by Emily Brontë
Wuthering Heights Foreignness and the Other Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
But Mr. Heathcliff forms a singular contrast to his abode and style of living. He is a dark-skinned gipsy in aspect, in dress and manners a gentleman: that is, as much a gentleman as many a country squire [...] (1.15)
Heathcliff's appearance reveals both his ambiguous racial background and his attempt to elevate himself socially. At this point in his life, he has transcended his gypsy background and gained control of both properties.
I was frightened, and Mrs. Earnshaw was ready to fling it out of doors: she did fly up, asking how he could fashion to bring that gipsy brat into the house, when they had their own bairns to feed and fend for? (4.46)
Mr. Earnshaw's addition to the family is unwelcome even by his wife, who may suspect more than we know. Is the child his? Has he been cheating on her off in Liverpool? Either way, she is no more welcoming of the child than are Catherine and Hindley. But because Mr. Earnshaw dies so early in the novel, we never get any sense of his motivation for bringing Heathcliff back to the Heights.
"Take my colt, Gipsy, then!" said young Earnshaw. "And I pray that he may break your neck: take him, and he damned, you beggarly interloper! and wheedle my father out of all he has: only afterwards show him what you are, imp of Satan." (5.65)
Even as a child, Hindley sees Heathcliff as a threat to his inheritance. But it is actually the way he treats Heathcliff that creates the orphan's drive to steal the inheritance. If Hindley had accepted him, things might have gone differently.