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Study Guide by Course Hero

What's Inside Wuthering Heights is told in past tense.


j Book Basics ................................................................................................. 1 Wuthering Heights is the name of the Yorkshire estate on
which much of the novel's action takes place. Wuthering is an
d In Context ..................................................................................................... 1 adjective that refers to turbulent weather created by strong
winds that accompany storms. Wuthering Heights signifies the
a Author Biography ..................................................................................... 3
symbolic winds that batter and twist characters in the novel as
h Characters .................................................................................................. 4 they vie to maintain their privilege, wealth, and ancient family
estates, or endure suffering at the hands of other characters.
k Plot Summary ............................................................................................. 8

c Chapter Summaries .............................................................................. 14

g Quotes ........................................................................................................ 43 d In Context

l Symbols ..................................................................................................... 45

m Themes ....................................................................................................... 47 The Victorian Era

e Suggested Reading ............................................................................. 48 The Victorian era began with Queen Victoria's coronation in
1837 when Emily Brontë was 15 years old. Those who lived in
the Victorian age had a strong sense of social responsibility
toward the poor and lower classes, and artists and innovative
j Book Basics thinkers often believed it was their duty to be a good example,
which in some ways caused the Victorian age to later be
AUTHOR described as "prudish," "repressed," and "old-fashioned." Since
Emily Brontë the period lasted until 1901, many innovations and historical
changes took place philosophically and politically throughout.
YEAR PUBLISHED For example, workers' unions bloomed, and later in the period,
1847 Darwinism and Freud's theories revolutionized beliefs about
the individual. Emily Brontë, however, came of age in the earlier
part of the Victorian era. Although institutional Christianity was
beginning to be called into question on a large scale, mass
PERSPECTIVE AND NARRATOR society still abided by religious sentiments and strict social
There are two central narrators in Wuthering Heights. One is codes. Women were expected to obey their husbands;
framed, or nested, inside the other. Mr. Lockwood initially respectability and sexual propriety were the goals, and anyone
narrates the novel, and Mrs. Dean relates a large portion of the who did not follow the implicit rules was criticized or
story to him within Lockwood's narration. Both narrators use a ostracized. The oppressive morality of the time affected Emily
first-person point of view. Brontë's upbringing, and it caused Wuthering Heights to be
Wuthering Heights Study Guide In Context 2

initially received unfavorably by critics and the public, for

defying the expectations of the time. Consumption
Life expectancy in Victorian England was around 40 years,

Social Class based on location, profession, and social class. Consumption,

another name for tuberculosis, was prevalent throughout the
1800s, killing one in five people. The symptoms included
There was increasing tension among social classes in England
fevers, a hoarse throat, coughing blood, and chest pains. The
during Brontë's lifetime. The Industrial Revolution, which began
disease often lingered for years as the patient wasted away,
in the 1770s, was in full swing, and the middle class was
which explains Heathcliff's horrified reaction to Cathy's
growing. However, an upper class of nonworking landowners
appearance before her death. Pregnancy was believed to
living off inherited or invested money, such as the fictional
worsen consumption, but women with the disease were still
Earnshaws or Lintons, still thrived, and subscribed to a strict
expected to maintain domestic life and produce heirs. In the
division between classes. Servants were considered
early 1800s, before the disease was known to be infectious,
underlings, there to do the bidding of their masters, and they
there was a romantic perception that consumption elevated
were expected to know their place and stay there. Nor was
the soul and cultivated artistic sensibilities.
earning one's money a guarantee of attaining higher social
status. Land and property were generally inherited from one
generation to the next. The upper classes preferred to marry
within their ranks to ensure the "purity" of their social class. The Role of Women
Marrying up or down the social ladder, as Isabella Linton does
with the lower-class Heathcliff, could lead to scandal and even The laws of ownership and inheritance of land for women at

exile. When Heathcliff pursues his vendetta against the Lintons the time depicted in the novel and during Brontë's life are

and the Earnshaws by acquiring their estates, he deprives the accurately portrayed in Wuthering Heights. Upon marriage, the

families of properties they held for generations. control of any property or other financial assets belonged by
law to a woman's husband. Divorce was virtually unheard of,
and women were often placed in a position of dependency on

Gypsies their husbands for life.

