This extract is taken from the beginning of the novel, chapter 2. In this chapter we begin to pick up on the uncomfortable atmosphere in Wuthering Heights and a further insight into the characters and their relationships.
Heathcliff’s entrance on page 12 causes a plea of shelter from Mr. Lockwood. He says “You see sir, I have come according to my promise!”. This emphasises Heathcliff’s status of power in the WH and the constant need to please and treat him with respect. This exclamatory sentence shows us Mr. Lockwood naivety to the situation in WH, more emphasise is provided for this characteristic in Mr .Lockwood’s inability to understand the danger of the moors, which in turn leads the reader to believe that he may not understand the danger of Heathcliff.
This extract intrigues readers through the desire to understand Heathcilff. His obvious rudeness to assist in Mr. Lockwood’s safe journey to his abode shows us how much he has changed since refusing to leave Catherine in the care of the Linton’s at Thushcross Grange in chapter 6, “I refused to go without Cathy” (pg 51). This unbelievable contrast between the young Heathcliff and the master we are introduced to is Emily Bronte’s method to draw us in to the inner consciousness of his character through this obvious inner conflict we are being presented with.
His body language is deeply described throughout the novel which not only represents his mood, “shaking the white flakes from his clothes” (chapter 2, pg 12), as he talks to Mr Lockwood suggests that his patience to hold a conversations has disintegrated along with his caring nature he once had, and has no sympathy for Mr Lockwood’s now, impossible journey home. Similarly in Chapter 8 where a young Heathcliff is delighted to witness “Hindley degrading himself” and began to become “savage” and full of “sullenness, ferocity”, it appears Heathcliff takes pleasure in watching others suffering like in Mr Lockwood now.
This chapter also links to the lexis used to describe Heatchliff’s reply to young Cathy concerning the tea. His commanding “Get it ready, will you?”, was “uttered so savagely” and also Hareton’s “ferocious gaze”, and on pg11 Cathy observed Mr. Lockwood “scornfully”, reminds us of the negative lexis constantly used to describe Heathcliff as the only soul bearing “black” eyes throughout the past. The “universal scowl” they all share at the dinner table can be seen therefore as Heatchliff poisoning all these up and coming generations, almost like how Hindley poisoned the only potential that a young Heatchcliff had at being a loved boy.
His reply to Lockwoods simple request for a guide, is “No, I could not” (pg 12), which is followed by an “umph”. His bitterness concludes Mr. Lockwood to change his initial opinion on HC, ” I no longer felt inclined to call HC a capital fellow”. Very much how on Pg 40 Nelly’s change of heart towards HC, ” I really thought him not vindictive”. This is a huge insight into the intrigue in HC that makes us, the reader, constantly want to read on. It suggests that HC is someone who has a lot more to his character than the obvious connotations many of the characters in the book first think. In fact he is a man who’s characteristics are much more deep rooted than first perceived.
His savageness towards Young Cathy similarly to the way he is constantly described as a dog by Hindley “off dog” (Chapter 4, Pg 39), the context that he has been called such animal in the past conjures up sympathy for HC but in contrast now it appears to be true.
HC’s “genuine bad nature”, suggests that he has never been kind and has always acted in such manner like how the Linton’s dismissed him in Chapter 6, Mr Linton told him he was “incurable”. Again another factor from the past that has now become true. In my opinion its almost as though HC has given in to these accusations he was surrounded by in the past.
The atmosphere in the house is described as “an austere silence”, “grim” and “taciturn”. Mr Lockwood is left to believe that this is their “every day countenance”. Similarly to how Nelly blaming HC for the atmosphere he unintentionally carried with him from his arrival at Wuthering Heights, “from the beginning he bred bad feelings in the house”. In the past HC was used as a scapegoat and an easy target for the others to blame him, now the conclusions can be made that HC is the reason for this “cloud” that surrounds the present day, and he has spread his past “incurable” nature on to all those that surround him.