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Reading in the Rain (and listening to Elton John)

September 13, 2009

It’s not a very good idea to read Wuthering Heights when it’s raining. The mood from the novel creeps into the atmosphere around you, permeates the air, giving everything around you a soft grey tinge (or is that because of the clouds?) Every time there’s a breeze, you imagine it’s the same from the moor. The darkness of the book steals into your mind. It made me wonder if a love like Heathcliff and Catherine’s could actually exist. And if it did… would it be as doomed? It takes a while to realise that Cathy is only seventeen, or younger when she declares that she and Heathcliff share the same soul. They seem older, much older.

I can understand why Emily Bronte criticized Jane Austen’s style of writing. Austen tells her stories beautifully as does Bronte, but they both tell their stories differently. While the former is able to notice and bring out the most subtle intricacies of human nature, her novels seem like flimsy butter-paper when compared to the deep moods that swirl through the pages of Bronte’s work. While I couldn’t put Pride and Prejudice down till I had read it from cover to cover, Wuthering Heights had to be put down. It became too much to take in all at once.

The mud on the road doesn’t seem right. It shouldn’t be sticky but cold and dry, and the rain drops should be harsh and cold. When it rains, Heathcliff’s cruel, selfish love can be forgiven.  It’s almost dangerous to read Wuthering Heights in the rain.

But it’s fun all the same. And it’s even more fun when there’s Elton John playing in the background. His soft but intense songs, with the haunting piano in the background, compliment the weather. For people who can read with music playing in the background, it’s much recommended!

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