Chapter 3


Narrators: Lockwood, and Catherine through her writing. 

Lockwood stays overnight. He reads Catherine Earnshaw’s book which he finds, falls asleep and dreams about the names he has read. He has a nightmare in which he reaches through a broken window and grasps an icy hand. Seeing a ghostly child’s face, he awakes with a scream. Heathcliff enters the room, very agitated and throws Lockwood out. The next morning, Heathcliff escorts Lockwood back through the snow to Thrushcross Grange.


More names and other details are introduced to intrigue Lockwood and the reader. This chapter is a key one in terms of understanding the role that the supernatural plays in the novel, and therefore in exploring the Gothic.

She did not know: Brontë holds back information she does not want the reader to have yet.

Catherine Earnshaw… Heathcliff… Linton: deliberate confusion over characters, which is typical of Gothic literature, and which intrigues both Lockwood and the reader.

A glare of white letters: as well as introducing a ghostly atmosphere, it is difficult to be sure from this point when exactly Lockwood is dreaming and when he is awake: more ambiguity.

Catherine Earnshaw, her book: here we see books as something used to record feelings as well as to be read. (See Imagery and symbolism > Books.) Much that Lockwood reads here gives us hints and names that as yet make only partial sense.

Homily: sermon.

Lugs: ears.

Laiking: playing.

Scroop: back cover of a book.

Laced: thrashed.

Owd Nick: the devil

Seventy times seven: the symbolic number of times that, according to Jesus in the New Testament, people should forgive each other (Matthew 18:21-22). Ironic, since there is little forgiveness in this novel.

Thou art the man!: This is the phrase used when the Old Testament prophet Samuel accuses King David of taking another man’s wife and having him killed. See David and Bathsheba; 2 Samuel 12:1-7

Terror made me cruel: even Lockwood is not immune from the violence which affects everyone in Wuthering Heights.

If the little fiend…: Heathcliff is prepared to accept Lockwood’s presence in the room until he mentions the girl at the window. As we realise later, this is bound to torment him.

Grimalkin: an old cat often used for a witch’s familiar (such as in Act I, sc 1 of Macbeth). A neat Gothic touch by Brontë.

Orisons: prayers (used ironically).

Reading a book: Cathy shows her education by occupying herself in reading; Heathcliff calls it ‘trash’.

Investigating Chapter 3

  • Catherine’s diary provides another, second-hand, narrative voice. What is the effect of this technique?
  • What is the effect of the blurring of dream and reality in this chapter?
    • Can the reader tell where the boundary lies?
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