Thursday, January 30, 2014

Emblem of My Heart

Finally finished THE TENANT OF WILDFELL HALL. It had none of the demented strangeness I prize so much in JANE EYRE and especially WUTHERING HEIGHTS... almost none. I mean, the hero did fly into a rage once and beat in an innocent man's skull with the silver horse-head handle of his whip, so that was pretty okay, had a little Heathcliff to it. But that was it. Mostly it was a plain old domestic melodrama. A good one! The ending was just beautiful, though, I have to say. I don't think this will be a spoiler - you will certainly be able to guess within the first few chapters - but consider it a spoiler just in case: if you keep would-be lovers apart for almost 500 pages, it is VERY SATISFYING when they get together. That is a good trick for writers to know! I thought of the blizzard-crushed roses in JANE EYRE when I read this more hopeful image at the end of WILDFELL HALL: a "beautiful half-blown Christmas rose that grew upon the little shrub... This rose is not as fragrant as a summer flower, but it has stood through hardships none of them could bear; the cold rain of winter has sufficed to nourish it, and its faint sun to warm it; the bleak winds have not blanched it, or broken its stem, and the keen frost has not blighted it... it is still fresh and blooming as a flower can be, with the cold snow even now on its petals." And in case we don't get it, our heroine says about a page later, "The rose I gave you was an emblem of my heart." Aw!