In addition, women were expected to downplay their sexuality,

Heathcliff is looked upon as an inferior outsider by many being chaste before marriage, then wholesome and maternal
characters in the novel due to his dark hair and eyes, a sign of once they married. However Cathy acts with authority and
his supposed Gypsy origins. This is typical of romanticized control over Heathcliff, and although there are no sex scenes
notions about Gypsies during the Victorian period. The between Cathy and Heathcliff in the novel, their fiery,
Gypsies, or Roma, had arrived in England from India around the passionate exchanges, especially when Cathy is married to
early 16th century. They were nomadic traders, entertainers, or another man, would have been enough to scandalize Victorian
seasonal workers who traveled in caravans and, with the readers.
development of England's roads, were often seen in cities and
towns throughout England. They were viewed with fascination
both because they were seen as foreigners and because their
nomadic lifestyle was so far outside of typical Victorian social
Literary Context
norms. However, Brontë leaves Heathcliff's true ethnic origin
Wuthering Heights was a unique novel for its time and still
unknown. Heathcliff is not necessarily a gypsy; he is only
resists attempts to fit it neatly into a specific literary genre.
labeled as such by the other characters, which is more a
Instead the novel is its own creature, a hybrid that combines
testament to the general dislike and stereotyping of Gypsies,
various genres, including romanticism, gothic literature, and
and how anyone not British might be called a Gypsy.

Gothic literature aims to fascinate and terrify readers. It

generally includes grotesque or monstrous characters, violent

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Author Biography 3

or otherwise disturbing events, eerie, elaborate settings (such villainous main characters whose ill-devised schemes and
as crumbling castles or dark, twisted forests), supernatural justifications make them more interesting than a
beings such as ghosts and demons, and disturbing imagery conventional hero
such as dripping daggers or broken mirrors. Characters in Villain: Acts as the antagonist of the main character;
gothic literature frequently transgress traditional social typically embodies evil or negative forces
boundaries or categories, such as the living and the dead Romantic hero: Possesses boundless energy and desire to
(Frankenstein), animal and human, or traditional male and force the world to bend to their individualism
female roles. Wuthering Heights with its violent characters and
events, and stormy moors, displays many of the qualities of the
a Author Biography
Romanticism, which was predominant in a wide variety of
artistic forms, emphasized the power of imagination and Emily Jane Brontë, born July 30, 1818, spent most of her life in
emotion over the rational and scientific and the freedom of the English countryside of Yorkshire. Little is known of her
individual self-expression, which might come in conflict with brief and isolated life. Brontë lived at the Haworth Parsonage,
society. Antihero protagonists, like Heathcliff, were common, where her father, Patrick Brontë, was a curate of the
functioning as a means for rebellion against the calm, harmony, Evangelical strand of the Church of England. Evangelical
and balance associated with classicism. The literary movement Christianity had begun as a movement against spiritual
lasted into the mid-19th century and led to the construction of superficiality believed to exist in the established Church. The
Gothic architecture in cities and a Gothic revival in general. The Methodist Church had separated from the Church of England
genius, sublime qualities of nature, and supernatural were before the Brontë children were born, and like their father, the
lauded in Romanticism. Wordsworth's "The spontaneous Brontës scorned Baptists and Methodists, who are mocked in
overflow of powerful feelings" was the motto. The spirit of Wuthering Heights.
Wuthering Heights with its powerful and evocative natural
The Yorkshire that Emily grew up in was an isolated, rural
imagery and fanciful and sometimes irrational leanings
place. Her mother died when Emily was just three years old.
embodies the genre.
Two of Emily's elder sisters also died during her childhood.
Characters and events in Wuthering Heights are typical of Four Brontë siblings remained: Emily, Charlotte, Anne, and
gothic and romantic literature, but the novel also falls in the Branwell, all within a year or two of each other in age. The
genre of realism. Its focus on the manipulation of property and Brontë family life was most likely warmhearted and the
marriage, the death of numerous characters from children's studies, religious exploration, and theatrical leanings
consumption, the prejudice against Heathcliff, and the struggle encouraged. Although a curate, Patrick Brontë was generally
of Cathy and Heathcliff against the strictures of class and against religious indoctrination of children and adults, and the
society are rooted in painful realities of the Victorian era. love of God was given more weight than the fear of hell.
According to Charlotte Brontë, Emily, like her father,
In Wuthering Heights Brontë manipulates conventional story wholeheartedly believed in a merciful Godhead and a blissful
elements and explores established ideas about heroes and life after death.
villains. By shifting characters' roles throughout the novel and
employing two narrators, she, at times, misleads readers and The children were schooled almost entirely at home and
thwarts their expectations. It is helpful to be familiar with a few became each other's closest companions and playmates. One
basic hero conventions when reading Wuthering Heights. of their pastimes was inventing elaborate, highly detailed
imaginary worlds, each with its own characters and storylines,
Conventional hero: Displays characteristics of goodness which they turned into tiny, handwritten books. The pastime did
and virtue, such as bravery, courage, honesty, and integrity not end with their childhoods, however: all four would become
Antihero: A protagonist lacking in heroic qualities; typically writers.
possesses both qualities of good and evil, and is often the
second most important character The Brontë family was not wealthy, and Emily, along with her
Gothic villain-hero/villain-hero/Satanic-hero: All evil-type siblings, had to find work. All of them attempted to become
teachers or tutors, but Emily, who was by nature introspective,

