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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Wuthering Heights, Writing, and More...

I have been writing lately like the world is coming to an end. Certainly, I have kept up with work as well, and, as a result, I have had no time to report on how "Wuthering Heights" is going, or visit other people's blogs, etc. I am coming to the end of "The Silence of this Wall," and throwing everything I've got into it.

A couple of things about "Wuthering Heights" that struck me as odd. I am half-way through this classic and I am yet to find a reliable character. Lockwood, the voice that begins the narrative gives way to Ellen Dean, and she tells the story for the most part. She has the inside dirt on all the happenings of both mansions. How Lockwood keeps her talking to such extend and detail is one of those things our wonderful "suspension of disbelief" device can overlook. Heathcliff has a keen mind and sharp interpersonal communication skills--he is the master controller. Catherine, on the other hand, seems to me a bit of a melodramatic queen. Here's a passage I find particularly interesting...

"... she seemed to find childish diversion in pulling the feathers from the rents she had just made, and ranging them on the sheet according to their different species: her mind had strayed to other associations.... 'That's a turkey's,' she murmured to herself; 'and this is a wild duck's; and this is a pigeon's. Ah, they put pigeons' feathers in the pillows--no wonder I couldn't die.... And here's a moorcock's; and this--I should know among a thousand--it's a lapwing's.'"

As I read this, a flash of light illuminated my very tiny brain for a second, and made all of those long years, months, weeks, days, and hours of voracious reading worthwhile.... This from Ophelia in William Shakespeare's "Hamlet:"

"There's rosemary, that's for remembrace. Pray you, love, remember.... / There's a fennel for you, and columbines. There's rue for you, / and here's some for me.... / There's a daisy. I would give you some violets, but they / withered all when my father died...."

I guess that's what a literary education buys you... lots of opportunities to make this type of connections. At any rate, I see Catherine as somewhat predictable. The fact that Ms. Dean is exercising her opinions of all the characters--not just Catherine--doesn't help the narrative. One of my collegues expressed her opinion as being able to "take Jane Eyre over Wuthering Heights any old time of the week." Half way through this book and with less time for reading as I normally have, I am very behind on my reading list.

Another thing I want to make notice of is the fact that today is the eve of the anniversary of the ground attack on the first Iraq war. The day before the massive ground operation began, my company commander at the time, delivered the following speech from atop an M-60 USMC tank. While tomorrow is Saint Vincent's day rather than Saint Crispian, this day is always with me, and the memory of my company commander delivering this glorious speech to us. It was like standing in the middle of a lions' den. The effect on the men was identical, making me think--even at that time--that all men are equal in intelligence and in alliance to their cause... nothing really changes much when one believes (regardless of politics, economics or religious belief) in the cause one is involved in. It was 1991, and I believed.... I believed....

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At 11:56 AM, Blogger Heather said...

Many believed...

Glad to hear things are going so well with your book!!!


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