‘Jane Eyre’ and I; a special literary comeback journey

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I have been immersed myself in reading ‘Jane Eyre’ since last Saturday evening. Oh my.. I have loved it so much. I can’t believe the novel has entertained me, heart and mind, after I watch its movie version then find myself hating it.

It takes me years to have finally given it a try. This is because the film after effect. I dislike it a lot because I despise watching Mia Wasikowska pairing with Micheal Fassbender in Jane Eyre (2011). I like Mia but not Micheal so yeah.. Plus, there’s nothing special for me about it. Just an orphan girl surviving as a governess then falling in love with a manly person performed by Micheal.

As flat as this film leaves a mark in my mind I ignore the book each time I go to Kinokuniya bookstore in Central Jakarta. I mean like, why should I? The novel is considered as world’s greatest literature treasure but its movie version proves there’s nothing fantastic about it so why should I follow people’ choice?

Years before I am deeply into ‘Jane Eyre’, I enjoy reading her sisters’ works; ‘Agnes Grey’, ‘The Tenant of Wildfell Hall’ by Anne Bronte and ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Emily Bronte. I love all of their masterpieces. It is not surprising that I am eager to read books by Charlotte Bronte. I firstly want to read her lesser-known books; ‘The Professor’ and ‘Vilette’ but I turn my eyes on other titles at that time.

Shortly to say, I decide reading ‘Jane Eyre’ mostly because I don’t have many reading choices about Victorian Literature in the bookstore. I am a traditional reader who prefer buying books in stores to ordering them via websites because I look forward shopping books in bookstores! The kind of shopping that makes me feeling so much happy, refreshed and confident.

After a series of wonderful experiences reading books by the Bronte sisters I automatically have ‘Jane Eyre’ on the back of my mind. So you may say I read the novel after not many classic books left in the Kinokuniya bookstore. A kind of forceful reason coupled with nature conspiracy regarding the series of experience reading books by the Bronte sisters but hell yeah!!

Now, I am so happy that I buy ‘Jane Eyre’ that rainy Saturday afternoon. The weather was wet but my heart was so cheerful for the first words stole my heart away, as what Victorian writers always do. My reading relationship with ‘Jane Eyre’ is unique, anyway.. It’s like I meet a special man but do nothing to even admit the crush feeling. Just when my heart is sort of empty I meet this guy again, I try approaching him then voila! We click then enjoy our journey at the moment.

That is all I can write at the moment. I share this because I and ‘Jane Eyre’ has an extraordinary linkage. It’s called “I can’t deny my first literary love for wherever I go I will return to it. Always.”

The picture is taken from here

Diving into the depth of Gothic literature in ‘Wuthering Heights’

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After Catherine Linton dies, Emily Bronte inserts abundant scenes that combine fantasy and horror. Heathcliff imagines seeing Cathy in white gowns. The late is seen everywhere. The deceased follows him.

When Heathcliff is dying, his servant, Nelly Dean, tells the readers that her master once smiles while looking at empty space. It seems Heathcliff hallucinates. The atmosphere surrounding the days before his death is queer. Heathcliff shuts himself down, alienates from the family. He spends most of his days alone. He lives inside his mind.

While that fantasy already produces goosebumps because I strongly sense horror since then, Emily makes it even more frightening. According to Nelly, Heathcliff’s face looks strange as he approaches the day of his passing.

One of the scenes that shocks me is when on the part she finds his eyes black when he looks at her. Nelly even says Heathcliff becomes more like a goblin. The scene when he dies, too, is ghastly. Nelly finds his eyes staring at her as she opens the door where the deceased closes him off.

At first I think Heathcliff is still alive but, as Nelly proceeds, his hands are cold, he dies. My heart jumps as I try visualizing this. Scary.

The finale of the book puts the ghosts of Cathy and Heathcliff roaming around Wuthering Heights. The house they once live in is now left vacant.

The illusion world of Emily Bronte leaves me puzzled for they are hard to grasp. I know the scenes where Heathcliff seeing Cathy is definitely out of his imagination but Emily Bronte’s excellent writing skills make it as though they were real. The description is very smooth. Reading these parts confuse me as a non-native English speaker. At the same time, I can’t help feeling so astonished with Emily Bronte. The book, not thick enough compared to Jane Austen or Thomas Hardy’s, yet it is so wealthy, you can’t find it enough to use it as an object of study.

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Cathy & Heathcliff, a passionately destructive love story

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The special tie that binds Catherine ‘Cathy’ Earnshaw and Heathcliff is the sort of tale that mesmerizes yet destroys my emotions.

Cathy and Heathcliff are one soul in two bodies. Cathy herself says Heathcliff is her other half. The deep love they both feel has been tested ever since they are very young. Although initially Cathy underestimates him, making fun of him, Heathcliff and Cathy gradually become closer.

