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Wuthering Heights
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Archived Group Reads 2018 > Wuthering Heights - Week 1 -- Ch. I - VII

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message 1: by Cindy, Moderator (new) - added it

Cindy Newton | 423 comments Mod
Welcome to the Wuthering Heights discussion, Victorians! I hope you enjoy this journey through one of my favorite books. The story starts in media res, and through the narration of Mr. Lockwood, we are introduced to the strange family inhabiting Wuthering Heights. The ill-assorted members of this family seem to loathe one another equally, and it takes Mr. Lockwood a little time and some probing to discover their exact relationships. His reception and treatment in their home are not exactly hospitable, and it is only the weather that forces him to spend the night. Awakening from a nightmare, he realizes that his cries have awakened Heathcliff, as well. Heathcliff's reaction to Mr. Lockwood's dream astonishes him and reveals a different side to Heathcliff's character.

So what is your reaction to the structure Emily Bronte has used to introduce the story? Did you like this way of piquing your curiosity to find out the history of this odd family, or would you have preferred a more traditional format? What do you think of Mr. Lockwood? Do you see any connection between the personal history he relates about himself and his attempts to befriend Heathcliff?

Once back in the safety of Thrushcross Grange, Mr. Lockwood lures Nelly Dean, his housekeeper and lifetime associate of the Earnshaw family, into disclosing her knowledge of the strange group at Wuthering Heights. She begins her tale decades into the past, back when Heathcliff was a small child, a street urchin brought into the family by Mr. Earnshaw. No one welcomed the "gipsy brat" but he stayed, nonetheless.

What do you think about Nelly Dean's perspective? Do you think she is a reliable narrator? What do you think of Mr. Earnshaw's adoption of this child, given his family's feelings about it? As they got older, were Hindley's feelings toward Heathcliff justified?

Heathcliff and Cathy form a strong bond that resists all of Hindley's efforts to break after Mr. Earnshaw dies. Hindley is determined that the "gipsy brat" will finally occupy the position he deserves, but Cathy refuses to treat him like a servant. Heathcliff and Cathy are finally separated by circumstance when she is attacked by one of the Linton family's dogs when she and Heathcliff are trespassing on their property. Injured, she is taken in by the Linton family to be nursed back to health while Heathcliff is forced to return home without her. Cathy stays with the Lintons for several weeks and is unrecognizable when she returns. She is dressed and coiffed fashionably and comports herself like a young lady of good family. Heathcliff, aware of his dirt and uncivilized appearance, reacts badly to Cathy's transformation, and their reunion is further complicated by the interference of Edgar Linton.

What is your opinion of Heathcliff at this point? Do you approve or disapprove of his attachment to Cathy? Please feel free to share any thoughts or questions you may have over these first chapters!


message 2: by Renee, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

Renee M | 1993 comments Mod
I just purchased the Audible version read by David Timson and Janet McTeer. I’ll be listening on my drive to work this week. It’s a reread for me so it will be interesting to see what I think this time around (Last time, I hated it.)

I do remember feeling intrigued by the way Bronte used an outsider to hook us into the story. His curiosity piqued mine.


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Rosemarie | 217 comments I read this one in Grade 12 English class and have since reread it. It is a very dramatic book.


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Cindy Newton | 423 comments Mod
Renee wrote: "It’s a reread for me so it will be interesting to see what I think this time around (Last time, I hated it.) ..."

You know, there is a lot of hate out there for this book! I have realized this recently and I guess it doesn't completely surprise me. Why do you think you disliked it last time (without spoilers)? Is it because the characters are not always the most likable people? Just curious!! :)


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Cindy Newton | 423 comments Mod
Rosemarie wrote: "I read this one in Grade 12 English class and have since reread it. It is a very dramatic book."

You're right, Rosemarie--it does have its fair share of drama! There's LOTS of passion!


message 6: by Piyangie, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Piyangie | 902 comments Mod
I have read this twice, second reading being in last year. I didn't like this during my high school read but able to appreciate the book very much after last year read.

