As many people do after reading both Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre, I couldn’t help but compare the two as they were created by equally brilliant yet so different sisters.
I almost quit both books in the early stages of reading them as I found their beginnings slow moving and overly descriptive. I had read Wuthering Heights years ago and it took me three months to read the first 100 pages and two days to read the rest. Two years ago, I started Jane Eyre and quit around page 50. Three months ago I picked it up again and committed to it, not being able to forgive myself for quitting it.
I loved most of it with with ardent passion but couldn’t help but thinking “Just get to the point. Any point.” in certain parts (like when Jane arrives at Moor House). Apart from those brief moments, I loved and appreciated Jane. Her loyalty and fierceness won’t struggle to conquer any reader and her intimate relationship with the them will keep you as involved as you can be.
Wuthering Heights, on the other hand, represents the wild side. Bloggers and writers have referred to the fans as “Rock Stars” and “Librarians”(The Guardian), the exciting and the safe (The Telegraph). I, however, gravitate towards Wuthering Heights, as much as I love both novels.
Jane, the orphan, the lonely, the well educated feminist. It is hard not to take her side or feel sorry for her throughout the harsh story, especially as you see her go through it alone. Her strong temper won’t fail her, though. A well constructed novel, some may say, as opposed to the chaotic Heights. A flowing timeline and smooth tale characterizes Charlotte’s novel. Her ever strong heroine holds the story together with her coherent behavior and mindset, plus, the relationship she holds with the reader is irreplaceable. The main difference the novels see is the strong passion and energy of WH, opposed to the steady course of Jane Eyre.
To me, Wuthering Heights is the more engaging story. I loved it from the beginning (or at least after the first 100 pages) and it stuck with me through the years. The contended love story between Cathy and Heathcliff and many struggles of life is unlike any other story. An established critic once said that the Odyssey contains all types of love, I believe Wuthering Heights contains all the ills a person could suffer. From death to illness to losing everything, Wuthering Heights tortures its characters, or maybe that’s just Heathcliff.
Cathy and Heathcliff, the unquestioned soulmates. Both equally selfish, both equally detestable. None of the characters is actually “a nice person”, which makes the book so much more real. It displays the evil in mankind without filters, no sugar coating of the truth. With all its wrongs, it also has love. “He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” said young Cathy. Her love for Heathcliff, like her daughter’s for the father, undeniable. Or Nelly’s loyalty for her employers. The complexity of the novel is one of the main reason for its greatness. So many different personalities, the clashes, the way it won’t give you any type of peace until you get to the end.
Although I loved Jane Eyre, I can’t help but be more attached to Wuthering Heights as it awoke in me something Jane Eyre couldn’t.
How about you? Are you a Librarian or a Rockstar?