Wuthering Heights

Penguin. Dec. 2002. 416p. pap. $8. ISBN 9780141439556.
Gr 8 Up–This novel vividly and poetically portrays the power of human emotion through its story of a passion that transcends life and death—the passion between Catherine and Heathcliff. The two meet as children when Catherine’s father brings Heathcliff home to join the family under mysterious circumstances. Catherine and Heathcliff eventually fall in love, but Catherine marries another man who is more fitting for her station in life. Her brother Hindley’s hatred of Heathcliff sets up additional circumstances that have long-term consequences for each character and their children. Love is a universal theme and is an accessible concept for teens. The characters suffer these emotions and allow readers to explore the relationships between emotion and action, and action and consequence. One of the novel’s strengths lies in the contrasting voice of reason and moral conscience provided by the narrator. In light of its setting in male-dominated 19th-century England, the novel contains surprising portrayals of strong-willed, educated, independent women. Although students will have to work through the cadence of the 1800s British English, once Nelly starts her tale, they will not want to leave. Teachers and students alike will enjoy comparing the plethora of YA retellings. (This review was created using content from the educator-created book rationale available in NCTE’s rationale database. Used with permission.)
VERDICT This book needs to be on every classics shelf.–

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