Cathy and Heathcliff are both wild, rebellious. They both find perfect companion in each other arms. Up to this point, prior to the introduction of Edgar Linton, Cathy’s future husband, I have been wowed due to the development of their relationship. Watching how love grows from such a pure friendship is what makes their romance feels so profound. Cathy and Heathcliff forms a solid foundation for their love.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t last for long.  What follows after their entrance to the house of the Linton’s family changes the course of the hope. Strong love isn’t enough. Feeling comfortable on each other presence can’t shield the bond from all challenges and rejections they have to face. The key doesn’t much rely on wealth or material status, though. Instead, it lies on Cathy and Heathcliff’s shaky commitments on each other’s heart, something which is probably too unknown for the young couple to understand.

Sometimes, I wish they are both honest with their feelings. Sometimes, I wish Cathy wants to take all the risks if she decides to be with Heathcliff. And I wish Heathcliff won’t just flee without any information after he overhears Cathy’s confession to Nelly. (At that night, Cathy tells Nelly that Edgar proposes her and she will accept it for the sake of Heathcliff’s future).

I hope they both will sit down but misunderstanding comes unexpectedly. Cathy denies her own feeling. She underestimates the meaning of matrimony. On the other hand, Heathcliff is too sensitive. He doesn’t allow for any room for dialogue. But you can’t blame them, though. Not because if things turn the other way around the novel won’t be as remarkable as it is, but you can’t deny maturity does affect the fate of the love.

Imagining the scene on the night when Cathy confesses her love for Heathcliff yet decides to give it all up while he is listening it all is so heartbreaking. Visualizing Cathy’s fruitless search for Heathcliff’s whereabouts in the middle of the heavy rain and thunder makes it far, far devastating.

Cathy marries to Edgar. According to Edgar’s sister, Isabella, they fond of each other but I as a reader believe their love is flat. It actually is a one-sided love for Edgar. What I perceive is their marriage is based on solely comfort, flatness. The kind of relationship that comforts Cathy for she has a man who will do anything for her.

This is so unfair. Edgar deserves more than this but he remains loving Cathy, even when Heathcliff comes back, tries to win the heart of Cathy, Edgar stands the same. And for Cathy, I hate her unprincipled trait, as what Nelly once says.

On one hand, she is madly in love with Heathcliff but on another side, she wants Edgar not leaving her, too. Heathcliff makes his return way too far. He wishes making Cathy her own again despite her marriage. He forces Nelly helping him to meet Cathy despite strong oppositions from her husband.

Cathy’s wishy-washy traits, Edgar’s indecisiveness and Heathcliff’s forcefulness makes the novel is like killing my emotion. There are moments that drives me crazy, makes me feel so impatient with all of them, especially Heathcliff.

The events are when Heathcliff tries to find ways to meet Cathy. The conversation between him and Cathy also leads me furious because Heathcliff is very persistent while Cathy plays hard to get.

I respect Cathy should she defend her stance for Edgar, he is her husband after all. But Cathy can’t stand anymore, especially when she knows Isabella falls so hard for Heathcliff. I thought Cathy is relieved if Isabela is for Heathcliff but reading some parts before her death, I feel angry yet sorry for her.

She can no longer hide her feeling. She falls so sick. She can’t stop hallucinating. She is very unhappy. The state of her being, that of Heathcliff and Edgar makes it very sense that Emily only puts very brief scene on the reunion of Heathcliff and Cathy after a series of misunderstandings and pretensions.

They both declare their own feelings, that they can’t live without each other when Cathy is dying. The moment is all so worth it although it is too short. Heathcliff enters Cathy’s room when she is half alive. They both admit their mistakes, too. The scene is very powerful. Painful, relieved, maddening.. It is also beautiful for I am satisfied they both reconcile. Cathy dies shortly after Heathcliff releases her from his arms.

She is rested in peace.

Heathcliff mourns so bad that he even wants to kill himself. What Heathcliff and Cathy experience is too deep to feel. Their love is so pure and powerful that even though their bodies belong to someone else, their hearts are locked in each other. On the surface, you can say they hurt the feelings of each other partner but if you put your feet on the shoes of Heathcliff and Cathy’s shoes, you know they make mistakes that are very humane.

I will carry this romance for the rest of my life, Emily, for I learn so much from Heathcliff and Cathy. Thank you, again..

The picture is taken from here.

 

Mad about ‘Wuthering Heights’

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Although ‘Wuthering Heights’ is not my most favorite novel, it, by far, is THE BEST book I have ever read. I put it as the best fiction that has ever been written because this book makes me crazy, I don’t think 10,000 words will be sufficient to portray how I adore Emily Bronte for this masterpiece.

I find it very surprising that I still completely enjoy reading this book despite the fact I already read its synopsis in Wikipedia. It feels as if I don’t know what the book is all about given the sensations going through it all. Fast-paced, shocking, maddening, furious, depressed, frightening, but most of all it hypnotizes me.

