Wuthering Heights and its many lessons By Charity Sekonyela

My first impression of this book honestly was shock and confusion. I couldn’t fathom that an actual human being could be like Heathcliff. I felt that he lacked traits that made us human. I was so moved by the story that I took it up in a discussion with my lecturer on how I was astonished that Heathcliff, the main character, could be so cruel and I remember now how my lecturer smiled as I handed in my review.

I read this book for the first time as part of my language proficiency class in varsity. I put the book off in mind as melancholic and a dash of evil literature… LOL. (What a novice I was). Two years later while visiting my cousin, I saw a copy of Wuthering Heights and I told her that I read it in varsity and asked if I could reread it and she agreed and lent me her copy. As I begun to read it once again with new eyes, I felt as though that I had been reading this book for the first time – all that felt familiar to me was the title and the character names. The narrative was different and had a certain texture to it that I had missed the first time.

The book documents the struggles that Heathcliff had to endure because he was not considered socially suitable or even regarded as human really and due to this, he was hindered from acquiring what he desired and whom he loved and the life he wished for himself. The story depicts how society’s perceptions have a way of infringing on your progression in life and how class sets the tone of how far you can go and your accessibility to things is largely based on your economic and political inclinations.  Heathcliff was an orphan; he was Moorish taken in by Catherine’s father. When Catherine’s father passed, things begun to change for him. He was mistreated and made to toil the lands and he did, but there was one person that comforted him and he loved her, he felt accepted, that was Catherine. However, they were of different classes and as they grew to understand this it created a rift so terrible and forever etched in their minds that they were forever haunted by an unlived love and friendship. Wuthering heights is not a common love story with a happy ending. Its poetic love story celebrates that tragic love stories are stories of love and should be shared because love is not always a great experience. There are no heroes in this story; the true lesson is that pain unnoticed can be a scar relived many times.

The reason why I felt a sense of detachment from the book the first time was mainly because I was young and lacked the emotional maturity to comprehend this incredible story that depicts how life’s twists and turns have a way of affecting us. I really did not believe that the author, Emily Bronte and I could really have anything in common or that her book could have anything to teach me and I think most young people have a difficulty with approaching certain books because of the way they are taught to us in high school. It’s only a few of us who love literature or those who later go on to read after leaving school when we realise the depth of the stories that we read and what great lessons they depart on us.

This book taught me that to love people is something that you must do fearlessly and dare to do it no matter what stands in the way.

MOJA Magazine – Women June 2019

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