In chapter 1 of Wuthering Heights, what might the reader expect from a story told from this point of view?

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Even the title of this novel - Wuthering Heights - sets the reader up for stormy relationships, unexplained behavior and antisocial extremes that will follow. Lockwood's description of the "atmospheric tumult" foreshadows the disastrous  misunderstandings and  "soul" of this novel.

The Yorkshire Moors are themselves an inhospitable place and readers could even feel the need to wrap themselves in a blanket or sit closer to the fire whilst reading as the plot begins to unfold right from chapter 1. The reader is not gently introduced to the characters from which to draw conclusions but can have no doubt what kind of a (misunderstood) character Heathcliff is.

Mr Lockwood is the narrator of Wuthering Heights although he tells most of the story from the perspective of Nelly, a servant whose words he primarily uses to describe events from her perspective. His is a diary entry and her voice is used to give a reality to the events that unfold.

The reader wants to know more right from the beginning as Lockwood recognizes similarities - "such a suitable pair"-between himself and Heathcliff that he did not expect. There is no mistaking Heathcliff's character with his "black suspiciously"  and his matter-of-fact welcome as he tells Lockwood to "walk in," expressed with "closed teeth."

The fact that one of the dogs is "not kept as a pet" and that she, and then other "four-footed fiends" attack Lockwood reinforces the reception anyone can expect when visiting Heathcliff, rather pleased with his dogs' reactions.

The chapter ends with one of Heathcliff's rare attempts at being cordial, prompting Lockwood to offer to visit the next day, clearly intrigued by Heathcliff who is even more antisocial than Lockwood considers himself to be. It is a suitable end as the reader also craves more of the same!


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Wuthering Heights

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