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Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte - Barron's Booknotes
Table of Contents

CHAPTER 4

This is the chapter in which Mrs. Dean begins her story.
Lockwood has taken ill, and to pass the time he asks Mrs. Dean
about his new neighbors. She compares Heathcliff's history to
that of a "cuckoo." Cuckoo eggs are laid individually in the
nests of other, smaller birds. When the eggs hatch, the young
cuckoo, larger than its nestmates, displaces the natural
offspring to become the sole focus of its foster parent's care.

This is remarkably similar to what happened at Wuthering
Heights thirty years ago, when Mr. Earnshaw promised to
bring his children presents from Liverpool, but instead brought
back a dirty, ragged, gypsy lad.



As Mrs. Dean tells the story, they christened the boy
Heathcliff, the name of a son who died at birth. Cathy soon
takes to him, but Hindley plagues him. Hardened to such
treatment, Heathcliff takes Hindley's abuse without complaint.
By the time Earnshaw's wife dies, Heathcliff has wholly
replaced Hindley in his father's affections.

When the two boys fight, Hindley calls Heathcliff "an
interloper" and "an imp of satan," two epithets that will be used
against him for the rest of the book. Heathcliff may be a
usurper, but it's hard to blame him at this point since it's
through no fault of his own.

A pattern is set: love can be capricious, and its consequences,
devastating.

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Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte - Barron's Booknotes
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