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Several months ago I came across a blog post in the online version of the Guardian titled “How the Brontës Divide Humanity” by Imogen Russell Williams. With a title like that, I had to read the full post, which asserts that you may like Jane Eyre OR Wuthering Heights , but generally not both Jane Eyre AND Wuthering Heights . Broad statements like that usually make me bristle, but the post was in good fun. Besides, when I thought about it, I realized the author just might be onto something. She expounds this pet-theory, explaining:
If you want to be particularly contentious, you can divide those who satisfy the basic entry criteria into two types – those drawn to demure, bookish Miss Eyre and those for whom the pyrotechnical hanky-panky between Cathy Earnshaw and black-browed Heathcliff is paramount – and call them Librarians and Rock Stars.
Now, I’m a librarian, but give me Cathy and Heathcliff any day over mousy Jane Eyre. I love Wuthering Heights and credit it among the books that made me a lifelong reader. I am sure that the melodramatic plot appealed to me as a teenager, but it was the character of Heathcliff who fascinated me most. Granted, he is a love him or loathe him kind of character. But, if you’re drawn to those dark, brooding, and misunderstood Byronic heroes like I am, you can’t forget that cathartic scene after Heathcliff learns of Cathy’s death. After banging his head against a tree, he begs for her to haunt him from her grave: “And I pray one prayer--I repeat it till my tongue stiffens--Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living; . . . Be with me always--take any form--drive me mad! Only DO not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you!” So, maybe it’s a little over-the-top. Okay, it’s a LOT over-the-top, but I don’t care. I still love Heathcliff. I guess that makes me a hybrid of Williams’ types—the rock star librarian.
So, which book do you love? Does Williams’ theory ring true in your case?