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Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte - Barron's Booknotes
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CHAPTER 3

Zillah, the servant, leads Lockwood to a bedroom where, she
says, Heathcliff never willingly lets anyone stay. She doesn't
know why.

NOTE: Emily Bronte juxtaposes the mysterious with the
mundane, throwing both into relief. Here it's a question of
where Lockwood will sleep. Earlier, when he got such bizarre
reactions when he asked who was related to whom, he was
simply trying to have pleasant conversation over tea.

Before retiring, Lockwood notices a ledge on which "Catherine
Earnshaw" is written in many different ways, interspersed with
an occasional "Catherine Heathcliff" and "Catherine Linton."
This is the first indication of the rift in Catherine's soul. (This
also prefigures, in reverse, the history of the younger Cathy,
whose last name changes from Linton to Heathcliff to
Earnshaw.)



All the books, Lockwood notices, have a child's handwriting in
the margins. Reading Catherine's words, he learns that now that
her father is gone, Hindley-whom you haven't met yet-is
treating Heathcliff atrociously. She describes a sad day when
they rebelled against him and against Joseph's religious
fanaticism. You may have identified with Lockwood up to
now-however unwillingly-but Catherine is the first character
really to engage your sympathies. Through Catherine, you get a
different look at Heathcliff. No wonder he's so surly, after such
an unpleasant upbringing.

Musing on the religious title of the book as well as on the notes
in the margin, Lockwood falls asleep. He dreams that Joseph
takes him to church to hear a sermon in which the preacher
describes 490 sins, "odd transgressions that Lockwood never
imagined before." In the dream Lockwood is horribly bored
and finally calls on the parishioners to rise up and crush the
preacher. At least for the present he is unconsciously siding
with the rebellion described in the diary, and with Catherine.

But when he dreams again, this time of a ghost named
Catherine Linton trying to get into the bedroom, Lockwood
smashes the pane and draws her icy hand across the broken
glass until the blood soaks the bedclothes. The violence of this
is horrifying, especially since the ghost rouses your pity.
However, you also sympathize with Lockwood's terror. When
she persists, Lockwood cries out, and Heathcliff wakes him up.
Lockwood screams that the house is haunted, describing the
"fiend" he saw in his dream. Though Heathcliff yells back at
him, Lockwood later overhears Heathcliff throwing open the
window and sobbing for his dear Cathy to come in.

Notice how your picture of Heathcliff has changed. First he
was "a capital fellow," then he had "a genuine bad nature," now
you see him anguished, suffering.

NOTE: IS THE GHOST REAL?
Lockwood talks as if the ghost were real, even though he sees it
in a dream. Heathcliff, too, in the second part of the book,
believes in the reality of Cathy's ghost. Does Emily Bronte
want you to believe in ghosts? Perhaps. But there are rational
explanations for their appearances. Lockwood for instance, is
in an overwrought state, and Heathcliff doesn't actually see the
ghost until he's starved himself.

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