The Importance of Ghosts In Emily Bronte's ‘Wuthering Heights’
‘My fingers closed on the fingers of a little, ice-cold hand! The intense horror of nightmare came over me: I tried to draw back my arm, but the hand clung to it’ (Page 20)
In this extract Lockwood thought he had a dream, he remembers that he ‘turned and dozed’ and dreamt again, but the above extract shows that this was different from any other dream, it is much more realistic and increasingly frightening. This leads the reader to believe that this really is not a dream and that a supernatural being is causing this entire disturbance. The importance that this has to the novel is that it adds an element of excitement and mystery, rather than Lockwood just having a dream about a ghost by the end of the extract, they believe that there really was one there.
What makes this part of the novel all the more stirring is the fact that there is evidence that this really was a ghost at Lockwood’s window. For instance Lockwood says that that name of the ghost was ‘Catherine Linton’:
‘(Why did I think of Linton? I had read Earnshaw twenty times for Linton)’ (Page20)
This is to say that in any dream one would not expect to dream about someone they had never met before, and they would expect for their dreams to be a collaged combination of all the things that had happened to them. In this particular extract Lockwood is saying that he had read the name Earnshaw, all he saw ‘was nothing but a name repeated in all kinds of characters, large and small-Catherine Earnshaw,’ Lockwood is saying that if this really was a dream then why did it say Linton?
The theme of the afterlife is repeated all throughout the novel, and is especially reiterated by the fact that Heathcliff had lost Catherine due to consumption. The idea that she could be a ghost is magnified by the fact that Heathcliff had actually seen the ghost himself at the window, and it was Catherine.
‘Come in! Come in! He sobbed. Cathy, do come. Oh do once more! Oh! My heart’s darling! Hear me this time, Catherine, at last!’ (Page 23)
This is also evidence that the dream that Lockwood had was not a dream, but was really the ghost of Catherine Linton. The evidence for this is above where Heathcliff himself goes to the window and calls out to Catherine, almost as if she had been their before but still had not come in through the window.
The importance this has towards the novel is that it shows that there is more to the Heights and the moors than just a feeling of the paranormal. There really is a ghost haunting the heights, and this entraps the reader by making them believe that there is more to the novel than just the basic story line. The other reason is that Brontë is trying to emphasise just how much Catherine was in love with Heathcliff.
‘That is not my Heathcliff. I shall love mine yet; and take him with me: he’s in my soul.’ (Page 137)
What Catherine is saying here is that she loves Heathcliff so much...