By what means and how successfully does Emily Bronte engage and sustain the reader's interest in the first three chapters of Wuthering Heights?

Essay by amydocherty87 January 2004

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The first few chapters of 'Wuthering Heights' appear to set the tone of the novel through the voice of the narrator - Mr. Lockwood. It is through his constant curiosity and thirst for knowledge that we are introduced to Heathcliff and his household. From the tone of the first three chapters, a Victorian reader would have expected this to be a gothic novel, yet the narrative voice, the diary form, structure and broad use of language are the greatest importance for setting a scene and building up the reader's interest.

Emily Bronte introduces us to both houses straight away - thus setting a very important part of the novels structure it is both fully and precisely created and used for dramatic impact. It is this use of such strong imagery that both engages and sustains the reader's interest. It is Mr Lockwood who initially attracts the reader - Bronte has used him as a link between the story and the reader as he is an outsider who doesn't really fit into the narrative - this gives us a sense of belonging.

Bronte incorporates different aspects of life throughout the first three chapters. She stages a great scene when Lockwood introduces himself to a lady named Catherine. This supernatural experience really does both engage and sustain the reader's inquisitiveness and we thirst to read on.

Emily Bronte begins Wuthering Heights in diary form. This introduces us to a very personal impression and an immediate connection to Heathcliff. Lockwood makes an association straight away;

"A perfect misanthropists heaven: and Mr Heathcliff and I are such a suitable pair to divide the desolation between us"

He realises that they are both seeking solace in the unwelcoming area of the Yorkshire moors. As a reader, we are curious as to...