be proud of. Emily Bronte was different - not only did she pursue the unladylike occupation of writing for money, but she wrote 'coarse' or 'vulgar' stories involving passion and rage. In other words she was more honest than many writers of her day.

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