Wuthering Heights

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Mr. Lockwood Character Analysis

A gentleman who rents Thrushcross Grange from Heathcliff. He is the narrator of the story; Nelly Dean tells him about all of the other characters, and he passes on her account to the reader. He is a somewhat smug and emotionally remote city boy who is not very involved in the action.

Mr. Lockwood Quotes in Wuthering Heights

The Wuthering Heights quotes below are all either spoken by Mr. Lockwood or refer to Mr. Lockwood. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Gothic Literature and the Supernatural Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Vintage edition of Wuthering Heights published in 2009.
Chapter 1 Quotes
But Mr. Heathcliff forms a singular contrast to his abode and style of living. He is a dark-skinned gypsy in aspect, in dress and manners a gentleman, that is, as much a gentleman as many a country squire.
Related Characters: Mr. Lockwood (speaker), Heathcliff
Related Symbols: Wuthering Heights
Page Number: 4
Explanation and Analysis:

Lockwood recalls arriving at Wuthering Heights for the first time, describing his initial impressions of the house and of Heathcliff, its owner. He remarks that based on the look of the house he would expect it to be inhabited by a "homely, Northern farmer," but instead he encounters Heathcliff, whom he describes in paradoxical terms. To Lockwood, Heathcliff simultaneously looks like a "dark-skinned gypsy" and a member of the English aristocracy. Even in his own home, Heathcliff seems to be an outsider, and the reference to his ethnic origin hints that, as Bronte later reveals, Heathcliff was adopted. 

Immediately we know that there is something strange and otherworldly about Heathcliff. To 19th century white English readers, his depiction as a "dark-skinned gypsy" would signal that he was mysterious and potentially menacing. The fact that he blurs class boundaries is also significant, as it would have been highly unusual to meet someone who could not clearly be placed within the rigid class system of the time. Finally, there is a hint of irony in the fact that Lockwood describes Heathcliff as being at odds with his home. Although Heathcliff is more suited to the open moor than to the house, he comes to be closely associated with the rugged, sturdy Wuthering Heights, especially in comparison to Thrushcross Grange.  

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Chapter 3 Quotes
Terror made me cruel; and finding it useless to attempt shaking the creature off, I pulled its wrist on to the broken pane, and rubbed it to and fro till the blood ran down and soaked the bedclothes.
Related Characters: Mr. Lockwood (speaker)
Related Symbols: Wuthering Heights
Page Number: 27
Explanation and Analysis:

Having read Catherine's diary and fallen asleep, Lockwood dreams that he hears a tapping at the window and is grabbed by the "little, ice-cold hand" of Catherine's ghost. He attempts to pull away but the hand won't let him go, begging to be let in; terrified, Lockwood rubs the hand against the broken window pane until eventually it lets go. This disturbing sequence is one of the most obviously gothic moments in the novel. It is ambiguous whether Catherine's ghost is "real" or whether it is only a figment of Lockwood's imagination, conjured by the fact that he fell asleep reading her diary. However, when Heathcliff arrives in the room after hearing Lockwood's screams, it is clear that Catherine's ghost is a very real presence to him.

The graphic violence in the dream is made even more unsettling by the fact that Catherine's ghost is in the form of a child, with a "little" hand. Lockwood's willingness to viciously harm the child in his terror suggests that even highly "civilized" people have a capacity for brutality and passion beneath the veneer of good manners. Meanwhile, the ghost itself displays Catherine's contradictory qualities: it is simultaneously stubborn and powerless, threatening and vulnerable.

This passage also emphasizes the dividing line between Wuthering Heights and the moor outside. The ghost is desperate to be let in, but there is clearly a powerful force keeping it outside. This division between inside and outside is represented by the jagged glass of the broken window pane, which Lockwood makes violent use of in order to keep the ghost out.

The ledge, where I placed my candle, had a few mildewed books piled up in one corner; and it was covered with writing scratched on the paint. This writing, however, was nothing but a name repeated in all kinds of characters, large and small—Catherine Earnshaw, here and there varied to Catherine Heathcliff, and then again to Catherine Linton.
Related Characters: Mr. Lockwood (speaker), Catherine Earnshaw Linton, Heathcliff, Edgar Linton
Related Symbols: Wuthering Heights
Page Number: 21
Explanation and Analysis:

Having attempted to leave Wuthering Heights after an unsettling dinner, Lockwood is attacked by the dogs and suffers a nosebleed, forcing him to stay the night in a bedroom that Heathcliff does not normally let anyone use. Describing the room, Lockwood notes that it is damp and fairly empty, and on the window ledge he notices multiple versions of Catherine's name scratched onto the paint. The name signals that, as Lockwood will soon find out, the room is haunted by the ghost of Catherine. 

The fact that there are three different versions of Catherine's name––with the different surnames Earnshaw, Heathcliff, and Linton––highlights the legacy of Catherine's passionate and fickle emotions. At the same time, the names also emphasize the fractured nature of women's identities in the 19th century. When a woman married, she gained not only a new spouse and lifestyle but also essentially became a different person, with a new name and identity. The decision of who to marry was thus of pivotal importance for women, and Catherine's conflict over who to choose was thus inevitably tied to an identity crisis about who she was. Lockwood's description of her handwriting––"all kinds of letters, large and small"––further conveys this sense of inner conflict and turmoil. 

