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Summary and Analysis of Wuthering Heights Chapter 2

 Wuthering Heights Chapter 2: Summary and Analysis


In this chapter Lockwood has a second repelling visit to Wuthering Heights. While he had no intentions of leaving his study table, being bored he sets for Wuthering Heights again where he has to struggle at the gate for someone to open it for him. Joseph showed up from inside one of the windows but was not ready to open it for him. His broken uttering frustrated Lockwood when a young man with a pitchfork on his shoulders appeared in the yard and asked him to follow him. They went into the house through a wash shed reaching at last where he had been received last day. A large fire was lit and a table was laid for dinner. Besides it was seated a person Lockwood least expected to find. It was the same young lady who had saved him from the dogs last day. While he bowed to her she made no signs of movement and stayed mute in her seat. Lockwood took her to be Mrs Heathcliff and tried to begin a talk about the weather and the servants who were quite disobedient as per him. She watched him in a regardless manner that embarrassed Lockwood.

The young man followed and asked Lockwood to sit. Heathcliff was going to be back soon. He sat down trying to talk to the lady if she minded sharing one of those puppies. Her reply was more repelling than what Heathcliff would have given. She said they did not belong to him. Again the situation got comic when he picked a heap of dead rabbits thinking they were pet cats.  The young lady stood up trying to reach the canisters above the fire place. Lockwood got a wholesome view of her figure and admired her features in his heart. She was unable to reach the canisters and as Lockwood tried to aid her she snapped there was no need to. He immediately asked for her pardon. She asked if he had been invited to tea. Lockwood politely said he would like to have one. Lockwood had been here once before but there was still no feeling of acquaintance in the air. Since he had not been asked to she gave up on making tea. The young man had put up an upper cloth and came and stood by the fire watching Lockwood from the slant of his eyes making him feel afraid. He did not have the same civilized manners like Heathcliff or Mrs Heathcliff and appeared like a servant. While Lockwood was trying to guess who he could be Heathcliff arrived. He was not very pleased to see Lockwood there since it was snowing heavily and Lockwood could be lost on his way back. It left the tenant in a very bad position because he could not get one of Heathcliff’s lads to guide him either. He demanded the lady to make tea who confusedly pleaded if Lockwood too could have a cup. This made Heathcliff furious and he ordered her to make it. His tone made Lockwood feel like he was genuinely bad. Soon, Heathcliff invited them all to pull their chairs to close to the table. The environment had relaxed a bit and Lockwood thought this was just their daily business and tried to clear the cloud by saying that life in this part was pretty full of happiness. He could hardly expect such a life in complete resignation from society. He called the young lady ‘your amiable lady’ meaning Heathcliff’s wife which amused Heathcliff.

He made Lockwood aware that his wife was dead. Lockwood has realized his mistake because there was a wide age gap between the two. The situation was getting clumsier and comic for Lockwood who now thought that sadly the young lady was married to the other clown in the house. Heathcliff  helped him overcome his doubt by telling him that she was his daughter in law. So, Lockwood turned to the other man trying to complement him that he was the husband of that nice lady. This angered the guy who clenched his fists. His guesses were poor said Heathcliff and that her mate, his son was dead. The other man was not his son who felt disrespected and told his name was Hareton Earnshaw. Lockwood had started feeling like an outsider and decided to remain careful in his next conversations. After having eaten he checked the sky through a window and found that night was falling prematurely and dense snow would soon prevent mobility. Heathcliff continued to avoid answering Lockwood’s questions who was now increasingly irritated. When he turned around he saw old Joseph with food for dogs and young Mrs Heathcliff . Joseph put down the pot and started cursing in his broken English which Lockwood thought was targeted at him. While he was feeling enraged enough to kick the old insane man out, Mrs Heathcliff busted out frightening Joseph with  curses and the saying she would use Black Art on him which she had mastered in these days. The old man ran out crying ‘wicked’. She had put on a mocked malignity that made her look like a complete witch. Now, Lockwood was left alone with Mrs Heathcliff and thought he could interest her in his problem. He asked her for landmarks to take him home. It was a funny and yet frightening situation for Lockwood who was irritated and helpless beyond imagination. He could take the same road he came by was the girl’s response. This made Lockwood even miserable who said that if he was discovered dead in some bog tomorrow, it would be partly her fault. She did not melt and said she could not go even to the garden wall with him, leave alone escorting him. Here was no one in the house except the four people he knew Earnshaw, Zillah, Joseph and Mrs Heathcliff. Heathcliff himself would never bother.  Lockwood knew he was caught and would have to stay there for tonight. This meeting was turning out to be worse than the last. He was caught among people totally devoid of social etiquette.  She said whether he will stay or not he must settle with Heathcliff. The fellow’s voice came from the kitchen entrance telling there were no accommodations for guests and that he could share a bed with either Joseph or Hareton. He said he could sleep on a chair in the same room but Heathcliff could not allow him to be in range of his daughter in law.  This had dismantled Lockwood’s peace of mind and he shot out of the room past Heathcliff unable to bear the insult.

It was dark outside and Hareton appeared to be ready to escort him. He was going to see him off till the park. It angered Heathcliff for who was going to take care of the horses. At this point young Mrs Heathcliff joined saying a man’s life was worth more than the horses. Moreover, Heathcliff could not find another tenant till the Grange was in absolute ruins. Joseph was milking the cows and started that the young witch was cursing them all.  Lockwood seized the lantern Joseph was using and the old scoundrel ordered the dogs to catch him. As he opened the little door, the wretched dogs pounced on him bringing him down and extinguishing the lantern. Hareton’s and Heathcliff’s words gave the finishing touches and Lockwood’s anger was at its peak. The wretched inmates looked like ghosts trying to haunt him. He snorted out he would retaliate if they were to hold him there any longer. Himself half-knowing what he was saying, bleeding in the nose and being laughed at by the capital fellow, Lockwood thought there was no end to his pains when Zillah, the housewife issued from the inner quarters and thinking they were beating him started at Hareton Earnshaw.  She said it was ill to beat your own guests and poured some cold water on Lockwood’s neck. Like a mother she pulled the angry child into the kitchen where Lockwood felt a bit at ease and decided to accept whatever accommodate they could provide.  Heathcliff told her to give the man some brandy and the kind housewife took him to his bed.