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Smile more, it's infectious.
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To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!
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All in all, I do recommend it, but only to people who have the capacity to follow along and bear with the writing style.
Even though it has become a bit cliché, and is spoken about a pretty toxic relationship, my favorite Wuthering quote remains, "Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same."
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Like many others, I found it difficult to warm to the characters and at times it was an intense, disturbing, complex and difficult read. I think it is this uncomfortable mixture that makes it such an original and brilliant novel.
I studied this book for A-Level at college and this allowed me to explore its themes and symbolism. I came to appreciate the characters for their symbolic purpose in the novel. Having better understood this purpose, it became less important to my enjoyment of the novel whether I liked the characters or not.
My favourite theme in the novel is the conflict between passion and conformity. Heathcliff can be said to represent passion, while Edgar represents conformity. Cathy is torn between the two, with a devastating impact on her wellbeing.
This theme can be further developed by comparing the two houses in the novel. Wuthering Heights and the moors can be seen to represent passion, freedom and an element of danger. Thrushcross Grange and its surrounding park appears to represent the safety of conformity.
The symbolic use of windows throughout the novel also emphasises this theme. Windows can be seen as a flimsy barrier between conformity and passion.
During the lives of the first generation, the windows are firmly closed. A good example is when Cathy is first drawn towards culture through the window at Thrushcross Grange (Chapter 6). Cathy is invited inside to join in with acceptable society. Heathcliff is left on the outside of the closed window looking in. In response, he says:
“If Catherine had wished to return, I intended shattering their great glass panes to a million fragments, unless they let her out”.
This appears to demonstrate both the fragility of acceptable society and Heathcliff’s anger and frustration towards the barriers he faces in life.
By contrast, upon returning to Wuthering Heights during the period of the second generation, Mr Lockwood noticed “an improvement”. The gate “yielded” to his hand and “both doors and lattices were open” (Chapter 32). This symbolic use of open windows allows you to finish the novel with a feeling of hope that the second generation will not suffer as Heathcliff and Cathy did. Hopefulness that they can, instead, experience freedom from the barriers that once existed between conformity and passion.