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The Brontë Sisters

Polly Parrot

Moderator
Staff member
Found one. :D



I read both Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, I didn't enjoy Jane Eyre much but perhaps I should have another go at it as last time I read it I did so in kind of a hurry.

Wuthering Heights is one of my favourite books. I hugely dislike most of the film versions of it though, mostly because they tend to omit the second half of the book and picture Heathcliff like a very romantic sort of person while he is anything but.
 

Meadow337

Former Moderator
Funny lol I'm quite the other way around. I enjoyed Jane Eyre and couldn't stand Wuthering Heights, perhaps because Jane Eyre is less 'romantic' than Wuthering Heights - I had to keep resisting the urge to smack some sense into some one - every one while reading it. (I don't read romance very well LOL the characters are always so PATHETIC!)
 

ChaosTheory

Active Member
I read both Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights when I was 14; and I love JE, I re-read it about every 5 years and keep finding new things in the subtext. Didn't like Heights at all, although maybe I should give it another try now. At 14 I just could not fathom why the actions of these two horrible horrible people was touted as such an epic love story. (JE gets that label a lot too but really it's more a coming-of-age/hero's journey; so maybe I'd like WH if I looked at it more objectively...)
 

Hedwig

Member
Funny - same here. I LOVE Jane Eyre and I loathed everyone except the housekeeper in WH. I did finish the book because it had some good moments, but overall, it didn't make my favourites list.
 

Hedwig

Member
Not-so-likeable characters are not generally something I mind a lot if the rest of the story appeals to me and if there's some kind of explanation given why they are the way they are ... but here they simply appeared a pretty barmy lot.
 

Polly Parrot

Moderator
Staff member
Yeah they really were not very likeable characters in Wuthering Heights.

That's what I like about it. It's not the usual romantic tale of two nearly-perfect human beings who have an equally perfect romance which ultimately leads to marriage (OK, maybe I am getting a little bit carried away here).

I think the plot of Wuthering Heights is actually quite intricate and about much more than the relationship between Cathy (the elder) and Heathcliff. Take, for instance, the issue of property, Heathcliff comes into the novel as a gypsy child who has nothing of his own but through manipulation and using his own son, he manages to take over Wuthering Heights. Brontë had reportedly done extensive research on inheritance and property laws prior to penning the novel. If she did, it certainly shoes but it is something you have to look for (a little).
 

Meadow337

Former Moderator
Hmm no there has to be something sympathetic in a character for me. Entirely unsympathetic characters just don't appeal. Even if they are not likeable - there still has to be something to borrow the Italian word - to be 'simpatico' with - if I'm too busy being really annoyed with them I'm not enjoying the book.
 

anu

Member
I liked Wuthering Heights much more than Jane Eyre, especially liked the mysterious beginning, where a new tenant comes face to face with a suspicious unfriendly landlord and his equally strange family. Heathcliff and Catherine may not be your everyday normal romantic couple but perhaps it is their strange relationship that kept me glued to the novel. And, I did feel sympathetic towards the young Heathcliff who was continuously derided despite being adopted by the father. Often childhood impressions last for a life time, so I did not find anything wrong with his unsocial behaviour. Though Catherine and her brother did appear as spoilt brats who ruined relations in their haughtiness.

I think both the novels are not usual romances and abundant in mystery element, a major attraction for me in JE was to find out the secret of Thornfield.

And speaking of Bronte Sisters has anyone read Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte? I did begin reading it a few months ago, the storyline was good enough and the language quite poetic but lost interest after almost 20% as I found the narrative a bit too slow. Have I missed something great in my impatience?
 

Ronny

Well-Known Member
I liked both books quite a bit, for somewhat different reasons, WH for the characters and JE for the atmosphere/mood.

Wuthering Heights doesn't have likable characters but I enjoyed how unlikable they all were, how cruelty in Heathcliff's childhood made him completely sadistic in his revenge. The romance between characters was different too and in some ways rang truer than other books' romances, you don't always have good reason to be drawn to someone, sometimes the ones you want to be with the most are the worst for you.

Jane Eyre, much like Rebecca by Du Maurier & Woman in White by Collins, just had the perfect touch of the sinister in it's atmosphere/mood, you felt gripped and pulled in all the way through.
 

anu

Member
Ronny you hit the nail on its head. Love is often portrayed in novels as a serene out of world perfect romance, a bit too unrealistic for me. I loved WH as it explored the hidden side of love, the unrequited infatuation that makes one jealous and angry. I think this theme of spurned love and jealousy is present even in JE but here the emphasis is more on the independence of a strong woman and in this regard I would give full marks to Charlotte for creating the formidable Jane. But nothing can beat the mysterious environs of Wuthering Heights for me.
 

