Early on in Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights, the unsightly presence of coal repulses Lockwood's urban, bourgeois sensibilities: “[S]tepping into the room, I saw a servant-girl on her knees, surrounded by brushes and coal-scuttles, and raising an infernal dust as she extinguished the flames with heaps of cinders. This spectacle drove me back immediately; I took my hat, and, after a four miles walk, arrived at Heathcliff's garden gate just in time to escape the first feathery flakes of a snow shower” (9). As readers, we are introduced not only to Lockwood's peculiar imprudence but also to the “spectacle” of coal. This scene at the domestic hearth of Thrushcross Grange stirs Lockwood, spurring his decision to venture back to Wuthering Heights. He intimates as much at the opening of the novel's second chapter: “Yesterday afternoon set in misty and cold. I had half...

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