Wuthering Heights | Study Guide

Emily Brontë

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Course Hero. "Wuthering Heights Study Guide." September 29, 2016. Accessed December 9, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Wuthering-Heights/.


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Wuthering Heights | Chapter 2 | Summary



Mr. Lockwood sets out across the moors toward Wuthering Heights, arriving just as it begins to snow. Finding the garden gate locked, he jumps over it. Mr. Lockwood pounds on the door, but no one answers. Finally, a young man (Hareton) sees Mr. Lockwood and brings him in through the kitchen where he meets "Mrs. Heathcliff" (Catherine). Everyone is rude to Mr. Lockwood, who now believes that Heathcliff has "a genuine bad nature." No one will help Mr. Lockwood back to Thrushcross Grange, although it is now dark and snowing heavily, so he grabs a lantern to find his own way home. Joseph accuses him of stealing the lantern and commands the dogs to attack. The dogs knock Mr. Lockwood over, and his yelling and screaming give him a nosebleed, at which Heathcliff laughs. Finally, Heathcliff allows Mr. Lockwood to spend the night at Wuthering Heights.


A typical Victorian gentleman, Mr. Lockwood expects to be welcomed at Wuthering Heights with customary hospitality and good manners. He gradually realizes, however, that the inhabitants of Wuthering Heights live by their own set of rules, and his reliance on traditional social expectations fails miserably. True to his era, he expects a beautiful woman like Catherine to be the "angel in the house," a sweet, domestic goddess who is kind and welcoming, but Catherine is none of these things.

In Wuthering Heights, the social world Mr. Lockwood knows is turned upside down. Mr. Lockwood's own social niceties begin to give way as he finds himself in a hostile environment, introducing the novel's theme of cyclical violence—in other words, how violence creates violent people. Mr. Lockwood becomes increasingly angry in response to the "disagreeable" companions who do not pretend social civility (as he does), check their violent tendencies, or care to be seen as helpful or sociable. In this way, he is the embodiment of artificial, rational society. But Wuthering Heights infects Mr. Lockwood with its own dark energy, reducing him to screeching like an angry lunatic by the end of the chapter.

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