Wuthering Heights. Ch 12. Bronte explores depths of human passion Catherine’s 3 day fast and her delirium. Symbol of Catherine’s struggle to find an equilibrium between the forces of nature and the civilised world. In her delirium Catherine talks to Heathcliff though he is not there:.
- Derek Traversi, The Bronte Sisters and Wuthering Heights
Lockwood is an imperceptive man, lacking in emotional depth.
Nelly Dean is more perceptive, less self absorbed, with a good enough heart and a sufficient enough supply of common sense to give her greater reliability than Lockwood.
Yet she is much closer to the chrs , having lived with them all her life, she has distinct hopes and fears on their behalf and from time to time even plays a role in the action.
“One might have doubted, after the wayward and impatient existence she had led, whether she merited a haven of peace at last…Do you believe such people are happy in the other world, sir? I’d give a great deal to know.”
she deliberately and willfully keeps away knowledge of Catherine’s mental and physical deterioration from Edgar.
A symbol of Catherine’s struggle to find an equilibrium between the forces of nature and the civilised world
“hey Throttler, lad! whispered the little wretch, rousing a half bred bull dog from its lair in a corner.”
“Mim! mim! mim! Did iver Christian body hear owt like it? Minching and munching! Hah can Aw tell whet ye say?”
gives credence to Isabella’s account
creates a sense of immediacy – we are made to feel, hear and see what happens at WH.
conveys vividly the conflicts that arise between Isabella and the inhabitants of WH.
“ I entered the kitchen – a dingy, untidyhole”
“ruffianly child, strong in limb and dirty in garb”
“I must shake hands, and – yes - I must kiss him.”
“He replied in a jargon I did not comprehend”
“This is Edgar’s legal nephew,” I reflected. It is right to establish a good understanding at the beginning.”
“Shall you and I be friends, Hareton?” was my next essay at conversation.
“Where is my maid servant? Direct me to her, as she won’t come to me!”
“No,” thundered Earnshaw, “should he offer to leave me he is a dead man, persuade him to attempt it, and you are a murderess! Am I to lose all, without a chance of retrieval? Is Hareton to be a beggar? Oh, damnation! I will have it back: I’ll have his gold too; and then his blood; and hell shall have his soul!
“Ah I thought myself, she might recover, so waited on as she was. And there was double cause to desire it, for on her existence depended that of another; we cherished the hope that in a little while, Mr. Linton’s heart would be gladdened, and his lands secured from a stranger’s gripe, by the birth of an heir”.
How accurate is Nelly’s reading of Edgar’s love for Catherine? Does he care only about protecting his assets as she hints?
Catherine: “I’m sure I should be myself were I once among the heather on those hills…Open the window again wide, fasten it open! Quick why don’t you move?”
Nelly: “Because I won’t give you your death of cold.”
Catherine: “Because you won’t give me a chance of life, you mean.”
Catherine: “However, I’m not helpless yet, I’ll open it myself…careless of the frosty air that cut about her shoulders as keen as a knife.”