Meadow337

Former Moderator
Ronny you hit the nail on its head. Love is often portrayed in novels as a serene out of world perfect romance, a bit too unrealistic for me. I loved WH as it explored the hidden side of love, the unrequited infatuation that makes one jealous and angry. I think this theme of spurned love and jealousy is present even in JE but here the emphasis is more on the independence of a strong woman and in this regard I would give full marks to Charlotte for creating the formidable Jane. But nothing can beat the mysterious environs of Wuthering Heights for me.

Heathcliffe was far too abusive for my taste. I don't mind reading about the horrors of the world in a specific kind of way - where the people doing them are first and foremost the BAD guy and their actions aren't presented as normal, or acceptable and there must be negative consequences for their actions clearly shown. But when you are supposed to be sympathetic to the abuse/abuser I'm not on board.
 

Ronny

Well-Known Member
Heathcliffe was far too abusive for my taste. I don't mind reading about the horrors of the world in a specific kind of way - where the people doing them are first and foremost the BAD guy and their actions aren't presented as normal, or acceptable and there must be negative consequences for their actions clearly shown. But when you are supposed to be sympathetic to the abuse/abuser I'm not on board.

Don't get me wrong, I was not very sympathetic to him, I found a lot that he did unforgivable. It is just a very good and true portrayal of a character. I also would not chose a romance of this nature in real life but part of what makes a good read is being transported and the Brontes did that for me.
 

anu

Member
Meadow in real life people are neither all good nor totally bad. More often than not all of us have grey shades of character with our behaviour depending upon circumstances, mood and upbringing. Then why should one expect only bad characters to behave in an evil way and even be punished for their wrong doings? For me the only thing that matters is a convincing plot.

Though I do understand your point of view. At times it does become difficult to digest a particularly tortuous or gory episode and you just start loathing the entire book for it. This happened with me when I was reading Crime and Punishment. I was so disgusted with an old mare being flogged to death in the beginning of the book that I abandoned the book ASAP. But after sometime I did finish reading it and then only I discovered that the episode I mentioned was a dream of the protagonist and actually described his psychological condition, preparing the reader for the grievous murder he was going to commit.

But, coming back to the current topic, I think, every reader interprets the book differently and that's perhaps the greatest thing about reading :)
 

Meadow337

Former Moderator
Meadow in real life people are neither all good nor totally bad. More often than not all of us have grey shades of character with our behaviour depending upon circumstances, mood and upbringing. Then why should one expect only bad characters to behave in an evil way and even be punished for their wrong doings? For me the only thing that matters is a convincing plot.

Though I do understand your point of view. At times it does become difficult to digest a particularly tortuous or gory episode and you just start loathing the entire book for it. This happened with me when I was reading Crime and Punishment. I was so disgusted with an old mare being flogged to death in the beginning of the book that I abandoned the book ASAP. But after sometime I did finish reading it and then only I discovered that the episode I mentioned was a dream of the protagonist and actually described his psychological condition, preparing the reader for the grievous murder he was going to commit.

But, coming back to the current topic, I think, every reader interprets the book differently and that's perhaps the greatest thing about reading :)

LOL please don't lecture me on the shades of grey of life - I'm well aware of them and FYI a person CAN have a good character!

And I don't have any problem accepting or digesting 'gory' scenes although I don't like watching gratuitous violence in movies. Its more to do with a moral stance on certain behaviours.
 

Ronny

Well-Known Member
Meadow, I find it hard to take your tone sometimes. You seem to bring a lot of personal baggage into the book conversations.

I think Anu's point is valid and about the book, yours seems almost a personal attack.
 

anu

Member
I did not intend to lecture anyone. All of us are here as readers just discussing their point of views. WH is popular even after 166 years of its conception precisely because it is not a regular story with a good hero, meek heroine and a BAD villain. It is much deeper than an ordinary romance and does require a humbler, more tolerant reading. But I rest my case each to his own.
 

anu

Member
Oops Ronny I did not see your comments earlier. I think both of us are replying almost simultaneously. And thanks for reading my words as they were meant to be.
 
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Ronny

Well-Known Member
I am always forgetting about the other sister, Anne's, Tenant of Wildfell Hall,or, Agnes Grey, has anyone read them? I mean to, as I enjoyed the others so well and it amazes me that all 3 sisters wrote.
 

Meadow337

Former Moderator
Ronny, I use smiley's to convey tone because its all too easy for the written response to seem harsher than it is. So when I put a :) or a ;) its meant to take any edge out of my words.

"Don't lecture me :)' is not the same as "Don't lecture me!". The first is light, with a smile - hey I know dat already :) :) :) - the second more serious.

And yes I do bring personal stuff in. I'm not divorced from what I'm reading. I don't read in a vacuum or in some form of neutrality. I'm involved. Books touch me, move me, affect me and my life, my thoughts, my feelings, my views all impact both what I choose to read and my experience of it.

There are a few things I feel strongly about for a variety of reasons and they deeply affect my personal view of what I read.

Anu, I did not mean to jump on you, if thats the way it seemed. I'm sorry.
 
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