Wuthering Heights By Emily Brontë Summary and Analysis Chapter 3

Summary

Zillah leads Lockwood to a chamber in which Heathcliff allows no one to stay. Lockwood discovers a bed hidden behind panels and decides to spend the night there, safe from Heathcliff. By candlelight Lockwood spots three names — Catherine Earnshaw, Catherine Heathcliff, and Catherine Linton — and some books. Unable to fall asleep, he glances through the mildewed books.

In one of the books, Lockwood finds a caricature of Joseph and many diary-type entries. The entries reveal that Catherine is friendly with Heathcliff and that her brother Hindley treats Heathcliff poorly. After reading several entries, Lockwood falls asleep and has two nightmares. He thinks a fir branch tapping on the windows awakened him from his first dream, and during the second he attempts to break off the branch.

In order to reach the branch, Lockwood pushes his hand through the window, but instead of grabbing a branch, he touches an ice-cold hand. As he struggles to free his hand from the cold grasp, a voice cries out "Let me in — let me in!" The voice identified itself as Catherine Linton. Unable to free himself from the ghost, he forces the wrist on the broken glass and tricks the ghost into letting go. As soon as he is free, Lockwood piles books against the hole. When they begin to topple, he screams.

Lockwood's crying out draws Heathcliff into the chambers. Lockwood declares the room haunted and as he leaves the room, he notices that Heathcliff is distraught by the mention of the name "Catherine" and is imploring the spirit to return. Lockwood finishes the night in the back-kitchen. As soon as it is dawn, he returns to the Grange. Heathcliff shows him the way home, and Lockwood arrives soaked and chilled.

Analysis

The name Catherine is mentioned for the first time. This name refers to the older Catherine (referred to as Catherine in this Note. Her daughter is also named Catherine and is referred to as Cathy in this Note). The three last names associated with it, in chronological order, mention the primary associations in Catherine Earnshaw's life. Maintaining symmetry in the text, when read in reverse order, they chronicle the life of Cathy.

In the diary entry about Hindley's treatment of Heathcliff, readers gain the first bit of insight into the enigmatic main character. Perhaps he is the product of his environment, rebelling against his tormentors. From Catherine's perspective, Hindley is far worse a person than Heathcliff could ever be. Throughout the novel, the primary characters, particularly Heathcliff and Catherine, tend to demonstrate two sides, and these revelations make it extremely difficult for readers to maintain a constant vision of them. In the first two chapters, Heathcliff seems to care about no one, yet, at the end of Chapter 3, he is clearly tormented about the loss of Catherine. Clearly, the man who is initially presented as cold and heartless has the ability to also be quite passionate.

An important question is determining the source of Heathcliff's passion — is it Catherine or the act of revenge? Brontë introduces the supernatural in this chapter, and readers need to determine if the ghost of Catherine has truly been walking the world 18 years, waiting for Heathcliff, or if she is an incredibly vivid product of Lockwood's imagination.

Lockwood's interaction with the ghost/dream is also quite revealing. Although many characters are said to be cruel to one another throughout Wuthering Heights, what he does, pulling the wrist on broken glass and "rub[bing] it to and fro till the blood ran down and soaked the bed-clothes," is as cruel an action to another as any other character in the text. Lockwood's interaction with Catherine's spirit moves him from being an outside observer to an active participant in the plot.

Glossary

spectres ghosts.

dilapidation decay.

garret unfinished part of a house just under the roof.

palaver idle talk between two people.

pinafores sleeveless dresses or garments worn over dresses.

asseverated spoken earnestly.

lachrymose mournful.

vagabond an irresponsible wanderer.

cudgel a short club.

excommunicated excluded from church membership.

casement a window with side hinges that open outward.

changeling a child switched with another in infancy.

stagnate to be motionless.

impudence boldness.

sotto voce under one's breath, so as not to be overheard

egress an exit.

decorum polite behavior.

adieux good-byes.

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