[Just My Two Cents] Why Do Stories Like Wuthering Heights Exists? Because Feelings Are Complicated

Wuthering Heights. Photo: Simon & Schuster UK

Dysfunctional relationship, tema yang belakangan ini populer di fiksi. Lebih spesifik lagi di genre roman. Biasanya sekalian dilabeli tag realistic fiction, tragedy, atau angst di Goodreads.

Saya lumayan suka tema yang satu ini, meskipun banyak juga fiksi yang mengangkat dysfunctional relationship lantas saya cap tidak inspiratif, menormalisasi abusive relationship, atau bahkan menyesatkan. Salah satunya adalah Wuthering Heights, novel gothik klasik karya Emily Bronte.

Keseluruhan ceritanya sendiri memang pantas disebut tragedi; tentang dysfunctional relationship yang membusuk hingga bertahun-tahun dan menghancurkan kehidupan orang-orang di sekitarnya hingga dua generasi. Saya dibuat frustrasi membaca kisah Heathcliff dan Catherine yang terjebak di tengah kebingungan antara benci dan cinta sampai detik terakhir kehidupan mereka.

Wuthering Heights. Photo: Simon & Schuster UK
Wuthering Heights. Photo: Simon & Schuster UK

Kenapalah Bronte harus menulis cerita sedepresif ini, dengan tokoh-tokoh yang jauh dari kata simpatik pula? Kenapa banyak sekali penikmat sastra klasik yang memfavoritkan Wuthering Heights, padahal membaca cerita ini nggak ada unsur rekreasionalnya sama sekali bagi saya. Bagian mananya yang membuat mereka terkesan? Buku suram begini apanya yang bagus?

Itulah yang saya pikirkan saat pertama kali membaca buku ini di usia duapuluhan. Saat itu saya masih sebegitu naif memandang segala sesuatu hitam atau putih. Either you love her or hate her, choose one, Heathcliff!

But, no, life is never that simple. Now in my thirties, I realized that people can have so many conflicting feelings at once. You have more understanding that people are flawed and not everyone can make peace with their own flaws, sometimes to the point that they hurt themselves and others around them.

Sometimes feelings can be twisted. You can despise a person while admitting you still care about him/her. You may lose all trust to someone for eternity but still hoping someday he/she will change for good. And yes, you can accept the fact that someone is awful, while still sympathize with his/her life story. That loathing a person to the point where you wish for him/her to get hit by a truck and worrying his/her wellbeing several hours later is not that strange.

Sometimes emotions is that complicated. Maybe you’re not wise enough in dealing with them, but it’s okay. You’re just a human being after all.

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