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Characters 4

sensitive, and willful, particularly struggled with the grueling one of the primary works of Gothic fiction in English literature,
hours and harsh standard of behavior that was expected of with its combination of romance, horror, feverish passion, and
teachers, eventually giving up on it. Nonetheless, the Brontë death, and still has the power to shock readers. Heathcliff and
siblings all spurred each other to complete writing projects and Cathy are often cited among the greatest lovers in literature.
seek publication. It was Branwell, the only son, who was The novel's power has prompted numerous adaptations for
expected to achieve literary fame, but he published a handful film and television.
of poems and then sank into obscurity, becoming an alcoholic
and opium addict.

In 1845 his three sisters joined forces to publish a book of

h Characters
poems. Women writers were uncommon, so the Brontë sisters
posed as men to seek publication under the male pseudonyms
Currier, Ellis, and Acton Bell. Emily Brontë had been Heathcliff
discouraged in her writing career by her teacher, Robert
Southey, who admitted she had poetic ability and a mind for The antihero of Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff's story begins
logic, but believed that literature was not a suitable endeavor when Mr. Earnshaw returns from a trip to Liverpool and
for a woman. Charlotte later wrote that "we did not like to introduces the homeless boy he found on the street to his
declare ourselves women because—without at that time children, Hindley and Cathy. Mr. Earnshaw names the boy
suspecting that our mode of writing and thinking was not what Heathcliff after a son who died, and he favors the orphan over
is called 'feminine'—we had a vague impression that his own son, Hindley, who comes to loathe Heathcliff, while
authoresses are liable to be looked on with prejudice." Heathcliff and Cathy become inseparable. When old Mr.
Earnshaw dies, Hindley, now master of Wuthering Heights,
The sisters' book of poems sold very few copies, but their luck
forces Heathcliff to become a servant, enduring humiliation,
changed when they began writing novels. Charlotte produced
physical violence, and degradation. Heathcliff and Cathy are in
Jane Eyre, Emily penned Wuthering Heights, and Anne wrote
love, but when Cathy chooses to marry Edgar Linton, a wealthy
Agnes Grey. All three novels were accepted for publication in
neighbor, Heathcliff runs away, only to return three years later
1847, again under the male pseudonyms of the Bells. Jane Eyre
as a handsome, wealthy gentleman. However, while he appears
was an immediate success, and Agnes Grey also sold well.
more gentrified on the surface, Heathcliff is secretly plotting
However, Wuthering Heights was neither a commercial nor a
revenge on the Earnshaw and Linton families. When Cathy dies
critical success. Its first reviewers recognized Emily Brontë's
in childbirth, all that Heathcliff seems to have left is his thirst
extraordinary talent but criticized the book for being shocking
for revenge, an obsession that shapes his character
and repugnant, full of immoral and dislikable characters. One
throughout much of the rest of the novel. Treated cruelly by
critic (who assumed the novel's author was male) wondered
Hindley then devastated by Cathy's death, Heathcliff becomes
that the author did not kill himself before completing the novel,
a master of cruelty himself, treating others as pawns in his
due to its violent, tortured content.
game of vengeance and creating pain and terror wherever he
Wuthering Heights would be Emily Brontë's only novel. Her goes. When Heathcliff recognizes the growing love between
brother Branwell died of tuberculosis in September 1848 at Hareton and Catherine, his resolution to exact his revenge
age 31. Emily died of the same disease on December 19, 1848, finally falters. Hopelessly haunted by his love for Cathy, he
at age 30. Tuberculosis would claim her twenty-nine-year-old gives up his final plan for revenge and embraces death in order
sister Anne, who died in 1849, as well. to reunite with her.