You have raised a very pertinent question here, Cindy - Is Nelly Dean a reliable narrator. This is a question to which I found my answer to be in the negative. I felt she was biased throughout.


message 7: by Piyangie, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Piyangie | 902 comments Mod
Cindy wrote: "Rosemarie wrote: "I read this one in Grade 12 English class and have since reread it. It is a very dramatic book."

You're right, Rosemarie--it does have its fair share of drama! There's LOTS of pa..."


I agree with both of you as to drama and passion. However, the passionate natures portrayed in the characters are most unhealthy!


Jen from Quebec :0) (muppetbaby99) | 12 comments I read this years + YEARS ago, and will finally be re-reading it because of THIS group, so thanks to all.

Upon opening it tonight I was SHOCKED...I did NOT remember that it is in fact *Mr.Lockwood* that serves as our narrator and provides our introduction to Heathcliff + W.Heights! Huh. Now, I wonder what other very important aspects of the book have slipped my mind over these years? --Jen from Quebec :0)


Gabrielle Dubois (gabrielle-dubois) | 463 comments I'm at work right now, just 2 minutes to say to you al, Ill join the discussion with pleasure. I already read this novel when I was 15... 35 years ago! 😩 I had liked it. So I already started to reread again... and couldn't stop! I'm two thirds way through it. But I can see most of you had also read it years before.
Must go back to work, see you later!


Gabrielle Dubois (gabrielle-dubois) | 463 comments Cindy wrote: "What do you think of Mr. Earnshaw's adoption of this child, given his family's feelings about it?"

... Back from work! :)

In our garden, my daughter has three hens. One day, a neighbour found a hen in the street and wanted to put it in my daughter's hens' pen. She told him this wouldn't be possible because the hens wouldn't accept a new one: all the hens has to be put in a pen at the same time... but the new hen was put with the "the legitimate occupants of the hen house", which immediatly hurt the new one.
My daughter had to take the new one and to put her somewhere safe until she found its owner.

This is what old Mr Earnshaw did when he brought back Heathcliff home: how could he expect that his children would accept a new child in their home; how could he expect that the children would be pleased to share their own rooms and their parents' love with a stranger?

You think kids are not hens... I agree. But think: it's already so difficult for children to share their parents love and admiration with their brothers and or sisters.
When my son was 18 months old, my daughter was born. I told him and repeated him that I loved him, and that my heart get bigger to make a place to my daughter. He accepted it, and all went very well until six months later, one day my son who was 24 months old told me: "When are you going to bring back Emily?" :D

Old Mr Earnshaw was right to bring back home this poor child Heathcliff; but this would have necessited explainations for his own children, and more love. And even more, Mr Earnshaw seemed to prefer Heathcliff to his own children. How could Hindley have loved Heathcliff?
For Catherine, it was different, and I think, appart from her character, that it's because she was a girl, and we know what it was like at this time. Maybe she alreday was used not to be considered the same level as her brother.


message 11: by Nina (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nina Clare | 135 comments It's been more than 20 years since I read this. I didn't like it the first time around, as I couldn't understand how it was lauded as a great love story, but I'm really interested to read it afresh, having forgotten all the details.
My first impressions are that this is a story of a shockingly dysfunctional family. At first I thought maybe they were a typical example of the time and place, but no - we later meet the Lynton family, who are nothing like the Earnshaws. With so many unhealthy dynamics set in place by the arrival of an interloper - rivalry, jealousy, bitterness, violence, simmering rebellion - Bronte has certainly set the stage for some explosive confrontations to come.

The second thing that struck me is how the setting is so crucial to the story. The moor is wild, the weather is harsh, the house is isolated and guarded by fierce dogs -it sets the tone of the story straight away.

I thought Mr Lockwood was very foolish to invite himself back a second time to such an inhospitable house. I do trust the housekeeper as a narrator so far, I like that she has a soft spot for Heathcliffe as a child. I feel sympathy for Heathcliff, but I can see that he could turn very nasty if life continues to be so harsh for him; I want to see him 'come good' by the end of the story and have a happy ending. He clearly adores Cathy, but like all the relationships in the family, it is not a healthy one, his love is jealous and possessive.


message 12: by Nina (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nina Clare | 135 comments I would also add that because I want to see young Heathcliffe grow up to have a happy ending, I wish Bronte hadn't shown me him as an unhappy man at the start of the story. I wish she had told the story in a more linear way. Do you think she deliberately chose the structure she did to quash any sentimental hopes of a happy ending?


