"Wuthering Heights" by Emily Bronte: How has your understanding of Chapters 1-3 been shaped by approaches that focus on class, gender and genre?

Essay by sugarnspice1000 February 2007

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Chapters 1-3 are depicted through the eyes of Lockwood, who is portrayed as a gentleman of proper society. His social position is established early on in chapters 1 and 2 and the reader's attention is drawn to the fact that Lockwood is much more at ease in society through such quotes as "I (Lockwood) do not believe that I could have fixed on a situation so completely removed from the stirs of society" which shows that Lockwood is unused to living in the country but is more use to the constraints and comfort of society. Lockwood's status as that of a gentleman is established early on and because of this, he judges his surroundings by social ideas. He is shown as an unreliable narrator through his frequent and incorrect assumptions that he imposes on the characters that he encounters. Many of the assumptions that Lockwood makes are based on appearance and this is because appearance places a major role in society.

The assumptions that Lockwood makes are based around society's views and thus Lockwood deems that these views are the model and the proper and respectable way. Bronte is using Lockwood's assumptions to comment on the inadequacy of society's rules.

The opening of chapter one opens with Lockwood's first assumption on Heathcliff. Lockwood states that "Mr. Heathcliff and I are such a suitable pair to divide the desolation between us. A capital fellow! He little imagines how my heart warmed towards him". His first impression of Heathcliff is shown as both inadequate and false as Heathcliff is later shown as quite the opposite. It is only in chapter 2 that Lockwood realizes his mistake in judging Heathcliff's personality so quickly. Lockwood says "the tone in which the words were said revealed a...