After Emily Brontë's death, her sister Charlotte wrote a

biographical note and introduction for a new edition of Cathy
Wuthering Heights in 1850, clarifying its authorship, as some
critics and readers believed the book to be an earlier attempt Heathcliff's best childhood friend and true love, Cathy is also
by Charlotte. often peevish and selfish. She goes mad from events that
result from her decision to go against her heart and soul and
Today, Wuthering Heights is considered a masterpiece. It is

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Characters 5

choose Edgar Linton over Heathcliff. She dies very young while from their cruel neighbor's attempts to exact revenge and take
giving birth to her only daughter, Catherine, and her memory ownership of Thrushcross Grange. Edgar fails to do so, and he
and ghost haunt Heathcliff for the rest of his life, as he seeks dies unable to prevent Heathcliff from carrying out his plan for
revenge for all the wrongs inflicted upon him in their childhood. revenge.

Catherine Hareton
Catherine is a kind, sweet, even-tempered child and young Hareton's mother dies at birth, and his father is eaten alive by
woman, unlike her mother, Cathy. She lives a sheltered grief. As a result, Hareton falls into Heathcliff's clutches and is
childhood with her father, Edgar, at Thrushcross Grange. unknowingly turned against his father and all the trappings of
However, when she meets her cousin Hareton, she despises upper class society. He lives a simple life, completely unaware
him for being an uneducated servant. She falls in love instead he is brutish and should have been raised as a gentleman.
with her sickly, bookish cousin, Linton, who betrays her when Meeting Catherine arouses a desire to be such a man, but her
his father, Heathcliff, threatens him. Linton and Catherine mockery of his attempts at self-improvement drive him further
marry, and Catherine is forced to care for him as Linton dies away from the norms of society and educational pursuits. He
soon after. With her inheritance stolen from her by Heathcliff, gives up and acts as if he despises Catherine. When fate, or
Catherine remains at Wuthering Heights until intense Heathcliff's revenge, forces him and Catherine to live at
loneliness causes her to seek her cousin Hareton's Wuthering Heights together, Hareton gives in when she asks to
companionship. While teaching him to read and write, the two reconcile with him. The girl he has always loved and admired
cousins fall in love. Upon Heathcliff's death, rightful ownership teaches him to read and write, and they fall in love. When
of Wuthering Heights and Thruschcross Grange are restored Heathcliff dies, Wuthering Heights is restored to Hareton, its
to Hareton and Catherine. rightful owner.

Mrs. Dean Hindley

Mrs. Dean is the main narrator of Wuthering Heights as she Hindley is the true villain of Wuthering Heights. His jealousy
tells the long, involved history of Heathcliff to Mr. Lockwood. and malice drive him to physical violence and degradation of
Mrs. Dean grows up with Cathy, Hindley, and Heathcliff, as a Heathcliff, which spawns Heathcliff and Cathy's thwarted love
foster-sister and servant. Her foster-sister status dissolves and and spurs Heathcliff's destructive plans for revenge. Hindley
changes solely to the role of servant, but she remains a caring, aids in his self-destruction by renouncing God when his wife
important, confidant to Cathy throughout her marriage to dies and becoming a careless alcoholic and abusive father. He
Edgar, and she helps raise Hareton and, later, Catherine from loses Wuthering Heights, his son Hareton's love, and his son's
birth. More than just a servant, she plays the role of mother, inheritance to Heathcliff.
protector, judge, and conscience to all the major characters in
the novel.

