Dr. Joanne M. A. Murphy

  • Classical Studies
  • Associate Professor, 2014
Dr. Joanne M. A. Murphy

Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë

I first read Wuthering Heights as a teenager and fell in love with it. Bronte's inland, landlocked world of wild moors, farms, and manor houses was a far cry from the coastal world I was used to in an Irish village dominated by the sea and three rivers. Despite the overt difference between my world and the world of the book, the description of the landscape, weather, and people had an underlying similarity that I could relate to in the sea storms and the people around me. This book helped me realize that while things might be different on the surface at their core they can be quite similar.

Bronte's use of metaphor was captivating. I relished in how in one simile she could captivate someone emotions and relationship: "My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods. Time will change it, I'm well aware, as winter changes the trees-my love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath-a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff-he's always, always in my mind."

I later learned, after studying Greek, that ancient Greek authors, especially Homer, also heavily incorporated metaphors and similes into their works giving us a rich and palpable appreciation of the scene at hand. Both Bronte and Homer are fabulous story tellers whose stories pull us in, grab our imagination, and feed our souls.