I have most recently finished Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. These two novels are classics of the western European literary tradition and question social status, class, and gender-related issues of 19th century England. I enjoyed both for different reasons and at the same time had my own complications with the two.
Pride and Prejudice (published 1813)
The characters are vibrant and possess a lot of stubborn vigor when it comes to family and gossip. The socio-cultural habits of middle-class and upper-class (somewhat royalty) families are the main subject of this book revolving around complicated marriages, friendships, and of course the tumultuous romance between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. I enjoyed reading this novel again purely because the dialogue is extremely witty and the plot is full of plenty of drama. My complication, or struggle, with this book is probably the same as anyone else’s Elizabeth and Darcy’s behavior, mainly their stubbornness and arrogance which is sometimes frustrating and painful to read. I love Elizabeth for her honest and straight-forward ‘say-it-like-it-is’ style which I think is refreshing to read and comforting. Overall it is a novel I would read again at any opportunity.
Wuthering Heights (published 1847)
This is a much darker more tragic novel than Pride and Prejudice, it is not a happy romance. Lockwood rents a home from Heathcliff and what results is a long story told to Lockwood by Nelly, a housekeeper about the complicated history of Heathcliff and Catherine’s love and the generation after. Illness, madness (mental illness), rage, and abuse are consistent throughout. There are mysterious elements in this novel such as ghost stories and apparitions, and I believe this could be considered a Gothic Novel. My complication with this story was the role of Nelly, she is the narrator and ultimately a complete meddler in people’s affairs but she has no family, few friends, and is a life-long servant to the two main households in the story making Nelly, in my opinion, an equally complex character to that of Heathcliff and Catherine. I found this novel interesting and heart-wrenching but I gradually became more curious about the possible inspiration or reasons that Emily Bronte would write such a book. Overall I am impressed by this novel and I have been struggling to think of anything I’ve ever read that could be similar to it that is from the same century.
I wanted to give brief reflections on these two novels, to keep it short and sweet. Usually, I would include a little background info on Emily Bronte and Jane Austen but I am thinking about posting a small summary of the lives of Emily and Charlotte Bronte as well as Jane Austen sometime soon. I am currently reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte for the nth time (it is one of my all-time favorites) I have no idea how many times I have read this novel but it is incredible and I love it, do expect a reflection/response post to this novel as well!
Thank you for reading my reflections and writing, I hope that you will return in the future!