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...
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:
- Jill (Fizzy Thoughts)
- Literate Housewife
- Vivienne( Serendipidy)
- Messy Karen
- Jenny (Take Me Away)
- Ti (Book Chatter)
- Lisa – Lit And Life
- Dar@ Peeking Between the Pages
- J.C. Montgomery (The Biblio Blogazine)
- JoAnn (Lakeside Musing)
- Gentle Reader (Shelf Life)
- Amy at New Century Reading
- Geri at One More Foggy Notion
- Rob at Book are Like Candy Corn