Study Guide

Wuthering Heights Chapter 3

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Chapter 3

  • Lockwood is ushered upstairs to a bedroom and warned that Heathcliff would not be happy if he found out anyone was sleeping there.
  • The bed is a curious structure, with sliding panels and windows. Inside are a bunch of old books and a ledge with names scribbled on it: Catherine Earnshaw, Catherine Heathcliff, and Catherine Linton. Other books have journal entries in the margins and on the blank pages. Reading them, Lockwood provides a flashback to when Heathcliff and the author of the entries were young children together.
  • This is what we learn: Hindley (whoever that is) runs the house when father is gone. Catherine describes him as a "tyrant." Between Hindley's cruelty and Joseph's oppressive preaching, things are pretty grim. Hindley treats Heathcliff like a servant and outsider—though it's not yet clear exactly who all these people are to each other.
  • Catherine and Heathcliff console each other by hiding under furniture or running on the moors. It all reads like a drop of joy in a sea of oppressive misery.
  • Back to the present: Lockwood drifts into a psychedelic dream about Joseph and a visit to a chapel in which he sits though an endless sermon by one Jabes Branderham. The sermon culminates with all present in the chapel attacking one another while Branderham hammers on the pulpit in an effort to bring order to the crowd.
  • A delirious Lockwood awakens to realize that a pine cone at the window is the real cause of the loud taps. Because the window is soldered shut, Lockwood has to break it and reach out to move the branch.
  • The branch turns out to be an ice cold hand and a voice moaning "Let me in" (3.47). Identifying itself as "Catherine Linton," the voice declares that it has "come home" (3.49). Rather than just letting the miserable ghost in, our ninny of a narrator rubs the hand "to and fro" (3.50) across the broken glass in an effort to release its frosty clutch. The ghost moans some other vital information that doesn't compel Lockwood to be any more sympathetic.
  • Heathcliff comes in to see what the racket is. He is visibly shocked to see his bumbling tenant in the noisy oak-paneled bed.
  • Lockwood tells Heathcliff about his dreams, and the ghost, and says he is convinced that the house is haunted. Heathcliff becomes emotional but tries to hide it. Lockwood knows something's up, though, when he sees Heathcliff sobbing and shouting out the broken window: "Cathy, do come. Oh, do—once more! Oh! My heart's darling, hear me this time—Catherine at last!" (3.83).
  • Now we know that in addition to being really irritable, Heathcliff is heartbroken. He basically wants to be haunted by a ghost. What's up with that?
  • Lockwood spends the rest of the night sitting in the kitchen, watching the various household members insult each other. At dawn, Lockwood wanders back to Thrushcross Grange in the thick snow. He's a mess.

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