Emily Bronte is like making music writing the novel. She knows how to play the melody. Sometimes it is soothing, peaceful but oftentimes it hits high notes. As an audience, I can’t bear the sorrowful the major traits feel when they are at the bottoms of their lives or are infuriated. I want to cover my ears, nay, close the book but should I do that, I will regret it because the novel is so beautiful.

It is such a beauty that one can’t miss reading it despite the emotional breakdowns it convey.  So, what makes me gluing at it? The simplest one is the plot. It is fast-paced even when things seem tranquil, such as when little Catherine is joyful with her life, you won’t find the book boring because Emily Bronte entertains you with her language, lovely and harmonious.

The best and the hardest one is definitely the extreme explorations of each and every big character of the book. Long before I read the novel, I at first underestimate the statements from BBC that states how Heathcliff is such an unbelievable character. At that moment BBC is too much, I say to myself so. But after I stumble upon him and watch him growing till he dies, I can’t agree more with what BBC says.

As an introduction to some posts that I am going to write about the novel, I will briefly say that the pricey lesson I can draw from it is how costly one can suffer if he or she is dishonest with his or her feelings.  Catherine Linton wishes she will make Heathcliff, her other half, and those around her happy, by marrying Edgar Earnshaw. But her good intention as well as her stupid, dishonest one proves her to be the source of all miseries her family and her second generation has to face. Heathcliff’s sensitiveness despite his harsh personality makes everything turns much bitter. No one in the book ever feels happy for long time. They get hurt. They are frustrated.

On and on they live their lives. As days go by, all they find is anger, hatred and disappointment. They don’t know how to make peace with themselves. If you read the book and come to the part when Heathcliff dies you will come to the conclusion that it is such a pity that the strongest (physically), the richest (materially) and the wicked person in this book ends up being the loneliest, unloved person ever. I despise Heathcliff throughout the book but as I witness how he dies, I can’t bear feeling so sorry to him.

I’ll keep the part talking about him later on. What I’d like to emphasize is the mixed feelings that encircling my heart at the moment, two days after completing the book, is quite overwhelming. I still can’t deal with it although the novel ends as the way it is. The book is.. I don’t know. It leaves a hole in my heart. It is going to be a kind of book that will always hold a very special part in my heart for the rest of my life.

Till then, bunch of thanks for Emily Bronte for this. The only novel she writes during her life, the sole novel that is cherished by so many literature fans, including I. The book that sets a very high benchmark for what makes a good novel is. The work that has been and will always be studied by students of literature across nations and regions and languages given its ultra richness, as a work of art and as a rigid examination of human emotions.

Take my hat off for you Emily Bronte. Thank you for writing this book. A million thank you to you..

Sincerely,

 

Eny Wulandari

The picture is taken from this.

‘Jane Eyre’ and ‘Wuthering Heights’, the great losses

wuthering heights and jane eyre
thanks a lot to http://www.etsy.com for the picture

What great losses that I haven’t read ‘Jane Eyre’ and ‘Wuthering Heights’ up till now and won’t probably read those in the short run. The titles have been universally-acclaimed as one of the best British novels ever written of all time and it’s too bad that I haven’t read them all until today.

I wish I didn’t watch ‘Jane Eyre’ the movie adaptation years ago. I wish I didn’t read and edit the summary of the ‘Wuthering Heights’ in Bahasa Indonesia taken from Wikipedia back then. But I did those all. The editing of the ‘Wuthering Heights’ was inevitable because the boss asked me to do so. I hadn’t had any chances to read the ‘Wuthering Heights’ prior to the task.

I can’t remember the time when my best friend Erwida Maulia lent the ‘Jane Eyre’ movie adaptation. I watched the movie and honestly I quite disliked it not because of the story lines but was more about the casts. Sorry I forgot the names of the casts but they were, in my opinion, ill-matched. I think they failed to have delivered the deep human values in the novel.

Given the bad movie experiences, I don’t have any intentions to read the book version. Despite the very well readers’ reviews on the book, I, up till now, have no desires to give it a try. The movie has completely ruined my yearning of reading the book.

My lecturer, Pak Djoko, for a few times mentioned how much he admires ‘Wuthering Heights’ other than ‘Fiddler on the Roof’. I don’t read the novel shortly after his confession but the title remains on the mind several years until I must edit the list of 100 greatest novels of all time. ‘Wuthering Heights’ is one of the titles. Automatically, I read the summary, characterizations, receptions and reasons that make it one of the best ever written. And oh I can’t stand feeling so gloomy after I complete reading it all. The piece in the Wikipedia is quite short and that makes the title really touches me until now.

The gloomy atmosphere by just reading the summary has caused me to not bother reading the book. The conclusion of the book has even made the novel even more ‘untouchable’. What I can learn from it is that self-pride, misunderstanding and social pressure can turn pure, beautiful thing called love into very destructive, that no one can ever feel happy as the story ends.