What Methods Does Emily Bronte Use to Reveal a Contrast Between the Characters of Lockwood and Heathcliff in the Opening Chapter of Wuthering Heights?
What methods does Emily Bronte use to reveal a contrast between the characters of Lockwood and Heathcliff in the opening chapter of Wuthering heights? The main method that Bronte used to highlight how different Lockwood and Heathcliff are is the structure of the novel, namely the fact that it’s an epistolary novel. This means that the readers are being led through the book by the diary entrances of Lockwood, effectively emphasizing the contrast between him and Heathcliff as he shares his opinions of Heathcliff.
Moreover I believe that the two characters are contrasted even more due to the fact that Lockwood is an outsider, entering the home of Heathcliff. This is effective because it allows the readers to meet Heathcliff’s character at the same time as Lockwood and really feel the awkward relationship that they have. Bronte effectively uses dialogue to show that these two characters have dissimilar personalities, if not opposite. Heathcliff uses short, snappy speech as opposed to elongated words or elegant sentences.
This may symbolise his unfriendliness or hostility at the situation he’s presented with, where he must be courteous towards Lockwood as not to seem rude. In fact, at the very beginning of the book when Lockwood calls him by name ‘a nod was the answer’ The fact that he didn’t even utter a greeting upon meeting someone new proves that Bronte wanted his speech to represent his character: abrupt and unwilling to communicate. In contrast it can be said that Lockwood uses elevated lexis and communicates in a clearer manner.
Bronte may have done this to represent his pompous and stuck up attitude. His speech defines they way he thinks of the situation too: as if he’s above it all and Heathcliff should be delighted to have him as a guest. Also Bronte may have done this to simply contrast Lockwood’s long sentences to Heathcliff’s short, to-the-point sentences. Also their speech may be different due to the fact that Lockwood is from the south of England whereas Heathcliff lives in the north.
Bronte shows this through the fact that they have different dialogues and vocabularies as well as showing it in their attitudes. In those times the north was liked to moors, factories, and industrial activity whereas the south of England was connected to being a commerce area where most people were rich. This would definitely explain why Lockwood and Heathcliff have different attitudes and possibly characters. It would also further explain why Bronte chose to make Lockwood a newcomer, as it allows his arrogant nature to be put to the test.
For example, upon his arrival Lockwood’s first impression is that the apartment was ‘nothing extraordinary’ and that Heathcliff was a ‘dark-skinned gipsy’. We can assume that as guest both of these are offensive first impressions. Furthermore Emily Bronte reveals contrast between Lockwood and Heathcliff through the events which occur in the beginning of Wuthering heights. For example Lockwood tells of a moment where out of boredom he ‘filled up an interval of silence by attempting to caress a canine mother’ only to be met by a ‘long guttural gnarl’.
He then goes on to describe Heathcliff’s reaction to this where he ‘growled’ a warning against touching the dog. I find it ironic that in the space of two sentences Lockwood described an animal and Heathcliff in the same way. The dog gnarled followed by Heathcliff growling. I believe that Emily Bronte used this comparison between the dog and Heathcliff to foreshadow his character and attitude towards Lockwood: the dog doesn’t like being approached or ‘caressed’ the same way Heathcliff may not like Lockwood’s intrusion into his home.
This is proved by the fact that Heathcliff accuses Lockwood of attempted theft because the dogs wouldn’t attack people ‘who touch nothing’ Bronte has used this technique effectively to show that one character could be considered a kind gentleman whereas the other acts the way a dog would act. Overall Bronte uses a range of techniques to highlight the differences between Lockwood and Heathcliff to the effect that the readers get a sense of separation between the two characters from the beginning.