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Wuthering Heights

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How effective are the first three chapters of Wuthering Heights in creating a sense of mystery and suspense? In the opening three chapters of Wuthering Heights, Bronte uses numerous techniqes to generate a sense of mystery and suspense; including gothic devices and tension escalation leading to relief. In chapter threee where paranormal activities arise, the tension accumulates and a sense of horror is created. This contributes to the disorderly abode of Wuthering Heights. Bronte mentions the weather consistently to represent the dysfunction and secrecy that the household has maintained for years. Lockwood's oblivion to the situation supplies more mystery and suspense because it puzzles the reader as we are not always certain of whether his assumptions are accurate. In chapter one, we are introduced to our narrator, Mr Lockwood and his Landlord Mr Heathcliff. The opening instantly creates mystery because of Heathcliff's hostile response- "his fingers sheltered themselves, with a jealous resolution, still further in his waistcoat..." to a friendly tenant Mr.Lockwood whose "heart warmed towards him" As a misanthropist would, Lockwood likes the fact that he lives in an area "so completely removed from the stir of society" but Heathcliff is "more exaggeratedly reserved" than Lockwood. This creates mystery and suspense because it puzzles the reader and makes us wonder why Heathcliff is so reserved and unsociable which leaves us with the not yet resolved question: Why is Heathcliff the way he is? ...read more.


Heathcliff's angelic appearance and her foul personality form a contrast as her image is so deceiving judging by her uncivilised manner towards Lockwood. "Take the road you came" "It is brief advice, but as sound as I can give." These indirect remarks that Mrs. Heathcliff makes, creates mystery and suspense because it shows her reluctance to be part of the residence of Wuthering Heights. Wuthering Heights appears to be a cold and stern environment. This is seen when no one utters "a word of sociable conversation," The locality of Wuthering Heights is so bleak and isolated which could suggest the inhabitants are recluses. "I observed no signs of roasting, boiling or baking..." Lockwood's description of the house suggests a sense of negligence and abandonment. Although the house is lived in, it is not very homely or welcoming. It seems to be filled with skeletons in the closets and "queer goings on". "Gaudily painted canisters", "primitive" structured chairs, "villainous old guns", the "silver jugs and tankards, towering row after row". The intricate d�cor that overcrowds the room could suggest the house is tainted with memories, stories and people who have past away. As an outsider, Lockwood makes several mistakes. First that Mr. and Mrs. Heathcliff are man and wife and secondly, when he assumes Hareton is the son of Heathcliff. ...read more.


Heathcliff was obviously mistreated and abused as a child which could be the reason for the bitter, cruel man he turned out to be. After Lockwood's chaotic nightmare, the tension is relieved when "the branch of a fir- tree" that touches his lattice "merely" but escalates again when Lockwood's "finger's closed on the fingers of a little, ice-cold hand!" and the "melancholy voice" that sobbed "Let me in-let me in!" This is either where the supernatural takes place or Lockwood is still entrenched in his nightmare (based on the reader's outlook). Heathcliff barges into the room and his face grows "as white as the wall behind him". Heathcliff's startled reaction suggests that he is aware of that particular room being haunted by Cathy's spirit. Towards the end of chapter three, Bronte uses nature to create the mood that surrounds Lockwood's new home, Thrushcross Grange- "first gleam of dawn." "Loosing myself among the trees," and "free" "still" air. Bronte also repeats the weather technique- "cold as impalpable ice." "Sinking up to the neck in snow," The tension throughout the majority of chapter three is relieved as it ends on a calm, subtle and positive note- "cheerful fire and smoking coffee". Beyond chapter three, the mystery and suspense morph into violence/horror as Nelly Dean tells the true background story that involves horrific occurrences. For original Victorian readers, the content of the novel was more shocking to present day readers. ...read more.

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