AN EVERLASTING STORY
By Nevin Ulusoy
WUTHERING HEIGHTS – AN EVERLASTING STORY
Following your heart, meeting its demands, free from the society, free from all social norms,not caring about the others. Is it lots of courage that we need to do it, look in our hearts and give an ear to its yearnings? Can our ears hear them or are they too troubled with the world,our eyes dimmed by its false glitter? Going after the way our hearts go is essential for our lives actually or the results can be devastating. In Emily Brontë’s unsurpassable novel “Wuthering Heights” heart is seen in its ultimate role in our lives. We can feel it in our depths in 1992 film with the same name, the film is a perfect adaptation of the novel.
“Wuthering Heights” was published in 1847, under the pseudonym Ellis Bell. It has never been as popular as “Jane Eyre”, written by Emily’s sister Charlotte Brontë, but its unbelievable power is accepted by everyone, the story, the characters, the style is far beyond that novel. A love, an impossible love, as far as the social norms go and the devastating results, because heart has its own rules, does not know the impossibilities of society. This wonderful novel was filmed many times, but my favourite is, perhaps also because of Juliette Binoche as Catherine, the 1992 version. It was directed by Peter Kosminsky, the enchanting music that gives us the true atmosphere of the story is by Ryuichi Sakamoto. We see Ralph Fiennes as Heathcliff, it is as if we have the real Heathcliff, with his dark charm, amazing love for Cathy and passion only for her and the world with her. Jason Riddington acts as Hareton, Cathy’s nephew, Hindley’s son. We are enveloped with the gothic element of the novel as well.
A love, an impossible love, as far as the social norms go and the devastating results, because heart has its own rules, does not know the impossibilities of society.
Cathy feels one with Heathcliff since they were children, he is adapted by their father and we do not know about his origins. Hindley despises him and uses him as a servant, treats him very badly after their father’s death. The moors, the everlasting moors are their lives, running there, opening the window of the cupboard, the bed, the moors are just there. The bed is a hiding place, a world of its own and opens to outer world, because of the window, the window that Cathy wants to get in from, their meeting place, forever. Their world is together with the outer world, free nature, vast and everlasting. Cathy is torn between her love for Heathcliff and her desire to live like a lady, although she feels deep inside her decision is absolutely wrong. Her dream about heaven, her crying there to go to “Wuthering Heights”, even if it is a scorching hell, that is all she longs for. “In my soul and in my heart, I’m convinced that I’m wrong!” she says to Nelly, the servant that tells us part of the story. She has accepted Edgar’s, her cousin’s proposal, but she says:
-“It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now; so he shall never know how I love him: and that, not because he’s handsome, Nelly, but because he’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same…”
She compares her love for Edgar Linton and Heathcliff:
-“My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods; time will change it, I’m well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary.”
All those beautiful clothes, her bounded hair, all the things she does at Edgar’s home suffocate her.They try to restrict her and shape her as the society wants. The scene where Edgar reading, Isabel embroidering and Cathy playing the piano, all quiet; not for her spirited being at all. She has that inner joy peculiar to girls, but the society does not accept it, tries to crush her down and live like a fish outside the sea. She feels it when she is ill and she wants to open the window hysterically and let the wind in, the wind that comes from the moors. She yearns for the days she was the symbol of freedom, running with Heathcliff, free from all cares, just nature and the two of them. She cries for those days bitterly, asking why she has changed so much. The society tries to repress beings when they were children with rules, religion, kill the happy spirit in them and become an unfeeling person, just do what they are told, informed to do.
We feel their intense pain in our hearts and our hearts are torn with grief when our eyes are filled with tears. The moors, a picture of infinity and a lonely tree there. For Heathcliff, the world consists of Cathy and without her, nobody should enjoy it. Some people decide what we should do in our lives, who we should love as Arundhati Roy mentions. You cannot live as you wish in this world, but only after this life, away from all nonsensical rules that try to kill our hearts. Cathy and Heathcliff do not fit in this society, so they break free, go beyond the realities of the stricted world they live in. Only the third generation, young Catherine and Hareton can be happy are let be happy. Young Catherine, Cathy’s daughter, can make a garden. They can build their lives in this world, make decisions and do them. We do not know whether they will be happy or not. Cathy comes back, as she said she always did. Cathy and Heathcliff will always be there, survive, an eternal bliss.
The book has been haunting me for years, but after watching the film, everything is more intense, the scenes, the music, the characters are all alive before me. They do not leave me alone in my dreams and I can feel them around me, in my heart, deep in my soul. Kate Bush has a song, “Wuthering Heights”. The song appears in her “The Kick Inside” album released in 1978. It was no.1 on the UK Singles chart for four weeks. It was the first UK no.1 song written and performed by a female artist. It gives a different meaning, a sense of feeling Cathy inside in an enchanting way with her beautiful voice, lines that go right into your inner self, never to leave.