Laurene | 158 comments Gabrielle wrote: "Cindy wrote: "What do you think of Mr. Earnshaw's adoption of this child, given his family's feelings about it?"

... Back from work! :)

In our garden, my daughter has three hens. One day, a neigh..."


For someone who does not have any knowledge of hens, I secretly want them and a couple of acres but this is besides the point, your comparison is completely accurate. I have a son, our only child, who is so happy he is an only child, (I was an only also!).


Laurene | 158 comments I also read this novel in high school and then I reread it for a book club a couple of years ago. Didn't like it then. And I love everything else the Bronte sisters have written. But I am headed down the hall then down the stairs to my library to wipe the dust off of WH because I so enjoy this group!


Inkspill (runinkspill) some interesting thought-provoking comments here, I've only read the first two chapters

just felt for Linton - the inhospitality and then those dogs - ouch!!


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Cindy Newton | 423 comments Mod
Piyangie wrote: "Cindy wrote: "Rosemarie wrote: "I read this one in Grade 12 English class and have since reread it. It is a very dramatic book."

You're right, Rosemarie--it does have its fair share of drama! Ther..."


Good point, Piyangie! We always want to feel passion and for those around us to have it for the important things in life, but like almost everything else, an excess of it can be disturbing, to say the least. Moderation, people--a foreign concept at Wuthering Heights!


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Cindy Newton | 423 comments Mod
Nina wrote: "The second thing that struck me is how the setting is so crucial to the story. The moor is wild, the weather is harsh, the house is isolated and guarded by fierce dogs -it sets the tone of the story straight away.
..."


I've read articles that claim the setting of the story could almost be considered a character in its own right. The overpowering isolation and unforgiving landscape definitely influence the events in the story.


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Cindy Newton | 423 comments Mod
Jennifer Lynn wrote: "I read this years + YEARS ago, and will finally be re-reading it because of THIS group, so thanks to all.

Upon opening it tonight I was SHOCKED...I did NOT remember that it is in fact *Mr.Lockwoo..."


I'm in the same boat. I remember the big events (I think some of them might be hazy), but I know that I've forgotten most of the details. I tink that will make this reread feel very fresh!


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Cindy Newton | 423 comments Mod
Nina wrote: "I wish Bronte hadn't shown me him as an unhappy man at the start of the story. I wish she had told the story in a more linear way. Do you think she deliberately chose the structure she did to quash any sentimental hopes of a happy ending? ..."

I think that is possible. While it doesn't completely preclude a happy ending, it makes it clear that it is impossible for at least some of the characters. As Heathcliff sobs and begs the ghostly figure of Mr. Lockwood's dreams to come back to him, we understand that his happy ending might be difficult to achieve. I definitely think it presents her story in a more unusual format, indicating that it is not going to be your run-of-the-mill love story!


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Cindy Newton | 423 comments Mod
Laurene wrote: "I also read this novel in high school and then I reread it for a book club a couple of years ago. Didn't like it then. And I love everything else the Bronte sisters have written. But I am headed do..."

So glad you're giving it another chance--maybe the third time's the charm! ;)


message 21: by Piyangie, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Piyangie | 902 comments Mod
Cindy wrote: "I've read articles that claim the setting of the story could almost be considered a character in its own right. The overpowering isolation and unforgiving landscape definitely influence the events in the story. ..."

That is an interesting point, Cindy. The moors do give the story a sinister feeling.


Inkspill (runinkspill) Cindy wrote: "I've read articles that claim the setting of the story could almost be considered a character .."

Yeah, that comes through

Nina wrote: "... I wish Bronte hadn't shown me him as an unhappy man at the start of the story. I wish she had told the story in a more linear way."

