Wuthering Heights


Chapter 1 to Chapter 6

Chapter 1

Mr. Lockwood, the newly installed tenant of Thrushcross Grange, arrives at Wuthering Heights to pay respect to his landlord, Mr. Heathcliff. Although Mr. Lockwood is a self-described misanthrope, he still makes the 4.2-mile journey on foot from the Grange to the Heights in a chilly winter climate merely for the sake of propriety. The fact is that Mr. Lockwood has an exaggerated sense of himself. Exaggeration is one of the dominant elements of the gothic genre that Bronte uses to strong effect throughout the novel.

Mr. Lockwood’s reception by Heathcliff is less than cordial. Indeed, it is as frosty as the air itself—which intrigues Lockwood. The lack of friendliness evinced by Heathcliff and his house makes Lockwood himself feel like less of a reprobate.

Reluctantly admitted into the house, Lockwood soon suffers from his host’s inattention: Heathcliff’s dogs nearly maul the visitor in the kitchen while the host is out of the room. Lockwood takes offense at the apparent neglect, but quickly regains control of himself. Heathcliff, likewise, adopts a more relaxing manner, and the two engage in conversation, with Lockwood finding the latter to be rather intelligent.

However, when the new tenant, inspired by the positive turn in relations, volunteers to visit again the next day, he finds no encouragement from Heathcliff. Undeterred, Lockwood makes up his mind to keep the engagement, whether preferred by Heathcliff or not.

In this chapter, Bronte establishes the frame for the novel; the frame is Lockwood—a new visitor to Wuthering Heights—through whose journal entry, dated 1801, the reader is introduced to the characters and the tale. Lockwood observes the dilapidated appearance of Wuthering Heights and meets some of the house’s residents: Heathcliff, a surly man whose dark color is that of a gypsy; Joseph, an old servant; and Zillah, the kitchen lady who chases off the dogs. Despite all signs of neglect and waywardness in the upkeep and host of Wuthering Heights,...

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