Wuthering Heights Study Questions
1. The setting is austere and mysterious. It does not suit Mr. Lockwood quite well; he finds Wuthering Heights extremely disagreeable and its inhabitants bitter and unsociable. 2. “Wuthering” is descriptive of the atmospheric tumult of the novel in that it describes the violent winds that blow during storms on the moors. Wuthering Heights is removed from society. The adjective not only describes the setting itself, but the inhabitants as well, who are fierce, strong, and fervent. 3. Lockwood compares himself to Heathcliff in his hospitality and in his capacity within the subject of relationships. Lockwood also indirectly contrasts the environment’s suitability to the two characters. 4. Lockwood has come to visit Wuthering Heights to introduce himself as a tenant to Heathcliff. 5. Heathcliff is a gruff, unsociable, dark man.
6. On his return to Wuthering Heights, Lockwood blunders in his assumption that the young woman (the “missis”) is Heathcliff’s wife. Heathcliff corrects him, telling him that the woman is his daughter-in-law. Lockwood goes on to assume that the young man who led him into the house is Heathcliff’s son. Heathcliff again corrects him; the young man is Hareton Earnshaw, and the girl is the widow of Heathcliff’s dead son. 7. The atmosphere in the kitchen is tense and unfriendly due to the bitter characters that inhabit it. Lockwood is not welcome at the house; Heathcliff tells him he should not have come in this weather and refuses him a guide to lead him back. Mrs. Heathcliff rejects Lockwood’s attempts at conversation, is inconsiderate, and threatens Joseph with witchcraft. Hareton Earnshaw is an equivocal character at this point, but he seems crass and somewhat arrogant. The relationships between all of these characters are strained and unreceptive. 8. The dogs add to the bleak, morose atmosphere. They associate Wuthering Heights with an additional violence and revulsion. The dogs also serve to further characterize Heathcliff in that he merely laughs when Lockwood is attacked; this convinces Lockwood of Heathcliff’s inherently dreadful nature. Zillah is associated with kindness as she helps Lockwood and leads him to bed.
9. Catherine Earnshaw’s diary reveals that Heathcliff and Catherine had a close relationship as children. Heathcliff was harassed by Hindley. Catherine writes, “Poor Heathcliff! Hindley calls him a vagabond, and won’t let him sit with us, nor eat with us any more; and, he says, he and I must not play together, and threatens to turn him out of the house if we break his orders” (27). As opposed to the tough attitude Heathcliff is given now, the reader sympathizes with the character as a child. 10. Lockwood’s dreams add to the mystery and gloom of the novel due to the fact that they seem to be symbolic, but their meaning is ambiguous at this point in the story. The first dream evokes a sense of aggressiveness among the congregation of the sermon. It can be associated with Catherine’s diary entry in which she discusses Joseph’s sermons that she and Heathcliff did not want to hear. The second dream is one of the ghost of Catherine Linton, and Lockwood makes her bleed and does not fulfill her request of being let in. The confusion, hostility, and supernatural elements that compose the dreams add to a dark atmosphere. 11. At the window, Heathcliff grieves over Catherine and in “an uncontrollable passion of tears,” cries to her to “‘Come in! come in!’” (33). This contrasts to his earlier actions in that Lockwood has not seen Heathcliff express any emotions other than anger and impatience. Heathcliff’s expressive side is finally revealed, and it is discovered that he must feel very strongly about Catherine.
12. Catherine Heathcliff is the widow of Heathcliff’s son. Catherine Linton was her maiden name. Hareton Earnshaw is Catherine Heathcliff’s...
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