"Wuthering Heights is the name of Mr. Heathcliff's dwelling. 'Wuthering' being a significant provincial adjective, descriptive of the atmospheric tumult to which its station is exposed in stormy weather. Pure, bracing ventilation they must have up there at all times, indeed; one may guess the power of the north wind blowing over the edge, by the excessive slant of a few stunted firs at the end of the house; and by a range of gaunt thorns all stretching their limbs one way, as if craving alms of sun." (page 4)
Welcome to the Wuthering Heights Wednesday read-along hosted by Jill at Fizzy Thoughts. Our plan is to read three chapters of Emily Bronte's novel per week and post our thoughts each Wednesday. If you'd like to join us, it's not too late!
CHAPTERS 1 - 3
Our narrator Lockwood, a man who seems to consider himself highly civilized, has just rented the remote Thrushcross Grange and arrives at Wuthering Heights to call on his landlord, Mr. Heathcliff. The inhabitants of Wuthering Heights appear unfriendly and standoffish (or just downright rude), but Lockwood in undaunted and vows to return for a second visit.
When Lockwood next visits, a snowstorm strands him overnight at Wuthering Heights. The housekeeper, Zillah, puts him in a little-used room that may be haunted. Lockwood has horrible nightmares that awaken the household.
"... knocking my knuckles through the glass, and stretching an arm out to seize the importunate branch; instead of which, my fingers closed on a little, ice-cold hand! The intense horror of nightmare came over me: I tried to draw back my arm but the hand clung to it, and a most melancholy voice sobbed, 'Let me in - let me in!' 'Who are you?' I asked... 'Catherine Linton'... As it spoke, I discerned, obscurely, a child's face looking through the window. Terror made me cruel; and, finding it useless to attempt shaking the creature off, I pulled its wrist on to the broken pane, and rubbed it to and fro till the blood ran down and soaked the bedclothes: still it wailed, 'Let me in!'..." (page 25)
Lockwood returns home the next day. His servants, presuming he died on the moors overnight and preparing a search for his remains, are thrilled to see him.
Other characters at Wuthering Heights:
Catherine - Heathcliff's daughter-in-law
Hareton Earnshaw - not quite sure of this relationship
Joseph - the old servant
From the very first paragraph, the setting is described as "completely removed from the stir of society" and "a perfect misanthropist's heaven". I doubt anything good is going to happen here!
Next, the characters at Wuthering Heights (even the dogs) seem incredibly rude. Lockwood appears to be sort of a jerk - it seemed pretty obvious to me that a second visit would not be welcomed. Catherine, the daughter-in-law, threw me. I knew the novel focuses on the Catherine/Heathcliff relationship, but now it appears we have two Catherines! I'm also not quite sure of how the younger man, Hareton Earnshaw, is related to Catherine and Heathcliff.
The violence of the dream scene (quoted above) was startling! How could an author even come up with the idea of rubbing a child's (albeit a ghost/child) wrists back and forth over shattered glass?
After just three chapters, I'm convinced this is going to be a wild ride!