Edgar is a snobbish boy who grows up to be a kind-spirited
gentleman as an adult and, later, master of Thrushcross
Grange. He marries Cathy and remains devoted to her.
However, due to a physical fight with Heathcliff after a fit of
jealousy, he aids in Cathy's demise. Fearful of Heathcliff after
Cathy's death, Edgar seeks to protect his daughter, Catherine,

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Characters 6

Character Map

Vengeful, obsessive antihero

Enemies Enemies

Hindley Obsessed Edgar

Villainous gentleman Lovers Kind gentleman


Father Angry spirit haunting


Hareton Mrs. Dean

Romantic hero Earnshaw servant; narrator


Romantic heroine

Main Character

Other Major Character

Minor Character

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Characters 7

Full Character List Mrs.

Mrs. Earnshaw, Cathy and Hindley's
mother, dislikes Heathcliff and ignores
Hindley's abuse of him.
Character Description
Mr. Green is Edgar's lawyer, who takes a
bribe from Heathcliff and doesn't make it
Heathcliff, who later becomes obsessed
Mr. Green to Edgar's bedside in time to fix the will
Heathcliff with Cathy and revenge, is a brooding
and protect Catherine from Heathcliff's
child adopted into the Earnshaw family.
plan to own Thrushcross Grange.

Cathy Earnshaw is a passionate,

Edgar Linton's sister, Isabella falls in love
headstrong young woman, torn between
Cathy with Heathcliff, who does not return her
her need for social status and her love
Isabella love but uses her to exact revenge on
for Heathcliff.
the Linton family. She and Heathcliff
have a son, Linton.
Catherine, the daughter of Cathy and
Edgar Linton, evolves past her mother's
Catherine Joseph is a cruel and angry Wuthering
stubbornness to become a well-​rounded
Heights servant, who stirs up trouble and
romantic heroine. Joseph
mean-​spiritedness by moralizing and
Ellen Dean, a servant who has spent
most of her life working for the
Kenneth is the family doctor of both the
Earnshaws, is the primary narrator, who Kenneth
Mrs. Dean Earnshaw and Linton households.
tells the history of Heathcliff, Cathy,
Catherine, and Hareton to Mr. Lockwood
while he is convalescing from an illness. Linton inherits weakness and cruelty, the
worse characteristics of both of his
parents, Isabella and Heathcliff. He dies a
The son of Mr. and Mrs. Linton, who
terrible death at a young age.
Edgar becomes Cathy Earnshaw's husband and
the father of their daughter, Catherine.
Mr. Linton is Edgar and Isabella's father.
He hates Heathcliff, accuses him of
Hareton, the son of Hindley and Frances
Mr. Linton being a thief, and refuses to
Earnshaw, evolves past a lifetime of
Hareton acknowledge his acceptance into the
abuse and neglect to become a romantic
Earnshaw family.

Mrs. Linton is Edgar and Isabella's

Hindley is the eldest Earnshaw child,
mother. Like Mr. Linton, she rejects
Cathy's brother, who is jealous of his Mrs. Linton
Heathcliff and refuses to acknowledge
father's affection toward Heathcliff. He
Hindley his acceptance into the Earnshaw family.
turns into an alcoholic gambler. He is the
father of Hareton by marriage to Frances
Earnshaw. Mr. Lockwood is one of the novel's two
Mr. narrators. He comes from the city and
Lockwood rents Thrushcross Grange from
Frances Earnshaw, Hindley's wife, has a
bubbly and optimistic personality. When
she dies from consumption, Hindley
never emotionally recovers. They have a Michael is a servant in the stables at
son together, Hareton. Thrushcross Grange. He helps Catherine
sneak out to see Linton when she is a
Mr. Earnshaw is the family patriarch, who
Mr. wreaks havoc on his progeny by bringing
Earnshaw Heathcliff into the family. He is Cathy and
Hindley's father.

