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The Art of Forgiving– Wuthering Heights

“If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger.” 

                                                            ― Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

Book Intro

Wuthering Heights is a gothic novel written by Emily Brontë and published in 1847. Through the narration of Lockwood, Ellen Dean and indirectly Catherine and other characters, the life story and vindication of Heathcliff was conveyed to the readers. The novel is written creatively and against the trend at that time, and it is now considered as a classic of the English literature.

Author Intro

Emily Brontë was an English novelist and poet who is best known for her only novel, Wuthering Heights. Emily was the third-eldest of the four surviving Brontë siblings, between the youngest Anne and her brother Branwell. Her sister Charlotte wrote Jane Eyre, another classic novel.

Book Recommendation
This classic is not hard to read, though the length is not short. The intriguing plot would entice you to continue reading, so don’t worry about not being able to finish it. After reading this book, you will have a better understanding of human nature, which is important for the growth of everyone. So don’t hesitate to open the book and have a great journey at Wuthering Heights and the Grange.

The art of forgiving
—Book review of Wuthering Heights

Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, forswears recompense from or punishment of the offender. Categorized as a gothic novel, Wuthering Heights is highly concerned with the topics of vindication and in turn of forgiveness, and the book can teach us a great deal about the essence of forgiveness and what it really means to forgive.

Forgiving is a very important ability, and it is viewed as a great virtue of humanity. After undergoing regrets and pains, it is better to forgive the the people or things that caused the pain, rather than sticking to it and thinking about conducting acts of revenge. People with moralities are more likely to forgive, and may even be grateful for the offenses as they can make them mentally stronger.

In the classic novel Wuthering Heights, a lot of people are hurt at different levels and go through very different processes of forgiving; while some successfully let go of the past, others spend their entire life in hatred and suffer. Besides the well-known character Heathcliff, who can not forgive until the very last moment of his life, other characters like Hindley Earnshaw, Catherine Earnshaw, Edgar Linton, Hareton Earnshaw and Ellen Dean also try to forgive and eventually let go of the pain in the novel.

One of the best lessons Wuthering Heights has taught me about forgiveness is that we should never hurt other people or try to revenge (no matter how we endured hurtful things). It is especially important that we never hurt the irrelevant and innocent people, such as people from the next generations. They were not born to continue the fights of their parents, and it is morally wrong to punish them for their parents’ mistakes. Revenging on irrelevant people can only lead to more unexpected hatred and even aggravate the conflicts, which would form a vicious cycle. In the novel, Hindley revenges on Heathcliff because of his jealousy, and this leads to Heathcliff’s suffering. Heathcliff marries someone he does not love just to punish Hindley, and the cycle continues. The acts of revenge he conducts all his life never succeeds to satisfy himself, and by contrast hurt more people. 

The taboo of forgiveness is self-indulgence and hopelessness. After the death of Catherine whom Heathcliff truly loved, he starts to “be disinclined of society” and becomes socially queer. He engages in self-indulgence and sticks always to the past, and causes himself more pain and suffer. Another taboo is never moving on. Heathcliff never moves on and even believes that the ghost of Catherine has tormented him for eighteen years.

In order to learn to forgive (as forgiving is intentional and requires our own efforts), there are so many things we should and could do. The most important is to fill our hearts with kindness and try to rethink the whole thing in the shoes of others. The best example is Ellen Dean’s forgiveness of Heathcliff at the end of the book. Ellen watched Heathcliff grow up, and eventually she understands where Heathcliff’s infernality comes from and forgives him for hurting so many people. Moreover, we should learn to appreciate the goodness of other people and of the world and learn to love. Edgar Linton loves his daughter Cathy so much that he could forgive Heathcliff. With love in our hearts, we are able to make sacrifices and become altruistic. With love in our hearts, we are humane and are able to understand and forgive. Heathcliff finally is able to acquiesce to the love between Cathy and Hareton because it reminds him of his love for Catherine. As long as love is inside us, we would forgive for a happier life of us and of others.

Forgiving is such a crucial ability that everyone should learn to possess it. It could bring happiness to the forgivers as well as other people. Although the character Heathcliff and his vindictive measures are exaggerated and romanticized comparing to reality, we should still learn from the mistakes he makes and be good forgivers. 


Wuthering Heights- Emily Bronte

Date: 7/15/2018 revised in June, 2019

revision comments:

I revised a lot of sentence structure and wording, and I think that there’s still a lot to work on in terms of contents and structures.


Published by Sunny

I am a high school rising sophomore and I love to read and write.

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