Tag Archives: Wuthering Heights

Studying reading


Writing Desk

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While on my Blog Hop this week I came across  blog Keeping up with Mr Jones. While looking around to see if it was a blog I would want to follow I came across a list of books he had never read (this is some pages back if you’re looking for it), top of the list was Hamlet. Now this got me thinking about reading in school and more specifically reading plays at school (which is the only time I’ve ever read a play).

I’ve always been of the opinion that plays are meant to be watched or preformed, but not read. When it comes to Shakespeare there may be an advantage to studying a play before you watch it, so that you can understand it, but that wasn’t the reason he  wrote them, and if the play is preformed and/or directed well the language shouldn’t really matter. I understood Romeo and Juliet well enough to enjoy it before studying it, but I didn’t understand some things which would have been understood in that time period- so studying it means I’ve gained an extra element to my enjoyment of it.

This made me think about studying books in general. I’ve often heard it said that studying a book brings all the joy out of reading it, that it’s a bit of an over analysis that spoils the enjoyment of the actual story. Now in some ways that’s true.  I always tried to read a book before we started studying it in class, partly because the speed of chapter by chapter is far too slow for me, and partly because I wanted to enjoy the story for itself first. However sometimes it takes some thinking to really appreciate a book, and studying a text can help that. I can’t say I enjoyed Jane Eyre when I first read it, but after studying it I came to appreciate it, and even enjoy it in retrospect. I kind of felt the same way about Wuthering Heights, even though I didn’t study that one. Is retrospective respect really enjoyment though? Studying Jane Eyre really had an effect on me. I loved the whole gothic element of Jane Eyre and I’ve put some of it into my own writing. I can ertainly say it had an effect on me, and  my writing, but does that mean I enjoyed it?

So what do you all think? Does studying a novel spoil it or improve it? And should we really be studying plays?

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Filed under Musings

Wuthering Heights- Emily Brontë


Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights

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Synopsis (from Amazon)

The tale of Heathcliff and Cathy’s ungovernable love and suffering, and the havoc that their passion wreaks on the families of the Earnshaws and the Lintons, shocked the book’s first readers, with even Emily’s sister Charlotte wondering “whether it is right or advisable to create beings like Heathcliff”.

Review

I have wanted to read this book for years, since I was at school, but somehow never got around to it until now. I guess for that reason I really wanted to like it, so much. Unfortunately I can’t say I did. I found the story slow to progress and to read (whether this is to do with writing style or because I wasn’t to bothered about reading it I am not sure). I can’t say I really liked any of the characters, maybe Cathy was ok, but I don’t really feel I knew her. Heathcliff was just mean and self serving. Catherine (Jnr) was spoilt, self-centred and seemed to think she was worth more than anyone else. I quite liked Hareton, although he was a bit rough initially I always had the impression that underneath all he was a genuinely nice person. I can kind of see how the writing can be seen as good writing. The descriptions were good, and in fact it was reading the first description of Heathcliff which made me want to read the book (wow it must be almost 10 years ago, and I still remember), although I found the descriptions of the moors a bit lacking. I think if you’ve ever been through the moors though you’ll agree that the atmosphere is quite possibly impossible to but in to words. I did however find that in the last 20-30 pages the story did pick up, it became more plot driven I think (I know I have criticised writing for this in the past, but I didn’t feel it undermined writing quality her). Strangely although I had been looking forward to being able to to read something different I wanted the book to continue when I actually had.

Some people have said that this book improves with a second read. Initially I thought that this seemed a bit too much work to put in, I don’t really feel I should have to work to like a book. But then I thought about when I read Jane Eyre. On initial reading I didn’t really enjoy it, although I found interesting bits I did find it slow, but after we had studied it I saw it in a different light and liked it in retrospect. So maybe it is worth reading again sometime, at least I will not get rid of my copy just yet,

2.5/5

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Filed under Classics, Fiction review