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Plot Summary 8

children, Isabella and Edgar, curious to see how they live. A

Zillah is a servant at Wuthering Heights.
She knows Hareton and Catherine since dog bites Cathy, and the children are caught. The Lintons take
Zillah they were children, and she works for Cathy in but send Heathcliff home, rejecting him because of his
them and against them at different times lower class status and "gipsy" background. When Cathy
throughout the novel.
returns five weeks later, she has transformed into an upper-
class woman, with proper manners and elegant clothes. She
and Heathcliff become distant as Cathy and Edgar grow

k Plot Summary closer. Cathy accepts Edgar's marriage proposal even though
she confesses her deep love for Heathcliff to Mrs. Dean.
Heathcliff overhears only part of their conversation and runs
In 1801 a gentleman from the city, Mr. Lockwood, rents
away in humiliation. Cathy is distraught over his disappearance.
Thrushcross Grange, an estate located deep in the wild
Three years later, right after Cathy marries Edgar Linton,
English countryside of Yorkshire. He sets out to meet his
Heathcliff returns. He has transformed into a wealthy,
landlord, Heathcliff, who lives at Wuthering Heights, an estate
attractive man with the manners and appearance of a
across the moors. Intrigued by the odd behavior of the
residents at Wuthering Heights, who appear to have no
respect for social customs, Mr. Lockwood returns the next day, Heathcliff has returned to wreak revenge for all the wrongs
arriving as it begins to snow. The weather forces Mr. done to him in childhood. Hindley's wife has died, leaving him to
Lockwood to spend the night there in a bedroom, which turns raise their child, Hareton. Hindley has cursed God and become
out to be haunted by a ghost named Cathy. Mr. Lockwood's an abusive alcoholic. Through gambling with Hindley, Heathcliff
screams bring Heathcliff into the room. Strangely, Heathcliff takes control of Wuthering Heights and manipulates Hareton
cries out for Cathy's ghost to come inside. to love him more than his own father.

The next morning Mr. Lockwood makes his way through the Heathcliff visits Cathy at Thrushcross Grange, and they
snow back to Thrushcross Grange. Struck with an illness become close friends again, confessing love for each other,
requiring him to stay in bed, Mr. Lockwood draws Mrs. Dean, a but also respecting Cathy's marriage to Edgar. All seems well
servant, into telling Heathcliff's life story. Having served at until Edgar's sister, Isabella, develops a one-sided crush on
Wuthering Heights since childhood, Mrs. Dean eagerly Heathcliff, who uses her to wreak revenge on Edgar for his
launches into the tale, beginning when Heathcliff is first childhood snobbery. Heathcliff marries Isabella and spitefully
brought home by Mr. Earnshaw from a trip to Liverpool. Mr. abuses and degrades her. Cathy is driven to madness when
Earnshaw has found the homeless orphan boy on the street Heathcliff is forbidden to visit her because of a fight between
there, taken him to Wuthering Heights, and named him him and Edgar. Pregnant with Edgar's child, Cathy fades into
Heathcliff after his son who died. In Mrs. Dean's narration, Mr. gloom and darkness. She and Heathcliff have one last
Earnshaw's wife and children, Cathy and Hindley, despise passionate meeting in which they berate each other for not
Heathcliff immediately for being a dark-haired "gipsy" with an staying together. Cathy dies later that night after giving birth to
ill-natured temperament. her daughter, Catherine.

Mr. Earnshaw's favoritism toward Heathcliff drives Hindley to Soon after Cathy's death, Isabella runs away and has
violence and hatred, but Cathy and Heathcliff become friends, Heathcliff's baby. She raises their son, Linton, alone, near
running wild on the moors and playing and studying together. London. Edgar raises Catherine alone at Thrushcross Grange.
Hindley is sent to college but returns with a wife when his Hindley dies, and Heathcliff raises Hareton alone at Wuthering
father dies. As new master of Wuthering Heights he uses his Heights. Continuing his vengeance even after Hindley's death,
power to turn Heathcliff into a servant, but Cathy shares her Heathcliff raises Hareton to be an uneducated servant instead
studies with Heathcliff, and they continue to play together on of an upper-class gentleman according to his station, forcing
the moors. on Hareton the degrading existence that Hindley forced on
Heathcliff as a young man.
One night Cathy and Heathcliff sneak over to Thrushcross
Grange to spy on the wealthy, blond and blue-eyed Linton As a child, Catherine meets Hareton one day when they are

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Plot Summary 9

both out on the moors, and their dogs fight. Catherine likes
Hareton until she finds out that he is a servant and her cousin.
When Catherine is almost thirteen, Isabella dies, and Linton
comes to live at Thrushcross Grange, but Heathcliff demands
to raise his own son and forces Linton to live at Wuthering
Heights. Linton is a sickly, pampered child. Heathcliff uses him
to gain control of Thrushcross Grange as Edgar is dying by
forcing Linton and Catherine to marry. Soon after their
marriage, Catherine nurses Linton as he dies.

