So if you saw my review a while back -- wait, you didn't read it yet?! Well, go read it now! I'll wait -- about HOUSE OF DEAD MAIDS by Clare B Dunkle, you know that this is truly a spooky book. Which is why I'm so excited to have Clare stopping by today to discuss a few things about it!
Hi Clare! It's so nice to have you stopping by Book Faery today. If you could rewrite any scene--or perhaps the ending--of Wuthering Heights, would you? If so, what would you change? Why?
Any changes I made to Wuthering Heights would damage it, so I wouldn’t change a thing.
When I was a child, I invariably reworked the stories of the books I read. I moved into them with my own set of characters and made myself at home. But I found out very early that this didn’t work with Wuthering Heights. If I tinkered with it, the whole thing came apart.
This happened because of Wuthering Heights’ structure, for one thing. Unlike some stories that seem to unfold before our eyes, Wuthering Heights comes to us out of order, through a succession of narrators, its texts locked together (as one critic puts it) like the pieces of a Chinese puzzle box. Any change to its action would affect its narration, and that’s tricky to manage.
Also, Wuthering Heights gets a lot of its power from its unpleasant moments. The scenes we remember tend to be brutal or shocking: Lockwood rubbing the ghostly hand against the broken window, for instance. What I learned about this as a child is that any attempt to lessen the violence or unhappiness of Wuthering Heights tends to make the story uninteresting. It just isn’t worth visiting the old farmhouse if people are going to be civil to one another!
You briefly touch upon Heathcliff's name, stating that Mrs. Earnshaw doesn't like him. It would be interesting to hear more about your thoughts in regards to both his name, and why you think Mrs. Earnshaw puts up with him being named that.
Do you believe that Cathy was a drama queen when she suffers her two breakdowns (after Heathcliff leaves)?
No, I don’t. I believe that Cathy is being haunted and that this haunting causes her delirium, just as the haunting at the end of the book causes Heathcliff’s strange behavior, fasting, and death. Whether ghosts occur in the real world is beside the point; I believe that they do occur in the Wuthering Heights world.
But even if Cathy is not being haunted, I still don’t see her as a drama queen. She grows up in a chaotic and deeply unhappy family. When she is gathering her nerve to rebel against her brother’s cruel treatment, she meets the materialistic Lintons. They teach her how to win attention through the right clothes and manners: how to become a living doll.
Cathy is intelligent and has a sensitive, proud nature. She wants to succeed at life. If she were a man, I think she would push herself into an ambitious career, but as it is, Cathy has no career to aspire to. She won’t even be allowed keep a house, as Nelly Dean can. She is a gentleman’s daughter, so she must be a gentleman’s wife, with servants to do her work for her.
Cathy expects that Heathcliff at least will understand her and value her for who she is. But he goes away for three years and makes a gentleman of himself, so he ends up with more opportunities than she has. He envisions a future in which he can inherit Thrushcross Grange, and he refuses to obey Cathy when she tells him to drop the plan. Then Edgar and Heathcliff quarrel. They are so caught up in their own rivalry that neither bothers to think about what this will mean to Cathy.
Drama queens expend excessive energy over a minor event. But this quarrel is not a minor matter. Before this, Cathy has had no career, but she has at least had power over Edgar and Heathcliff. Now she realizes that her power is gone: she’s nothing but an ornament in Edgar’s house, and Heathcliff doesn’t need her. Any person with pride, intelligence, and spirit would find this a devastating blow.
And now, for the moment you've all been waiting for.... The Special Brontë-themed giveaway!
One Grand Prize winner will receive The House of Dead Maids, a gorgeous Brontë sisters pocket mirror, and the HarperTeen edition of Wuthering Heights! Two lucky runners-up will receive the two books. To enter, send an email to:
DeadMaidsBook @ gmail . com
(remove the spaces when composing your email)
(remove the spaces when composing your email)
with your name, email address, and shipping address (if you're under 13, submit a parent's name and email address). One entry per person and prizes will only be shipped to US or Canadian addresses. Entries must be received by midnight (PDT) on October 31. Winners will be selected in a random drawing on November 1 and notified via email.