Chapter 1


Narrator: Lockwood. 

It is 1801 and Mr Lockwood becomes the tenant at isolated Thrushcross Grange in an attempt to escape ‘the stir of society’. He visits his landlord, Mr Heathcliff, at Wuthering Heights and receives a cool reception. Nevertheless, he decides to call again the next day.


As well as introducing some characters, this chapter sets the mood of aggression and darkness which pervades the whole novel. It also drops in some clues which will be developed later.

Misanthropist: a person who dislikes society.

His fingers sheltered themselves: Heathcliff has no intention of shaking hands. An early hint that Lockwood has misjudged Heathcliff.

Go to the Deuce: go to the Devil; an early introduction to the violent language which shocked some Victorian readers.

Wuthering Heights is the name of…: This paragraph sets up our first picture of Wuthering Heights which will permeate the whole of the rest of the novel; notice how the idea of storm is quickly established.

Griffins: legendary creatures with the bodies of lions and the heads and wings of eagles.

Penetralium: the innermost shrine or recess; this is typical of Lockwood’s rather pompous language.

Dark-skinned gypsy: does this hint that Heathcliff has foreign blood? See Critical approaches

‘never told my love’: a quotation adapted from Twelfth Night (Act II, sc 4, 112) 

Jesus casting out demons, medieval illuminationPossessed swine: a reference to the story of Jesus casting out demons from two men and putting them into a herd of pigs. (See Matthew 8:28-34 or Mark 5:1-20 or Luke 8:26-39.) One of several references to devils in this chapter.

It is astonishing …compared with him: Lockwood is not as keen on being alone as he claimed. This sentence encourages the reader to compare and pair characters. (See Characterisation > Doubling characters.)

Investigating Chapter 1

  • From the opening paragraph, note down any contrasts between Lockwood’s impressions and the language used to describe what he actually sees.
  • Do you see any significance in the names Lockwood and Heathcliff?
  • What is your overall impression of Wuthering Heights?
    • Find some key words and phrases which are used to give this impression.
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