Monday, September 23, 2013

Wuthering Heights: What a Passionate Storm

"Wuthering Heights", a story as ominous and turbulent as the bustling winds and erratic weather that surrounds the backdrop, portrays a love story distorted by violent passions, vast selfishness, and merciless revenge. And yet, to these two tortured souls, Heathcliff and Catherine, their exposed souls, their very desires are bled into this love. In their eyes, the love they share is in its most pure and genuine form. To the two narrators of this story, Nelly and Lockwood, this love is destructive, cruel, and narcissistic.

Catherine abuses the emotions of those around her, marrying Linton out of pure thirst for an ideal life. She manipulates her environment, using others for her own personal gain. Catherine has no regard for anyone but Heathcliff, he is her sole focus. He lights a fire within her, drawing her away from civilized manners and into the stormy fits of blunt enjoyment and an unbounded vehemence for love. Likewise, Heathcliff longs only for the crushing tenderness of Catherine's love. He pays no regards for who he harms in his return to her arms. And though this love can be interpreted as destructive and cruel to an outsider, these fits of passion are the fuel, the very being of these lovers. Without their abusive yearnings and massive acts of revenge and jealousy, they would lose the very fire that keeps them going, that provides intrigue, lust, and deceit that they crave in a relationship. Though strange and mystifying, both Heathcliff and Catherine's love thrives in this tumultuous environment.

Perspective is what fuels this story: Lockwood's perspective on a strange new world, Nelly's interpretation of an everlasting drama, Heathcliff's confusion, sadness, and obsession with Catherine's life, and Catherine's self-indulgent and distorted vision of reality. All are tangled, unraveled, and tangled again as the story progresses. What is true? Does Catherine truly haunt Wuthering Heights? Is Heathcliff as dark and cruel as Nelly describes? Are the stories little Cathy tells of her travels to Wuthering Heights distorted by her fear of Heathcliff and her assumed duty to young Linton? Or is everything distorted through the foggy lens of reality?

This tale truly embodies an oncoming storm: bustling clouds roll over the hills, every shade of gray, some profusely blacker than others. The environment below becomes shadowed by the large clouds, each one carrying destructive drops of rain, each possessing potential to upset the world below. And while those below may perceive this ominous stampede as havoc, this presence is the clouds way of life, we'll say. It's what they do and have always done, and the environment or potential harm they may cause has no effect on the storm. These clouds are unaware, unconscious of what lies below, because after all, they're only clouds. It's all perspective. How could the land possibly understand the workings of a storm?

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