15 November 2010
A Tale of Two Moors
The story is set in an old house built beside the moors where winds "wuther" or blow a lot. Just like in the excellent book "The Secret Garden" by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
Unlike The Secret Garden, Wuthering Heights is a continuing sad tale about a complete cast of dysfunctional selfish characters. Even the character you would most want to treat favourably, the house maid Ellen/Nellie, is a complete loser who continues to make the wrong choices dooming those in her charge to worse fates. A little bit of honesty and courage would have completely changed the lives she cared so much about.
All I knew about Wuthering Heights before reading it was that there were two lovers Heathcliff and Cathy, calling each other's name across a grassy field. Now I know Heathcliff was a selfish, vindictive psychopath intent on destruction for all those who he felt would hinder his "love" for Cathy - a self important selfish stupid girl.
Compare this with The Secret Garden. Now here is a story where we start with lots of self love and selfishness, bitterness and despair. But it all turns around - without any tragic or miserable deaths - with every major character realising the futility of despair and selfishness to be truly happy.
And the wisest character is the mother on the moor with a bucketload of children, respected by all for her knowledge and wisdom.
I suppose those of a "romantic" disposition favour the "love" story in Wuthering Heights but I reckon this is a real problem. If Wuthering Heights is taken as a guide for how love works it will certainly lead to a life of misery. Look around society today for exactly that result.
The Secret Garden is much closer to the truth. And a much better read.