Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wuthering Heights Wednesday: Week 2, Chapters 4-6

It's week two of the Wuthering Heights Wednesday read-along sponsored by Jill at Fizzy Thoughts. We've just reached the 50 page mark, so if you're thinking of joining us, it's not too late!

Chapter 4 - 6 Summary:

After a disturbing night at Wuthering Heights, Mr. Lockwood has returned home to Thrushcross Grange. That evening, before the roaring fire, he draws Mrs. Dean (the housekeeper) into conversation. Through her, we begin to learn the background of the Earnshaw and Linton families.

It turns out that Heathcliff was an orphan "found" by Mr. Earnshaw on a trip to Liverpool and brought home to be part of the family. Hindley Earnshaw took an instant and strong dislike to the dark, "gypsy-looking" boy, while young Catherine (Cathy) grew "too fond" of him. Hindley is sent away to college.

Upon Mr. Earnshaw's death, Hindly returns (with a wife). Catherine and Heathcliff, not closely supervised, are allowed to grow up wild on the moors. One Sunday, as they are peering in the windows at the wealthy Linton family of nearby Thrushcross Grange, Cathy is attacked by the family's bulldog and must remain there to heal. Heathcliff is sent back to Wuthering Heights.


Mrs. Dean on Heathcliff:
Rough as a saw-edge, and hard as a whinstone! The less you meddle with him the better.

Mrs. Dean on Catherine:
Certainly she had ways with her such as I never saw a child take up before; and she put all of us past our patience fifty times and oftener in a day: from the hour she came down-stairs till the hour she went to bed, we had not a minutes security that she wouldn't be in mischief. Her spirits were always at the high-water mark, her tongue always going - singing, laughing, and plaguing everybody who would not do the same. A wild, wicked slip she was - but she had the bonniest eye, the sweetest smile, and lightest foot in the parish: and, after all, I believe she meant no harm...

My thoughts:

What a surprise - another narrator! I love multiple narrators and the opportunities they provide to see characters and events from different viewpoints. Mrs. Dean is in the perfect position to furnish Lockwood (and the reader) with background information on members of the Earnshaw and Linton families. She was in the household when Catherine and Heathcliff were growing up, then went to Thrushcross Grange to be with Catherine following her marriage to Edgar Linton.

"Finding" an orphan and bringing him home is a little strange. I wonder if there will be more revealed about Heathcliff's origin.

The relationships between the two families are still confusing, but the genealogical table in my new Penguin Classics edition really helps. I mentioned on twitter that I was considering purchasing a new copy (the old paperback my daughter had wasn't cutting it) and several bloggers jumped at the chance to enable the purchase! Aren't these editions gorgeous?

I'm looking forward to learning more of the family's history and wonder how long we'll be treated to Mrs. Dean's voice.

Wuthering Heights Wednesday Participants:


  1. You have a geneological table?!? I'm so jealous!

  2. I wish I had a geneological table too. I am still finding it all very confusing, family wise.

    I will try and add the list of participants too next week. I didn't think of doing that.

    I am glad that a new narrator has stepped forward as Lockwood and I were never going to be friends!

  3. I am so pleased to read that you are continuing to enjoy this. I remember enjoying the multiple voices as well - it really adds to the atmosphere of many layered dark confusion!

    happy reading


  4. Those are gorgeous choices...I so wished that I had read this one with all of you..maybe I would've enjoyed it!`

  5. If I wasn't reading Jane Eyre right now, I would jump in, sounds fun to be reading along with others.

  6. Those penguin editions are beyond gorgeous. And how useful that this one includes a geneological table!

  7. Jill and Vivienne - Here is a link to a family tree. You probably saw it in the comments on another blog, but just in case...

    Hannah - Multiple voices are always a plus for me. It seems to be working very well here!

    Staci - There's no doubt that the read-along is adding to my enjoyment of this one. This is the first time I've done one of these!

    Kim - I'm sure there will be more read-alongs coming up... maybe you can join in the next one. I'm really enjoying this!

    Nymeth - The Penguin Classic is very well made. The quality of the cover, paper, the extra material, etc.... makes me want the others!

  8. I too have the beautiful Penguin Classics hardback version...I'm slowly adding to my collection book by book; pretty much anytime I go to the bookstore that has them I walk out with one :)

    I was glad to see a switch in narrators as we get a totally different perspective...but I was wondering as well how long it will last.

    I'm intrigued about Heathcliff's further history as well as Hindley's wife. Can't wait to see what else happens!

  9. This is one of those books I can't decide whether or not to read, so I like reading your thoughts on it. I so love those editions...beautiful:)

  10. Terrific post! I'm behind. I'll have to post mine tomorrow. I've gotten as far as Heathcliff being an orphan which I was surprised at.

    You have a table telling you who's who? I wish I had that. I'm reading an eBook version though so there aren't any thrills there although I probably could have gotten a new version - mine was free.

    I'm enjoying it so far though and I didn't think I would.

  11. I love those editions too! :D

  12. Argh; I meant to add...doesn't the geneological table give away plot points? lol

  13. Wuthering Heights is one of my favorite books. Glad you are reading it. :)

  14. Vistoria - I'd certainly like to add a few more of those editions to my collection, too!

    Book Psmith - I had a hard time deciding whether to read this, too, but I'm definitely glad I decided to go ahead with it! We'll see how it turns out...

    Darlene - In my comment above to Jill and Vivienne there is a link to a family tree. I'll look for your post today.

    Eva - LOL... that's always the danger with those family trees!

    Violet - It's hard to believe I've reached this age (ahem!) without reading WH. Glad I'm finally tackling it.

  15. I love the multiple narrators too. At first I didn't understand it (this is a re-read for me), but I began to realize that a more omniscient narrative would be really off-putting, or told by one of the central characters. We need someone like a Nelly Dean, or even a bit of a buffoon like Lockwood, to take the edge off.

  16. Thank you for pointing me to Becca's post. That was indeed the one I was looking for. Sadly, no answers to my questions, but I think another commenter helped me make up my mind that the screen glare on the Sony Touch Reader is a deal-breaker, and I'll have to find another eReader. Thanks again for your help!

  17. The Penguin editions are fabulous! This is just not my favorite classic novel, but I'm enjoying revisiting it though the readalong participants.

  18. The 2009 version of Wuthering Heights (with the uber-fabulous Tom Hardy) is the best that I've seen. At this point you may prefer the movie you have going on in your head with your own cast of characters but don't hesitate to watch this afterwards!

  19. Amy - I'm already looking forward to a reread so I can pick up what I'm missing this first time through.

    Violet - I'm glad that was the post you were looking for! The red e-reader made quite an impression on me. Good luck with your search for the perfect one.

    Beth F - Penguin has created some really beautiful editions here. I'm surprised to be enjoying WH this much, but I suppose the group read is adding to the pleasure.

    Darlene - Thanks! I'll be sure to check it out after I'm done reading.

  20. P.S. I have a couple awards for you -- just because I like you :)


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