I hear what you are saying but I'm wondering if told in a lear way it would have an impact on the drama and passion?

Nina wrote: "Do you think she deliberately chose the structure she did to quash any sentimental hopes of a happy ending? "

Interesting question - from the little I've read I wouldn't say it was a deliberate choice on Bronte's part. Aside from the younger Heathcliffe having a happier ending, what else would you have wanted to be different in this story?


message 23: by Nina (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nina Clare | 135 comments Inkspill wrote: "Aside from the younger Heathcliffe having a happier ending, what else would you have wanted to be different in this story?

That's the only thing I would have liked to be different. Heathcliffe is the underdog at the opening of the story, so I'm rooting for him at this stage; I want him to have a heroic transformation, and Bronte seems to be showing me that that is not going to be what happens. In the opening chapters she's set up the arc of an anti-hero, so I'm expecting this to be a sad tale of how an unhappy, bitter man came to be the way he is, not a poor orphan boy comes good story. It's very clever of her to transmit so much in just a few chapters.



Inkspill (runinkspill) I've finished reading the first 7 chapters and what stands out for me is how the story is framed, sometimes it's a story within a story - but in Bronte's hand I'm not getting lost in this, neat :)

Piyangie wrote (message 6): "Is Nelly Dean a reliable narrator."

Hmmm - right now it's more no then yes for me, only because (I can't remember which chapter) she tells Linton that Heathcliff was her favourite.

And like others here, I see how mood and setting adds to the story.

Nina wrote (message 23): "I want him to have a heroic transformation, and Bronte seems to be showing me that that is not going to be what happens. "

Oh, that would make a nice story - but maybe for Bronte - and I'm guessing here - he did transform, not in the classical heroic way but I got the sense that if Heathcliff was treated better than maybe he would have been a different person with a different life ???

Cindy wrote (message 19): "I definitely think it presents her story in a more unusual format, indicating that it is not going to be your run-of-the-mill love story!"

Yeah - doesn't it just.


message 25: by Renee, Moderator (new) - rated it 3 stars

Renee M | 1993 comments Mod
I’d say that Bronte has gone out of her way to portray Nelly Dean as a reliable narrator. In part because she has Nelly admit that she grew to like him over time. I think the inference is that anyone else would be prejudiced against him.

Then at the end of chapter 7, Lockwood compliments her and we discover that she is quite well read, having what seems free access to the family library and a keen interest in reading what was there.

And, thirdly, I love the way Nelly responds to Lockwood’s intention to lay in bed til 10 and his description of watching a cat tend to her kitten. Nelly is quite matter-of-fact in her dismissal of these behaviors as lazy and indulgent.

I think Bronte wants us to esteem Nelly as intelligent and straightforward. As well as unprejudiced by the trappings of station.

In the end, Nelly May be proved unreliable but right now, I think we are supposed to find her fair and believable.


message 26: by Gabrielle (last edited Jun 16, 2018 05:48AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Gabrielle Dubois (gabrielle-dubois) | 463 comments Renee

I agree with you about Nelly Dean, Renee.

This said, the relationships between a maid like Nelly and the family members in which she works were very complex.
We see that when she was too small to work, she had almost the same life as the children of the family: she played with them like a friend. It is only as she grows up that she realizes that finally she is at their service.
The place of a person like Nelly both involved and detached is very delicate. You can't live so close to people and be be totally indifferent to their happiness or misfortune. On the other hand, you do not have to give your opinion or an advice, even if you know they are wrong: Nelly can be fired at anytime.


Gabrielle Dubois (gabrielle-dubois) | 463 comments Laurene wrote: "Gabrielle wrote: "In our garden, my daughter has three hens..."

Hi Laurene, glad you join us, we had such a wonderful discussion on VF with moderator Lady Clementina and all the other readers!
I think it should be interesting this time too, lot of good comments here too!

I have three sisters and my dream as a child was... to be an only child! :)
Competition is hard to get attention and love from parents, and jealousy is unevitable! ;)


Gabrielle Dubois (gabrielle-dubois) | 463 comments Cindy wrote: " What do you think of Mr. Lockwood? Do you see any connection between the personal history he relates about himself and his attempts to befriend Heathcliff?..."

