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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Wuthering Heights..

I had this book for non-detailed study in Grade 9. I can confidently say that I never really GOT the book. Oh, I understood what was happening but I couldn't really connect to the spirit of the book at that age. The emotional motivations of the characters were just too complex for me to fathom --- especially the relationship between Heathcliff and Catherine. Why did Heathcliff torture Catherine if he loved her? And why would she lead him on if she liked him and then not marry him?!! In the end, I couldn't really figure out if Heathcliff was a good guy or an utter villain or why he did what he did. I disliked the book.

Last week, a friend forwarded me a short story with a protagonist called Heathcliff. That reminded me of Wuthering Heights and on a whim, I decided to actually read a synopsis of Wuthering Heights. Wonder of wonders, it made a lot more sense to me now than 13 years ago! I think it takes some emotional maturity to understand how intense love can turn into an intense love-hate emotion. By the way, I still believe that if love turns to hate, it was not really love in the first place. But I've seen it happen and I guess I can accept it now.

So, my advice to the designers of school syllabi is: Don't introduce novels just because they're high sounding and have good titles. You're killing the spirit of the literary work by introducing it prematurely to a young audience when they're not capable of appreciating the different shades of the novel. It gives them a dislike of such works.

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7 comments:

Sriram said...

i'm not aware of your reading habits shuba but would you read a hi-fi sounding book now? isn't the reason you went back to the book and found pleasure the fact that you had actually read it once before? thought on those lines? :)

newton said...

Whew, and I thought I was the only one that didn't get that book. I don't know why English teachers torture us by making us read stuff like that. I remember not getting "Heart of Darkness" at all, and then ripping my hair out when the teacher made us watch the entirety of "Apocalypse Now" because it was based on the book.

I think the only book I remember liking in high school English was "The Catcher in the Rye", maybe because it was easier to read and to understand.

The Doodler said...

Sriram,

Hmm..I don't think I read books these days based on whether they're hi-fi sounding or not..:) Not sure I got your point though?

newton,
haven't read "Heart of Darkness". I read "Catcher in the Rye" but I've forgotten most of it now..

prabukarthik said...

if the student is thrust something like this and whats more made to answer stupid questions in mid term tests and quarterly examinations, we are basically ensuring she'd never turn to that book in her lifetime once exams r over.

Sindhu said...

Hi, Just stumbled across yr blog..nice writing..I am currently Wuthering Heights too..was a coincidence to see that here.
Keep writing:)

Sriram said...

was too muddled when I commented I guess. Even I can't make sense outa that comment. what I must have meant was, since you had already read that book you thought of returning to it at a later stage and were able to appreciate it much more than in school.

Anonymous said...

reading ur post took me back to my post-adulthood days. with my background of studying in TM schools and very little exposure to english novels, this book by Emily shocked wits out of me(ofcourse read after GWTW).

i was gung-ho about everything to do with emily and her brother charlette.

hanging around british council for reading anything to do with Wuthering was a fad that time for me.

hope u can do more justice ,if u do a reread and share ur views,ofcourse time permits.

A+++