Saturday, June 6, 2009

Is It Just Me- Or Is It Really Histrionic In Here?

I am in the middle of "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Bronte. I figured it was a classic I had never read... and really, isn't it about time for melodrama in my life?

As I listen to it on cd in my car, performed by the incomparable Patricia Routledge (Hyacinth in Keeping Up Appearances), I can't help but think of Oprah or Jerry Springer. The two main characters, Heathcliff and Cathy, are so overwrought & tempestuous that they should appear on one of those shows. I just want to throw up my hands and say "Really, you are both so miserable you NEED to die."

In a group of women I mentioned I was reading it and they all swooned. I asked for reassurance that it is a good book. One woman suggested I need to suspend my modern day values and get into the swing of things. So on I plow.

There is so much gnashing of teeth and threatening of cruelty that I think of the play "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf?" Spit, venom & hatefulness disguised as a society sanctioned relationship. There is even a Sandy Dennis character (Isabella Linton) who is so naive & pliant that she would rather die of Heathcliff's nastiness than tell her brother how unhappy she is. Get a spine Isabella!

I suppose it is a cautionary tale. People should stop being so passive aggressive and just try talking to each other. If they are unhappy beyond repair, move on.

All in all I think Dorothy Parker's take on life so much more understandable:
Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren't lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.
Have a happy day!

5 comments:

Michelle said...

HA! I love that story. Never the realist I guess.

Michael Hawes said...

Never read it. Wonder if I will? I seem to be so busy now I'll save it for when I retire.

fishnet said...

i would never read a book where the main male character was named heathcliff...how wimpish/twit! that should have been your first clue to let the heights "wither" and get something by david sedaris

Michelle said...

seriously, why are you friends with me? I love everything you sneer at and I sneer...well, I don't sneer, I just don't get the things you love.
Hmmm....

JAF said...

Easily one of my most favorite of your posts. I will have to point JR to it, I know he will love the line, "[really you're both just so miserable you should die.]" I think I read it and should read it again but right now I'm reading laugh-out-loud funny AN ARSONIST'S GUIDE TO WRITERS' HOMES IN NEW ENGLAND. I would tell you I'd hand it over when I'm done but 1) I refuse to read faster than 2 pages at a time I'm so afraid for it to come to an end and 2) I will never let it leave my home.