Illustration of a tree on a hill with a women's head in the background

Wuthering Heights

by Emily Brontë

Start Free Trial

What impression does Mr. Lockwood form of Mr. Heathcliff when he first sees him?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The sociable Mr. Lockwood, isolated on the moors, wants to think well of his landlord, Mr. Heathcliff. Therefore, contrary to all the evidence before him, he decides at first that Heathcliff is likable. Lockwood is used to the society of polite, genial gentlemen in the south of England and is a polite, genial gentleman (albeit a clueless one) himself; therefore, he projects his own perceptions and experiences onto Heathcliff.

Initially, Mr. Lockwood states that he and Mr. Heathcliff are a "suitable pair" and that he thinks of his landlord as a "capital fellow." He somewhat surprisingly persists in this belief despite noting that he saw Heathcliff's

black eyes withdraw so suspiciously under their brows, as I rode up . . .

Lockwood also states that Mr. Heathcliff invites him in through gritted teeth, as though he is saying "go to Deuce [devil]." Even this greeting, however, does not discourage Lockwood, who decides that he is "interested" in a man even more reserved than himself.

This opening underscores that those who narrate the events of the novel are subjective and not necessarily reliable, because they are influenced by their own particular perceptions of characters and events.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The first chapter introduces us to our overall narrator, Mr. Lockwood, and also introduces us to the world of the moors, Wuthering Heights and Heathcliff. His first meeting with Heathcliff was favourable according to Lockwood, despite every hint suggesting otherwise to the reader. He describes Heathcliff as "A capital fellow!" Lockwood notes Heathcliff is incredibly reserved and seems to do everything he can to shun human contact, yet this is something that spurs Lockwood on to try and get to know Heathcliff more:

I felt interested in a man who seemed more exaggeratedly reserved than myself.

What follows is a description of the house, Wuthering Heights, and then more curious musings on Heathcliff and how he doesn't seem to fit in with his surroundings:

But Mr. Heathcliff forms a singular contrast to his abode and style of living. He is a dark-skinned gypsy in aspect, in dress and manners a gentleman...

Thus we are introduced to an unreliable narrator in Lockwood who misreads Heathcliff but also creates a mystery to engage the reader concerning the identity of Heathcliff and how he came to be where he is.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team