Afterward, she and Hareton, whom Catherine has always

despised, finally become friends. Haunted by Cathy's memory
for eighteen years, Heathcliff loses his will to live and declines
into an early death; he is found lying beside an open window in
his room as the rain pours in. Heathcliff fails to deliver the final
blow to make his revenge complete. Catherine and Hareton
regain their estates, Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering
Heights respectively. As Mr. Lockwood finds out, they are now
free, have fallen in love, and plan to marry.

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Plot Summary 10

Plot Diagram



Falling Action

Rising Action 8

6 14



9. Heathcliff takes control of Linton to continue his revenge.

10. Heathcliff makes Linton and Catherine marry; Linton dies.

1. Mr. Lockwood sees Cathy's ghost at Wuthering Heights.


Rising Action 11. Heathcliff dies without completing his revenge.

2. Heathcliff is adopted into the Earnshaw family.

3. Hindley forces Heathcliff to become a servant.

Falling Action
4. Heathcliff runs away because Cathy says something mean.
12. Mr. Lockwood returns; Catherine owns Thrushcross
5. Heathcliff returns to take revenge. Grange.

6. Heathcliff and Edgar's fight causes Cathy's illness. 13. Catherine and Hareton become friends and fall in love.

7. Heathcliff marries Isabella. 14. How Heathcliff dies is revealed to Mr. Lockwood.

8. Cathy dies and Isabella leaves.

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Plot Summary 11


15. Catherine and Hareton will marry on New Year's Day.

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Plot Summary 12

Timeline of Events


Mr. Earnshaw brings Heathcliff to Wuthering Heights.


Cathy and Heathcliff spy on the Lintons, and Cathy is

bitten by a dog.


Edgar proposes and Heathcliff runs away, causing

Cathy's first illness.


Cathy marries Edgar and Heathcliff returns to Wuthering


Ten months later

Edgar and Heathcliff fight and Cathy becomes ill.

A few days later

Isabella runs away and marries Heathcliff.

March 1784

Cathy dies while giving birth to Catherine.

March 1800

Catherine discovers Linton lives at Wuthering Heights.

August 1801

Heathcliff forces Catherine to marry Linton while Edgar

is dying.

Winter 1801

Mr. Lockwood rents Thrushcross Grange and sees

Cathy's ghost at Wuthering Heights.

September 1802

Mr. Lockwood learns Heathcliff is dead and Catherine

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Plot Summary 13

and Hareton plan to wed on New Year's Day.

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Chapter Summaries 14

wish to avoid other people, as Mr. Lockwood claims he does,

c Chapter Summaries this is the place to be. Mr. Lockwood imagines a sympathy of
emotion between himself and Heathcliff, but his shallow
flirtation will stand in stark contrast to Heathcliff's deep love.

