Monday, September 19, 2011

An Anagram in Wuthering Heights

As I explained in the blog entry below, I had found an anagram in the paragraph in chapter one where Lockwood breaks from his description of Wuthering Heights to reflect on his insensitivity. He tells the reader about an incident at the seashore: “While enjoying a month of fine weather at the sea-coast, I was thrown into the company of a most fascinating creature, a real goddess, in my eyes, as long as she took no notice of me.  I ‘never told my love’ vocally; still, if looks have language, the merest idiot might have guessed I was over head and ears: she understood me, at last, and looked a return--the sweetest of all imaginable looks--and what did I do?  I confess it with shame--shrunk icily into myself, like a snail, at every glance retired colder and farther; till; finally, the poor innocent was led to doubt her own senses, and, overwhelmed with confusion at her supposed mistake, persuaded her mamma to decamp.”
Each phrase produced an anagram (words in italics) that, when put together, tells an alternate story 'behind' his narrative. Apparently, a mother ghost (the dead Earnshaw mentioned in the earlier blog entry) has returned to the farmhouse to free her daughter (Cathy Linton) from a wolf man who has secured (or rooked) the property illegally from the natural heir Hareton Earnshaw. The mother pretends to seek a loan which will allow her to see where the man keeps his documents. For instance the line "Still if looks have language" is an anagram for Legal goal is save folk in hut. And "She understood me, / at last, / and looked a return" becomes Rude lout rooked Hareton. End madness at last. One or two words contained within two commas like "at last" always remain the same in Brontë's anagrams. "The sweetest of all imaginable looks" is an anagram for See illegal sheets. Wolf man took bait. They continue: "Shrunk icily into myself like a snail" becomes Sulk only if arsenic in my tea. He kills. "At every glance retired colder and farther" becomes Clever, cried need; try hard, get loan. After, and "Till finally the poor innocent / was led to doubt her own senses" becomes an anagram that continues from the previous line that ends with the word after: free ill Cathy Linton. In on plot. Unbolts door. Sweet, needs wash. The rest of the anagram is described in chapter thirty-two of Charlotte Brontë's Thunder along with hundreds more inside the novels and correspondence that are explored in other chapters of my book. My hope is that readers will find the anagrams fascinating and informative.
Biographical information supports the anagrams and, when read in the context of the entire book, they help clarify the mysteries circulating round this famous family. They also reveal the truth about Charlotte's relationship with her French professor M. Heger.  

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