In Wuthering Heights, what does Mr. Lockwood reveal about himself by his reminiscence of the encounter with the girl on the seacoast?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Chapter 1 of Wuthering Heights the reclusive narrator, Lockwood, whose narrative contrasts with that of the retrospective Nelly, encounters on the seacoast "a most fascinating creature," whom he perceives idealistically as a "real goddess" as long as she does not notice him. When she does look at him, "the sweetest of all imaginable looks," the excessively timid Lockwood retreats into himself, causing the girl such confusion that she urges her mother to depart the seacoast with her.

And what did I do?  I confess it with shame--shrunk icily into myself,like a snail; at every glance retired colder and farther....

Clearly, here Lockwood demonstrates his retiring and extremely bashful nature. With this nature in mind, it is ironic that he feels himself sociable in contrast to Heathcliff when they meet at the end of the chapter. And, further, in Chapter 2, while at Wuthering Heights, he somehow ventures into conversation with with a young woman who has "a most exquisite little face." Perhaps, when his emotions are not involved, the shy Lockwood can speak to people, but when he feels a physical and emotional attraction, he freezes.


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Wuthering Heights

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