Wuthering Heights by Emily Bront? is her only novel and serves as a powerful and disturbing tale of the tragic, yet complex love story between Catherine and Heathcliff. From the first pages of the novel, Bront? crafts supernatural, gloomy yet suspenseful moments through the experiences of Lockwood. Chapter three, includes the introduction of Catherine, Lockwood’s encounter with Catherine’s ghost, as well as Heathcliff’s reaction to it. The occurrence of these moments build upon the gothic tone already prevalent throughout chapter three. The gothic tone and exceptional use of language effectively illustrates the nature Catherine and Heathcliff’s love. It becomes clear, their love It’s so powerful that death cannot stop it. Chapter three immediately sets us in a very tense and spooky environment.
The scene sets with Zillah bringing Lockwood to a room we come to learn, Heathcliff doesn’t allow others to see. Lockwood is left alone to which he notices three names engraved into the bed. Catherine Earnshaw, Catherine Heathcliff, and Catherine Linton. Bront? writes “The ledge, where I placed my candle, had a few mildewed books piled up in one corner, and it was covered with writing scratched on the paint.
This writing, however, was nothing but a name repeated in all kinds of characters, large and small –Catherine Earnshaw, here and there varied to Catherine Heathcliff, and then again to Catherine Linton.”(19). The tone is set clearly. The dark desolate feel of Wuthering Heights, along with only a candle to light the room leaves the reader in a place of suspense. She includes minute yet important details, such as the mildewed books insinuating it’s been awhile since any life has seen that room.
Bront? describes the scene in the form of a list, leaving us, the reader, anxious to uncover the meaning behind the details. The depth of chapter three’s gothic tone, forces us as reader to raise questions such as, what the names may signify in the grand scheme of the novel. Further into the chapter, Lockwood is sleeping and is met with the horrors of the supernatural world whilst he dreams. In his second dream, Lockwood breaks the bedroom window and is grasped by the icy fingers of the being claiming itself as Catherine Linton, begging desperately to be let in. “The intense horror of nightmare came over me; I tried to draw back my arm, but the hand clung to it and the most melancholy voice sobbed, ‘Let me in — let me in!’ ‘Who are you ?’ I asked, struggling, meanwhile, to disengage myself ‘Catherine Linton,’ it replied shiveringly…As it spoke, I discerned, obscurely, a child’s face looking through the window.
Terror made me cruel.”(25-26). Lockwood’s encounter with Catherine was one of the few supernatural occurrences throughout Wuthering Heights. The tone remains predominantly gothic. As said before, we’re set in a gloomy, decaying setting in the windy Wuthering Heights with mysterious architecture all around.
With the appearance of Catherine’s spirit, we have a supernatural being, only furthering the gothic tone. Bront?’s diction is very depressive, using well chosen words such as “intense horror”, “nightmare came over me” and “melancholy”. Numerous adjectives that all, force the reader to feel erie and on edge as the ghost of Catherine appears, setting a very dark and desolate mood. Finally, upon the arrival of Heathcliff, we are granted a glimpse upon the nature of Heathcliff and Catherine’s relations.
As Lockwood encounters the spirit of Catherine Linton, he shrieks as she begs to be let in. Although Lockwood is in a dream, his scream is projected in the real world. Heathcliff hears the shriek and sprints to the room. Heathcliff is infuriated that Lockwood is in the room, while Lockwood is distraught over what has just occured.
Once Lockwood begins explaining his dream, Bront? writes “I stood still, and was witness, involuntary, to a piece of superstition on the part of my landlord, which belied, oddly, his apparent sense. He got on to the bed, and wretched open the lattice, bursting, as he pulled at it, into an uncontrollable passion of tears. ‘Come in! Come in!’ He sobbed. ‘Cathy, do come. Oh do — once more! Oh! my heart’s darling! Hear me this time, Catherine, at last!'” Heathcliff became livid when Lockwood explained his dream to him. Heathcliff, while sobbing, opened the window and exclaimed for Catherine to come back in. Gothic novels often warrant a romance factor, and in chapter three we are introduced to the main romance that drives the novel forward. Catherine and Heathcliff.
What seems to be most interesting is Heathcliff’s reaction to the spirit. He begs it to enter, almost as if he wants it to haunt him. A strange reaction considering most of us would quickly escape in the presence of a ghost. Because of his reaction, the nature of their love is made clear. His consuming love for Catherine is evident when he begs her to enter although she isn’t alive. Up until chapter three, we’ve come to know Heathcliff as a very cold and heartless man who seems to care about no one, yet his actions at the end of chapter three show a very different side as he is clearly tortured by Catherine’s lost.
This immediately informs us readers, that the nature of their relationship was very passionate and complex, hooking us to read on and uncover the details.