Why I read Wuthering Heights at Christmastime
As I have posted previously, I have certain times throughout the year that I read my favorite books. This week marks the week leading up to Christmas and this is the week that I read Wuthering Heights. For me, this is my personal tradition; it is a mandatory read this week. About 6-7 years ago, my dad gave me his copy of Wuthering Heights. At the time, I had just changed my major to English and was getting acquainted to the Romantics and Victorian classics that I am now obsessed with. I remember when I began the novel, I was right in the middle of finals and I was trying to spend my time writing my papers, but as soon as I opened that novel, I was obsessed. There was no way that I could write all of my final papers without knowing what happened with Catherine and Heathcliff. I was hooked. From that moment, Wuthering Heights has clinched the top spot on my Favorite Books of All Time list and nothing has come close to taking the top spot (that is, except Pride and Prejudice)
Alright, so the real question is why in the world would I read a novel that is known for terrible, cruel people at the best time of the year (at least in my opinion)? Well, I’m going to go ahead and tell you. Wuthering Heights is one of those novels that everyone either loves or hates pretty much from the first read. I personally adore the book but I have heard from others that hate the novel that the reason they are completely against my favorite book is the sheer cruelty that pretty much every character experiences and produces. This point, I completely understand why this is bothersome. However, the reason that I read this book during this time of year is for a few simple reasons.
#1) I don’t want to read a book that’s all about sunshine, the beach, and summer love when I can see my breath when I walk outside. I want a novel that brings me the wintery feeling so that my surroundings are in tune with those of the book. When I read Wuthering Heights, I am transported into a world of the moors, where there is chill and snow. Once I come inside, I come into the chilly world of Wuthering Heights or the Grange – one of the houses that is constantly chilly and the other that is adorned with Christmas decorations and a warm fire. The setting just fits this time of year and it is one of those novels that makes me believe I am actually living within the pages.
#2) The whole tale of Wuthering Heights surrounds the various family dynamics between the two families and how the merge, fall apart, and become something altogether new. This is, of course, the most apparent in my life during the holidays as families gather together and I witness the addition of children, spouses, in-laws, and others. Then, there is always the reality of the falling apart of families, the change in family dynamics that inevitably follow. Though Wuthering Heights is a novel that shows the family dynamics in their extreme form, it is somewhat relatable and I sense the reality of the novel at this time of year.
So, that is why I read such a dreary novel at this time of the year. What is your Christmas – must read?