Having a change in narrators from Lockwood to Nelly, allows the reader to gather a different point of view.
I believe that Nelly is also a more reliable narrator than Lockwood as she has lived with the characters, and therefore knows them better. As Nelly is telling Lockwood of the past it allows the reader to understand the events that have occurred, making people in Wuthering Height so stern and cold. It also allows the reader to confirm Lockwood’s perception of the characters. To both see if he is a reliable narrator and also to answer the questions that have been aroused.
There are many events in Chapter Four that allow the reader to gather their views on the personalities of Heathcliff and Catherine. The children, (Cathy, Heathcliff and Hindley) all fell ill with measles. Heathcliff who was ‘dangerously ill’ had Nelly to look after him as he liked her to be by his side. It was during this period that Heathcliff and Nelly became close.
Even though Heathcliff was probably the worst affected of them all, he was still ‘the quietest child that a nurse ever watched over’ especially compared to Hindley and Cathy who ‘harassed’ Nelly terribly. This shows the contrast of personalities between the three characters.However, Nelly describes Heathcliff’s silence as ‘hardness, not gentleness’ this shows Heathcliff even early on in his life to have a hard personality and keep his feelings to himself. He won’t express the pain that he may be feeling inside.
This confirms what we have already learnt about Healthcliffs character through Lockwood’s narration when he also seemed stern and hard willed. Heathcliff’s recovery saw Nelly being praised by the doctor ‘who affirmed it was in great measure owing to me, and praised me for my care’ This, saw Nelly soften towards Healthcliff ‘thus Hindley losing his last ally’.Another incident that shows Heathcliff’s personality is when Mr. Earnshaw brought home a ‘couple of colts’ and ‘gave the lads each one’ Heathcliff took the handsome one however it fell lame.
Due to this he asks Hindley to exchange. We learn in this episode that Hindley regularly beats Heathcliff ‘three thrashings you’ve given me this week’ Hindley is older and bigger than Healthcliff, therefore this is very unfair. It shows Heathcliffs confidence by the fact that he persists at asking Hindley to swap horses and even threatens him by saying that he will tell his father of the beatings.Even when Hindley threatens him with an ‘iron weight’ Heathcliff does not show that he is scared by saying in response, ‘throw it’.
Another confirmation that Heathcliff does not show his pain is that as soon as Hindley throws the iron he ‘staggers up immediately’ I believe that he does this so that Hindley does not have the satisfaction of seeing that he hurt Heathcliff. A very important point that can be seen in this episode is that Heathcliff always gets his way and that he persists in order to get it. Hindley finally say’s, ‘take my colt gypsy. After reading the whole novel this is an important point because the reader knows that when Heathcliff is older he also always gets what he wants.
He wants revenge on Hindley which he finally gets and he wants to own both Wuthering Heights and Thrushcroft Grange. However to get them he had to go through pain like he did with getting the horse he wanted. Heathcliffs experiences as a boy illustrated by this abuse moulds his character in adult hood. This stubbornness as a boy is shown again later in the book.
His single minded determination is shown despite his physical hurt.Heathcliff will stop at nothing to get his own way and in the end as a result he lost both his son and Cathy. However throughout the novel we see that Heathcliff rarely shows his emotions. This emphasizes that when he does, the cause is very important to him.
In this case we see in Lockwood’s narration in the beginning that even though Lockwood describes Heathcliff as a hard character there is an incident in which he totally lets go and cries. It is when he realizes that Cathy has returned to Lockwood. He cries for her to return again to him and Lockwood sees this.This shows the extent of Heathcliffs love for Cathy and the agony and pain that he must have been going through in order for him to actually show these kinds of emotions.
In the next chapter it can be seen that Mr. Earnshaw has died, making Hindley the new head of Wuthering Heights. Hindley endeavors to make Heathcliffs life a misery and demotes him to a servant. However this does not detract from the strong relationship between Heathcliff and Cathy.
They still remain inseparable and wild. Wild is the exact word to describe their personalities as well as their behavior, they are wild and mischievous when they are together.This is shown when Heathcliif and Cathy go off together to peek in the windows of Thrushcroft Grange. At this point they are both much as one, as a whole.
However Catherine got hurt when running when they get caught. Cathy shouts to Heathcliff ‘Run Heathcliff Run’ This shows her love for him as she is willing for him to get away and she to be caught. It is at this point that the two of them are separated and are no longer whole. They are separated literally and emotionally from this point forward as things are never the same again.
Cathy is treated differently and is taken in by the Linton’s and Heathcliff is told to go. Cathy does not return from Thrushcroft Grange for another five weeks. When she does return she has transformed in to a lady. She is dressed in grand clothes and it seems as if she has transformed from the person she used to be and left her old self behind.
Heathcliff by contrast is extremely unkempt and with the Cathy’s change in clothing they contrast with each other greatly.As soon as she returns one of her first statements is ‘Is Heathcliff not here? At this point the reader is relieved that her love is still present and she has not forgotten him however in later statements it seems to the reader as if she has changed by some of her comments. For example ‘Why how very black and cross you look! ‘ ‘But that’s because I’m used to Edgar and Isabella Linton’ It seems here as if she’s comparing Heathcliff to the new people in her life and he doesn’t quite match up, especially not in appearance anyway. Heathcliff has a very stern and solemn reply by refusing to shake her hand ‘I shall not.
… I shall not stand to be laughed at.
The way Heathcliff acts towards her in this episode I think is due to his thoughts of her new appearance. He believes that she has changed as a person also. Maybe also Cathy is confused at this point and does not know what she wants. She has experienced a grander side of life and Heathcliff does not fit in to her new world even though deep down she wants him to.
However Heathcliff probably feels as if he is not good enough for her anymore. Nelly’s fondness of Heathcliff is shown again when she offers to dress him up smart ‘before Miss Cathy comes out’ She is trying to restore the relationship that they used to have with one another.Nelly offers her own view on why Heathcliff is acting so coldly towards Cathy ‘it looks as if you envy her, because she is more thought of than you’ Heathcliff then shows an extremely new sensitive side that the reader has not yet seen. Nelly tries to uplift him by saying ‘you are younger, taller and twice as broad.
you could knock him down. ‘ Heathcliff replies if he knocked him down it wouldn’t make him ‘less handsome or me more so’ The reader senses that Heathcliff is feeling sorry for himself. The reader sees again that the soft side of Heathcliff only appears when the subject is to do with Cathy.It is like she is his downfall.
After Nelly lifts Heathcliff mood, but then he has a run in with Hindley. We again see his violent side appear and Hindley’s wretchedness. ‘Be-gone you vagabond’ is what Hindley say’s to Heathcliff in return Heathcliff ‘seized a tureen of hot apple sauce’ and ‘dashed it no the speakers face’ the speaker of whom is Edgar (the guest). After this commotion Nelly observes Catherine and describes her as an ‘unfeeling child’ by the way she ‘dismissed her old playmates troubles’ However then she realizes that Cathy is putting on a show ‘under a cloth to conceal her emotion’ for her guests.
Nelly knows that Cathy is just waiting for and opportunity to pay a visit to Heathcliff who had been locked up. This shows Catherine strong feelings toward Heathcliff even if she does not show it all the time. Towards the end of this chapter the reader sees Heathcliff as the hard hearted man again as he plots his revenge for Hindley. ‘I shall pay Hindley back’ His anger is shown and he wants to be alone to plan it.
It is as if this anger and will for revenge fuels him and numbs the pain.