Chapter 32 Quotes
The task was done, not free from further blunders; but the pupil claimed a reward, and received at least five kisses; which, however, he generously returned. Then they came to the door, and from their conversation I judged they were about to issue out and have a walk on the moors.
Related Characters: Mr. Lockwood (speaker), Catherine/Cathy Linton Heathcliff Earnshaw, Hareton Earnshaw
Page Number: 351
Explanation and Analysis:

Cathy has been taking care of Hareton while he recovers from a shooting accident, including teaching him to read. While previously Cathy has acted cruelly toward Hareton, making fun of his illiteracy, this part of the book represents a transformation in their relationship. (Indeed, the transformation is so total that at first Lockwood does not even recognize this "pupil" as Hareton, and only understands the situation once Nelly explains it to him.) The newly mature Cathy has seen that her previous behavior was unfair, and she and Hareton come to love each other in a way very unlike Catherine and Heathcliff's love; unlike the older generation, Cathy and Hareton's relationship is gentle, productive, and viable. There is, of course, still a major similarity between Cathy and Hareton's relationship and that of Catherine and Heathcliff, though: despite the stark differences between them, they are united by their love of the wild moors. 

In many ways, this union is possible because Cathy stops looking down on Hareton and comes to see him as her equal. At the same time, she nonetheless remains in an authoritative position as his teacher and caregiver, and her dominance subtly reverses the expected power dynamic between a man and woman. Note the similarity between the love born in this situation and the story of Jane Eyre, written by Emily Bronte's sister, Charlotte: in that novel, Mr. Rochester is at first cruel to Jane, but when he becomes blind and Jane has to care for him, they fall in love. 

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Mr. Lockwood Character Timeline in Wuthering Heights

The timeline below shows where the character Mr. Lockwood appears in Wuthering Heights. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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It is 1801. Mr. Lockwood writes in his diary that, wanting solitude after unintentionally hurting a woman he admired because... (full context)
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...and has grotesque carvings around the front door. During the visit, Heathcliff is amused when Lockwood is nearly attacked after Heathcliff leaves him alone with a bunch of savage dogs. Yet... (full context)
Chapter 2
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Lockwood returns to Wuthering Heights the next day. As he arrives, it begins to snow. No... (full context)
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Eventually a rough young man lets Lockwood in and brings him to a sitting room. In the room also is a beautiful... (full context)
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During the meal, Lockwood learns that the young woman (whom he assumed was Heathcliff's wife) is the widow of... (full context)
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...on Joseph the servant. The snow also turns to a blizzard, and while discussing how Lockwood will get home, the woman tells Heathcliff that if he lets Lockwood leave alone, she... (full context)
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Fed up with the bickering, and with no one willing to guide him home, Lockwood takes a lantern, promising to return it the next day, and leaves. But Joseph thinks... (full context)
Chapter 3
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Zillah brings Lockwood to a room that Heathcliff usually doesn't allow anyone to stay in. Left alone, Lockwood... (full context)
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That night Lockwood has a nightmare in which he breaks a window to get some air, and a... (full context)
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The next morning Heathcliff escorts Lockwood home. The servants of Thrushcross Grange are overjoyed to see Lockwood—they feared he'd died in... (full context)
Chapter 4
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Back at Thrushcross Grange, Lockwood starts feeling lonely and asks his housekeeper, Nelly Dean, to tell him about Heathcliff and... (full context)
Chapter 7
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...then breaks into her story to say that it is late and she must sleep. Lockwood insists that she continue the story right then. (full context)
Chapter 10
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Lockwood falls ill for four weeks. (full context)
Chapter 16
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...corner of the churchyard, with a view over the moors she loved. Nelly then tells Lockwood that Edgar is buried next to Catherine. (full context)
Chapter 25
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Nelly pauses in her narrative to tell Lockwood that the events she's now describing took place a little over a year ago during... (full context)
Chapter 30
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Nelly tells Lockwood that she hasn't seen Cathy since that day, and only gets news about her from... (full context)
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In his diary, Lockwood writes that Nelly has finished her story. He says that he has recovered from his... (full context)
Chapter 31
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Lockwood goes to Wuthering Heights to tell Heathcliff of his decision to leave Thrushcross Grange. He... (full context)
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Lockwood also learns that Heathcliff has taken Cathy's books. Cathy adds that Hareton has gathered some... (full context)
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After a rather dull and unpleasant meal, Lockwood leaves. On the way back to the Grange, he muses on how lucky Cathy would... (full context)
Chapter 32
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Six months later, Lockwood returns to the area and pays a visit at Wuthering Heights. He finds, to his... (full context)
Chapter 34
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Lockwood leaves Wuthering Heights and walks through the moors to the churchyard where Heathcliff, Catherine, and... (full context)