Be Sure to Eat Your (Literary) Vegetables

(Previously published on Book End Babes, 5/3/2011)

Today I’d like to talk about vegetables. The literary variety. You know . . . those titles that everyone is supposed to read in high school or college or grad school, those titles that no respectable reader is supposed to reach adulthood without reading. You know the ones. They’re supposed to be good for you.

A few of those literary vegetables fell through the cracks with me, but because I’m a good girl, I’ve decided to correct the situation. First on the list: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë.

I’m reading this book first because, quite frankly, Wuthering Heights, the Opera is being performed in the Twin Cities and the man playing Heathcliff looks particularly dishy. Any way, if you don’t know the story, here is my synopsis:

A man by the name of Lockwood–a man of no importance to the plot whatsoever except that he acts as a device for presenting the story. Oh, Mr. Lockwood, you don’t know the story of Catherine and Heathcliff? By all means let me tell it to you. Why Emily didn’t cut to the chase and tell the story to us, rather than to Lockwood, I don’t know. Lockwood is akin to broccoli. He’s just a means for delivering cheese sauce.

Anyway, Lockwood is told that Heathcliff, who hangs out with some dreary and neurotic persons (we’re talking three bean casserole here), was adopted as a small boy by the wealthy Earnshaw family. Heathcliff fell in love with the Earnshaw daughter, Catherine. When Mr. Earnshaw dies, Catherine’s brother treats Heathcliff like a servant rather than a brother and Catherine, although she loves Heathcliff, marries someone else because she’s going for social advancement rather than love. Catherine’s your basic brussel sprout (too uptight to just be called a tiny head of lettuce).

Heathcliff seeks revenge on everyone who has ever wronged him and, when Catherine dies, begs Catherine’s ghost not to leave him. Weird. It’s a happy ending though because all these rotten tomatoes end up dead.

Next week: Moby Dick. Which, I anticipate, will be be akin to shoving an overgrown zucchini up my nose.

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