Mr Lockwood says in the first sentence of the novel: “This is certainly a beautiful country! In all England, I do not believe that I could have fixed on a situation so completely removed from the stir of society. A perfect misanthropist’s heaven…”
Then first thing he does is going to visit his neighbour! Does he really wants to be alone? Is he really able to bear the loneliness? He usually lives in town and dreams to escape people, but maybe he's not able to realize his dream: he asks Nelly to stay with him in his room and to tell him the Wuthering Heights story: I think he's half intrigued, half in need of company.
I think also that if he's so intrigued by Heathcliff, it's because he admires this man: he's strength, his ability to care of nothing and no one.
In a word, Lockwood seems to me like a "normal" person compared to Heathcliff and even the other inhabitants of Wuthering Heights.


Gabrielle Dubois (gabrielle-dubois) | 463 comments Cindy wrote: "What is your opinion of Heathcliff at this point? Do you approve or disapprove of his attachment to Cathy?..."

An injured animal bites his caregiver, a wounded heart bites his lover.
They're both so young, they are so inexperienced. I mean, even when you're... my age! :) It happens that you say or do things you wish afterwards having not said.


Catherine (catjackson) I've just finished listening to One Hundred Years of Solitude from Overdrive and found that Wuthering Heights was available so I'll join you this discussion. I've read it a few times, so now I'll get that chance to see how it is when I listen to it.

This is a book I've loved and hated all at the same time. I love the way the atmosphere is a character in itself and the gothic nature of the novel. But some of the character's I really don't like. Heathcliff is not a likable character and Cathy sometimes gets on my nerves.

I look forward to our further discussions!!


message 31: by Cindy (new)

Cindy  | 22 comments I am reading the comments and would really like to read this with everyone. I am not sure I can fit it in.


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Cindy Newton | 423 comments Mod
Cindy wrote: "I am reading the comments and would really like to read this with everyone. I am not sure I can fit it in."

We'd love to have you join us! It's okay if you're not right on schedule--you can follow at your own speed and post comments (if you choose to) at your own pace.


Laurene | 158 comments It's been one of those rainy Indiana summer days -- a perfect day to get caught up with Wuthering Heights. I completely forgot, that we the readers already know how the novel will end. We might not know the details but the ending has already been provided to us in the beginning chapters. The first chapter says it all "Wuthering being a significant provincial adjective, descriptive of the atmospheric tumult to which its station is exposed in stormy weather". Bronte compares her novel to "stormy weather". I am not sure if I caught the comparison when I read WH before.

I already feel so bad for Heathcliff.


SherryRose | 68 comments I’m actually almost finished reading this. It’s not my first time reading this but it’s been quite awhile. I forgot some things or just past them by before. There is a lot of story here lol! I love this book.


SherryRose | 68 comments Laurene wrote: "It's been one of those rainy Indiana summer days -- a perfect day to get caught up with Wuthering Heights. I completely forgot, that we the readers already know how the novel will end. We might not..."

I felt sorry for him at this point too.


Michaela | 241 comments I´ve got this book for quite some years, but have obviously never read it, though I know the story. I´m not so keen on this "story in the story in the story" thing, though the change between the different times in the life of the protagonists is appealing.

I agree to what was said about the behaviour of Old Mr. Earnshaw not telling his children anything about Heathcliff or making them understand. Though Heathcliff may be the underdog, he doesn´t seem to me to be very likeable.

Also don´t like Mr. Lockwood so far. He also urges Nelly to continue her story with the explanation that he might well get up at noon, which she would not do of course - as a servant she would have to get up in the early morning, so very selfish of him!


SherryRose | 68 comments Michaela wrote: "I´ve got this book for quite some years, but have obviously never read it, though I know the story. I´m not so keen on this "story in the story in the story" thing, though the change between the di..."

