Book Review: Wuthering Heights

I admit that I loved reading Wuthering Heights, though I’m not really sure why. It tells the story of two families over two generations and the wretched vengeance of the scorned lover Heathcliff that destroys the fabric of their lives until his death.

I can see why a lot of people would find the story set on the moors of England boring. It has a small cast of characters, the setting never changes, and the story’s main events are only relational. No one ever goes anywhere.

But I loved reading about the sheltered, localized life of the Earnshaws and the Lintons on the moors. I loved the relationships between the servants and the masters, who weren’t of particularly high class. I loved the ridiculously high-flying words of devotion from Heathcliff and the opposition of his savagely cruel wit.

I hated his unrelenting, unrepentant cruelty. I hated Catherine’s absurd shallowness and Linton’s peevishness.

The maid servant and narrator Nelly held the story together, and I enjoyed her as the one voice of moral clarity. I loved watching the children grow up and how their interactions evolved.

I wish there had been a little bit more moral clarity and condemnation for Heathcliff. Nelly does censure him, but the end is pretty ambiguous. Though, I am glad that it all ended well for the remaining family members.

So why is this a good book? What makes any book good?

I like a book to have engaging characters and at least a good moral. Yeah, I’m big on the moral. So Wuthering Heights, I liked it, but why? The moral wasn’t that great.

So have you read this odd book? What did you think of it?

I want my home to be like a monastery

Monastery Garden

I want to be the heart of my home. I want to come fully into my role as a woman in the Church, and as a wife and mother (vocationally). I spend a lot of time at home. And it’s not a waste of time because the home is the domestic church: the little church, a little piece of the Body of Christ where the members grow in holiness and spiritual life.

“It changes everything if we see our family as a sacred gathering of particular souls. AS I’ve said, I believe all families consciously choose to come together, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy street. The people you love and care about the most will also challenge you the most. Being in intense, intimate relationships with people will be hard at times, especially if you need a lot of time alone… Real intimacy takes a willingness to be both vulnerable and courageous.”

…. “It helps me remember to approach my family as my greatest source of joy and the people I most want to be with.” (p 36 & 37 of Nurturing the Soul of your Family)

As a Catholic, the home is the domestic church, a place that should emulate the peace of a monastery. And I have a bit of a fascination with monasteries. I would love my home to be like one even in the smallest of ways. Obviously without the rule of silence, the home is the place where the family members (like monks and nuns) should grow in holiness, peace, love of God and love of neighbor. That is how I want my house to be–a place where those who enter feel at peace and have space to grow spiritually, in their very souls.

I want a real peace to be here. As the new Youth Catechism says, peace is not merely the absence of violence. It is the fruit of love put into action. Love put into action that creates unity and harmony. Yes.

The author points out that sometimes adults try to build new families out of friends. There is nothing wrong with friends, but there truly is something special about our family members. We are where we are for the sake of providence, and it is a place where we can grow and be sanctified.

We go through life, through each stage, each step with our families. It’s so obvious that we don’t even think about it, but it matters. As life should be a path to holiness, so should the home be guide and guesthouse along the way.

What do you think about family? Do you think it can be a place to grow in holiness? Are there changes you want to make to bring more peace than there is now or maybe than you grew up with?