Monday, March 14, 2011

Twighlight Boosts Sympathy for Bronte's Wuthering Heights

You heard it hear first, though. Remember back in January when Acton discussed our book club's Cathy problemo?

"Interestingly, the first Twilight book makes allusions to Wuthering Heights, via the star-crossed lovers connection. But they have a lot else in common, namely the stamp of an adolescent love. Like the perpetually angry Kristin Stewart in the Twilight movies, Cathy is pretty unredeemably unlikeable. But she has the love of two admirers to her name, and so, in some audiences' eyes, she is enviable and de-facto redeemed. We of the jaded book club set were all rolling our eyes a little bit with a montage of images swimming in our brains"
-Acton, Livre Life
 "But no one has done more for Team Emily than Bella of the Twilight franchise. Her favorite novel is Wuthering Heights (she first reads it as a school assignment, and in the third book, Eclipse, she and Edward trade Cathy and Heathcliff quotes about, of course, undying love). When HarperCollins released a paperback of the book in the U.K. "endorsed" by Bella and Edward, sales quadrupled. “Wuthering Heights has always appealed more to teenagers,” says Cristina Lara, curator of the Bronte Blog, an exhaustive and very serious-minded compendium of all things Brontë. (Lara and her co-curator, Manuel Del Estal, decline to choose between the two books.) “It’s a rite-of-passage kind of novel.”
-Jenni Yarbroff of Book Beast discussing Wuthering Heights vs. Jane Eyre.
Most interesting from this passage is that Yarbroff raises a great point about changing perspective. Often the protagonists you empathize with as a teenager are very different from the protagonists you empathize with as an adult. My mother's book club, after re-reading Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, said that many of them had identified with Anna as a college student. At that point in their life, they could forgive Tolstoy's heroine for her impetuous, passionate nature, her apathy towards Alexei, her love for Vronsky. But as adults, they came to think of Anna as that character who heads towards the garage in a horror movie, wearing a mini skirt, and looking for one last can of beer. Okay, fine. So those weren't their exact words. But you get the idea. It's hard to watch Anna make a mess of her life for Vronsky, who aside from being handsome and exciting isn't, let's be honest, much else.

Are there any characters that have caused you to do a 180? 
We read Wuthering Heights recently. But it's definitely making me want to re-read Jane Eyre before I drag my boyfriend to see the movie.

1 comment:

  1. good post. i do not have an answer for you. i think holden caulfield is another one you relate to really well at a certain age and not so much now. it reminds me of a poem i read recently by an ancient chinese poet, which goes:

    in my young days i never
    tasted sorrow. i wanted
    to become a famous poet.
    I wanted to get ahead
    So i pretended to be sad.
    Now i am old and have known
    the depths of every sorrow.
    and i am content to loaf
    and enjoy the clear autumn

    by hsin ch'i-chi