Wuthering Heights was a surprisingly interesting read. I mistakenly expected something in the lines of Jane Austen’s adventures, but no. Emily Bronte’s novel is a story about revenge, very strong emotions, and how a single solitary objective in a cruel man’s mind can be achieved, and still mean nothing.
A little context before some of my favourite quotes: Heathcliff was an adopted child who saw his love (Catherine) marry someone else (Edgar) and ever since dreams of revenge. He eventually becomes the guardian of his stepbrother’s son, as well as his own son – who he does not love – born of a wife he never loved. All of Heathcliff’s actions and thoughts are either about Catherine, or about making others pay for his suffering.
Heathcliff speaks about Edgar’s week affection for Catherine (Heathcliff’s love)
if he loved with all the powers of his puny being, he couldn’t love as much in eighty years as I could in a day. And Catherine has a heart as deep as I have; the sea could be as readily contained in that house-trough as her whole affection be monopolized by him
In an argument, Heathcliff’s wife (they both despise each other) wants to hurt him by reminding him that his former love, Catherine, is dead:
Heathcliff, if I were you, I’d go stretch myself over her grave and die like a faithful dog.
Heathcliff aggravated and dreaming of revenge:
‘I have no pity! I have no pity! The more the worms writhe, the more I yearn to crush out their entrails! It is a moral teething; and I grind with greater energy in proportion to the increase of pain.’
Heathcliff, now the guardian of two boys – his own and Hindley’s son -, boasting that he has made them merely his tools:
Don’t you think Hindley would be proud of his son, if he could see him? Almost as proud as I am of mine. But there’s this difference, one is gold put to the use of paving stones; and the other is tin polished to ape a service of silver. Mine has nothing valuable about it; yet I shall have the merit of making it go as far as such poor stuff can go. His had first-rate qualities, and they are lost — rendered worse than unavailing.
After all of Heathcliff’s plans for revenge have worked, he owns the houses of his rivals, has control of their children, and has seen them all die. He has made all others succumb to his will, and says the following:
It is a poor conclusion, is it not? […] an absurd termination to my violent exertions? I get levers and mattocks to demolish the two houses, and train myself to be capable of working like Hercules, and when everything is ready and in my power, I find the will to lift a slate off either roof has vanished! My old enemies have not beaten me; now would be the precise time to revenge myself on their representatives: I could do it; and none could hinder me. But where is the use? I don’t care for striking: I can’t take the trouble to raise my hand! […] I have lost the faculty of enjoying their destruction, and I am too idle to destroy for nothing. […] there is a strange change approaching; I’m in its shadow at present.