I don’t like Lockwood at this stage either. He’s the type who can’t roll with things. He seems a little bit snobby and set in his ways. And you’re right, he’s selfish and I think demanding as well.


message 38: by Clarissa (last edited Jul 03, 2018 07:21AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Clarissa (clariann) | 535 comments Renee wrote: "I’d say that Bronte has gone out of her way to portray Nelly Dean as a reliable narrator. In part because she has Nelly admit that she grew to like him over time. I think the inference is that anyo..."

Sorry, I am so late to the discussion, and I am going to disagree too!
I think narratively this is one of the cleverest books in the English language. We start with Lockwood, who within his own voice immediately undercuts himself.He says he falls in love with a girl then runs away when she shows the minute interest of looking back at him. He says he wants solitude and then is battering through the weather desperate to see his neighbour. There are also little touches about how misplaced he is like mistaking dead rabbits for pets.
Lockwood doesn't understand himself, let alone anyone else and has no experience of love or passion.
He then calls the servant Nelly to tell him a story to pass the time.
This is the framing, and it is immediately questioning what we expect and want as readers and how we are approaching the story ourselves. How much do our own personalities interpret and change the stories we hear about other people? How affected are we by the events that tear strangers apart?

Then we have Nelly who is part of the story but not part of it, she is displaced from Wuthering Heights and is with a visitor at the Grange. She was part of the family, Hindley's foster sister, but now she is not. She presents herself as independent and reasonable, but we are seeing her through Lockwood's eyes, and we've also already seen how Lockwood is unreliable on his own personality.

One of the key symbols is windows, people being on the outside looking in, seeing some, but not seeing all, making judgments on each other. This entwines with the whole narrative structure, and right from the beginning we see an act of violence from the civilized outsider, Lockwood, who in fear grates the child-ghost's hand against broken glass to try and get rid of her. It shows the reality of what we are under pressure compared to how we present ourselves.

Even though I am weeks behind, hopefully I'll catch up soon as this book is so exciting to discuss with so many layers and ways of appreciating it.


message 39: by SherryRose (last edited Jul 03, 2018 07:43AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

SherryRose | 68 comments Clari wrote: "Renee wrote: "I’d say that Bronte has gone out of her way to portray Nelly Dean as a reliable narrator. In part because she has Nelly admit that she grew to like him over time. I think the inferenc..."

You have excellent insight! I missed so much of Lockwood’s personality especially! Thank you for posting this! I agree, there really are many layers to this story and so many ways to approach it! I’ll be interested in seeing what you think of Heathcliff. The range of opinions on him is really mind boggling!


Brittany (Lady Red) (ladyred19) | 152 comments Hi I’m also late to the discussion, but I always felt Nelly was an unreliable narrator, but further she’s kind of telling Lockwood what he wants to hear- almost as though she’s a tour guide to the other character’s lives.


Gabrielle Dubois (gabrielle-dubois) | 463 comments Clari"

Great comment Clari!


Laurene | 158 comments Clari wrote: "Renee wrote: "I’d say that Bronte has gone out of her way to portray Nelly Dean as a reliable narrator. In part because she has Nelly admit that she grew to like him over time. I think the inferenc..."

Absolutely love your comments! I did not even think about the symbolism of the windows. It gave me I completely different perspective on WH! :)


Clarissa (clariann) | 535 comments Brittany wrote: "Hi I’m also late to the discussion, but I always felt Nelly was an unreliable narrator, but further she’s kind of telling Lockwood what he wants to hear- almost as though she’s a tour guide to the ..."

That's an interesting way of seeing her, she's dramatising and telling the story in a way to keep Lockwood's interest and make herself look good?


Brittany (Lady Red) (ladyred19) | 152 comments Well that, but also class dynamics. Nelly has a vested interest in making her employers look good.
But yes I’ve always thought she was a unreliable narrator. She has no reason to tell Lockwood the truth.


Gabrielle Dubois (gabrielle-dubois) | 463 comments Brittany wrote: "Well that, but also class dynamics. Nelly has a vested interest in making her employers look good.
But yes I’ve always thought she was a unreliable narrator. She has no reason to tell Lockwood the..."


