As long as they are children, things are alright with them. But creeping adulthood brings changes in them. Heathcliff is a foundling and a ward of Catherine's father, a fact that her older brother Hindley resents. As soon as he gains control of the house, he tortures Heathcliff and wedges barrier between him and Cathy. On her own part, Cathy grows up and discovers the charms of being wooed by a rich, good looking and an accomplished neighbour Edgar Linton, whom she marries by and bye.
Heathcliff is devastated at losing Cathy and vows to wreck revenge, first on Hindley for his mistreatment of him and later on Edgar. He succeeds, but finds the whole exercise futile in the end. He does not repent, but dies possessed of the spirit of Cathy.
It is not an easy book to love. It is full of heady passions and hatred. Yet it is beautiful. The passages that describe the love between Cathy and Heathcliff are unparallelled anywhere else in literature that I know of. "I am Heathcliff" Cathy declares. "He is always, always in my mind", she says. On his part, Heathcliff never desires to possess Cathy's body. He is happy to be close to her, and be allowed to see her and walk with her. 'I could never hurt Linton', he says, 'because of her.' If Cathy wants Linton around him, he would not dream of preventing her. It is SHE that he adores, above his own feelings. It is when he is prevented from being with Cathy, that he turns into a vengeful beast.
All the rough characters in the book, Heathcliff, Joseph, Hareton are closer to nature, they live more like farmers than gentlemen and are bestowed with rude health and manly beauty. Edgar Linton, and Linton are pretty boys, full of bookish learnings, but are weak in health. Emily probably saw a lot of such examples in her life.
Most readers that are fascinated with the strange novel, are also fascinated with Emily Bronte, its writer. What mind produced such a singular novel. Hence Emily, along with her talented siblings, Charlotte, Anne and Branwell are subject of many books. Their cloistered lives, enriched only by their readings, are as curious as the novels they wrote.
Anne Carson writes in her beautiful poem, The Glass Essay:
She lives on a moor in the north.
She lives alone.
Spring opens like a blade there.
I travel all day on trains and bring a lot of books—
some for my mother, some for me
including The Collected Works Of Emily Brontë.
This is my favourite author.
All of us that feel emotions other than we perceive as 'normal' can agree a lot with Emily. This is a bold novel that she wrote. It is full of forbidden feelings, but also very true. Sometimes it seems to be as if Heathcliff and Cathy are the normal people in the narrative, true to their inner selves. This is the way Emily wanted to be, true to her inner self, which is why she could not write in any other way.
Her superb imagination awes me and makes the stark world of the moors and Wuthering Heights come alive even today.