Sunday, August 21, 2011

The First Anagram

After I had discovered the Masonic symbols in Jane Eyre, I searched Wuthering Heights for a similar system. As I began my analysis, I noticed in the first chapter that Lockwood had been describing Heathcliff and the farmhouse before switching subjects to talk about himself.

Just before this paragraph, and within 2 sentences are a few masonic words: 'actuate,' 'constitution,' 'peculiar,' 'mother,' 'comfortable home,' and 'unworthy.' The Encyclopedia of Freemasonry states that the colour red symbolically represents the "ardor and zeal which should actuate all" who participate in the degree ceremonies. The Book of Constitutions is another term for the Grand Lodge charter: to form a new Lodge, masons need a Warrant of Constitution in order to assemble as a regular Lodge. Freemasonry is described as "a peculiar system of morality," and in England the term "mother lodge" can refer to the lodge where the man first became a mason, or to a lodge that sponsors the creation of a new lodge. Inside a lodge, Freemasons find a comfortable home in a safe and sacred retreat, but in order to become a mason, a man must first prove he is worthy. In Lockwood's case, he admits in his 'confession' that he had "proved himself perfectly unworthy" of a "comfortable home."

Brontë has dropped Masonic words into a paragraph that leads into Lockwood providing a description of himself. I wondered if there might be more clues in his admission of unworthiness. He explains that he met a woman but treated her badly. One of the lines reads, "If looks have language, the merest idiot might have guessed I was over head and ears." The words, "looks have language" made me think, should I look at the language. I reread the sentence: "the merest idiot might have guessed" . . . what? Look at the language and you should be able to guess what's being said. That's how I interpreted it. I also thought the saying "over head and ears" was an odd one. Wasn't it "head over heels"? I later learned that this saying is correct and means that Lockwood was out of his depth, in too deep with this woman. If I had known that the saying was right, I would never have lingered on this sentence, but I thought it bore closer scrutiny, so I read the sentence again as this:

"Look at the language because an idiot should see that I" . . . am what? The next thought was that perhaps the group of words "was over head and ears" was an anagram, so I began trying to decipher it. Within a short time, I had found the words rove as dead Earnshaw. In the novel, Catherine Earnshaw Linton has been dead several years when Lockwood arrives at Wuthering Heights, so I thought this anagram might be accurate, but what did it mean? Why was there an anagram hidden in the sentence? I decided to search the rest of the paragraph for more. A little while later I had uncovered a treasure trove of anagrams embedded in the paragraph. In fact, the whole paragraph is a great, long anagram that tells an amazing secret story that runs through the novel. This anagram and many, many others are outlined and explained in Charlotte Brontë's Thunder. What a day that was!

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