Didn't Nelly wish Lockwood to marry young Catherine, if I remember well? If yes, she has every interest in arranging the story.
This said, take five persons and ask them to tell you about the same thing they saw, you'll have five different versions, will you?


Brittany (Lady Red) (ladyred19) | 152 comments Yes! History is subjective, certainly.


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Cindy Newton | 423 comments Mod
Brittany wrote: "Hi I’m also late to the discussion, but I always felt Nelly was an unreliable narrator, but further she’s kind of telling Lockwood what he wants to hear- almost as though she’s a tour guide to the ..."

Glad you can join us, Clari and Brittany! Feel free to read and post at your own pace--we're happy to return to earlier threads to continue great discussions.

I agree with you about Lockwood, Clari. He is definitely not astute at self-analysis! I saw a similarity between his failed "romance" and his approach to Heathcliff. The young lady was attractive to him while she was apparently disinterested in him, but as soon as she gave signs of welcoming his attention, he fled. Heathcliff makes it clear that he has no interest in interacting with Lockwood, so what does Lockwood do? Decides to make a nuisance of himself by visiting every day!

Fantastic point about the windows! We have our outsider, Lockwood, looking into the window of this family's life while Nelly narrates, we have Nelly looking in at them through the window of servitude, and we have the other characters looking through windows at people they want to be with but can't, at relationships that they are shut out of, at lives they want to live but are incapable of achieving.


Clarissa (clariann) | 535 comments Cindy wrote: "Brittany wrote: "Hi I’m also late to the discussion, but I always felt Nelly was an unreliable narrator, but further she’s kind of telling Lockwood what he wants to hear- almost as though she’s a t..."

Thanks, Cindy!

It is a really interesting choice to introduce Lockwood first. He is a first person narrator beginning the novel, the reader expectation would automatically be that he'd be the main character. It is even an intriguing set up: running away from a disappointed love to a place of isolation and mysterious characters. But Lockwood is almost comical, misunderstanding everything, determined to visit people who don't want to see him again, making faces at the dogs and then blaming Heathcliff for them being fierce when Heathcliff actually warned him not to provoke the animals.

I was thinking how In these early chapters our introduction to Heathcliff shows him as unsociable, not liked by his kin, but he is not a monster or a demon.

And we see how Lockwood is the one scared in the room, but he calls Heathcliff 'cowardly' and sees his grief as just raving madness.
I think this view of Heathcliff is a sharp contrast to how we see him as mistreated and a victim of Hindley's bullying in Catherine's diaries. It's a narrative juxtaposition of a young girl writing things as she experienced them contrasted with a man who has no connection to the world he's in, but judges and blames everyone else for his own acts of foolishness.


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Cindy Newton | 423 comments Mod
Clari wrote: "It's a narrative juxtaposition of a young girl writing things as she experienced them contrasted with a man who has no connection to the world he's in, but judges and blames everyone else for his own acts of foolishness. ..."

Yes, the structure is quite ingenious! Bronte is able to shift perspectives to a variety of unreliable narrators, but they all shed light on the different personalities in the story. The sad thing is that through all of these stories, we catch occasional glimpses of the man Heathcliff could have been if Mr. Earnshaw had not handled things in such a way as to provoke Hindley's jealousy and hatred. He probably never would have been accepted as an equal (I think the English social order was too entrenched for that), but he might have least been treated with civility and respect.


Clarissa (clariann) | 535 comments Cindy wrote: "Clari wrote: "It's a narrative juxtaposition of a young girl writing things as she experienced them contrasted with a man who has no connection to the world he's in, but judges and blames everyone ..."

There is so much rich symbolism in the children's gifts being broken and Heathcliff brought home instead. I can't find the page in my book but is it a violin and a whip, so symbolic of art and power?

I like Catherine's diary entries they're so revealing, Hindley 'has been blaming our father (how dared he?) for treating H, too liberally; and swears he will reduce him to his right place'

It sounds like Hindley keeps Heathcliff just to be able to see him humbled into servitude. And Catherine sides with her friend rather than her blood brother as she believes Hindley is behaving unfairly which would have increased her bond with Heathcliff.


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