Chapter 1 Property is power in the Victorian period, and Wuthering

Heights will play a central role in the plot. Mr. Lockwood
observes the estate is aptly named "Wuthering ... descriptive of
Summary the atmospheric tumult to which its station is exposed in
stormy weather." The "few stunted firs" and "range of gaunt
In 1801 the narrator, Mr. Lockwood, describes his first visit to thorns" around the house suggest it is not an easy place for
the Wuthering Heights estate located in the English living things to grow or survive. Excessive storms and wind
countryside. He gives only a brief insight into his character in "slant" the trees, which will come to represent the characters
the chapter, explaining that he was once infatuated with a of privilege as they are emotionally battered and twisted by
woman only to lose interest when she returned his affection. violence. Nonetheless, the house has been built to withstand
Mr. Lockwood has just met his new landlord, Heathcliff, owner whatever wild weather it encounters. The ability or inability to
of both Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange, the estate withstand dangerous, passionate emotions and situations is a
across the moors Mr. Lockwood has rented. At the main central issue throughout the novel.
entrance, Mr. Lockwood sees "a wilderness of crumbling
griffins and shameless little boys" carved above the door, along Mr. Lockwood's choice of the word station is significant,
with the date "1500" and the name "Hareton Earnshaw." connoting social class, an issue that concerns multiple
characters as they struggle to maintain or shift their stations in
Mr. Lockwood describes Heathcliff as "a dark-skinned gipsy in society. Mr. Lockwood immediately notices Heathcliff's
aspect, in dress and manners a gentleman." Then Mr. complicated social position; his skin color is at odds with his
Lockwood notices a dog and her puppies. When he pets the dress and manners.
dog, she growls at him, and Heathcliff warns, "She's not
accustomed to be spoiled—not kept for a pet." Left alone in the Symbolic animals make an important appearance in this
kitchen, Mr. Lockwood makes faces at the mother dog and two chapter. When Mr. Lockwood attempts to pet a dog and its
sheepdogs that appear. The dogs attack him, bringing even puppies in the kitchen, assuming that they, like most domestic
more dogs from other areas of the house that nip at his heels dogs, are tame pets, he quickly learns that his conventional
and pull on his coat. Heathcliff and two servants, Joseph and expectations will not help him to understand the inhabitants of
Zillah, have to rescue Mr. Lockwood from the dogs. Mr. Wuthering Heights.
Lockwood is angry about the attack, but Heathcliff scolds him
instead of apologizing, saying, "The dogs do right to be
vigilant." Chapter 2
Heathcliff offers wine to calm Mr. Lockwood. They make small
talk about the rental property, and Mr. Lockwood mentions
wanting to visit the next day. Heathcliff does not extend an
invitation, but Mr. Lockwood decides to visit anyway.
Mr. Lockwood sets out across the moors toward Wuthering
Heights, arriving just as it begins to snow. Finding the garden
gate locked, he jumps over it. Mr. Lockwood pounds on the
Analysis door, but no one answers. Finally, a young man (Hareton) sees
Mr. Lockwood and brings him in through the kitchen where he
In Wuthering Heights, the setting reflects the characters'
meets "Mrs. Heathcliff" (Catherine). Everyone is rude to Mr.
violent emotions. Mr. Lockwood, one of the book's narrators,
Lockwood, who now believes that Heathcliff has "a genuine
claims the bleak, isolated, and brooding Yorkshire countryside
bad nature." No one will help Mr. Lockwood back to
is a "perfect misogynist's heaven." For those who dislike and
Thrushcross Grange, although it is now dark and snowing

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Chapter Summaries 15

heavily, so he grabs a lantern to find his own way home. childhood with Heathcliff. She details her brother Hindley's
Joseph accuses him of stealing the lantern and commands the domineering mistreatment of them (he is especially hard on
dogs to attack. The dogs knock Mr. Lockwood over, and his Heathcliff, whom he exiles from family life) and the servant
yelling and screaming give him a nosebleed, at which Heathcliff Joseph's insistence on force-feeding them the Bible. She
laughs. Finally, Heathcliff allows Mr. Lockwood to spend the describes how Heathcliff is waiting to sneak out at night to the
night at Wuthering Heights. moors with her as soon as she finishes writing in her diary.

After reading the stories, Mr. Lockwood falls asleep and has
Analysis two terrible nightmares. In the first nightmare, Joseph
chastises Mr. Lockwood for not having a pilgrim's staff and
A typical Victorian gentleman, Mr. Lockwood expects to be hands him a weapon instead. They pass the Gimmerton chapel,
welcomed at Wuthering Heights with customary hospitality and which looks as it does in real life, run down and without a
good manners. He gradually realizes, however, that the clergyman; but in the dream, a famous preacher, Jabez
inhabitants of Wuthering Heights live by their own set of rules, Branderham, preaches to a full congregation. Inside the chapel
and his reliance on traditional social expectations fails and bored by the sermon, Mr. Lockwood, the dreamer,
miserably. True to his era, he expects a beautiful woman like "pinches" and "pricks" himself to stay awake when "a sudden
Catherine to be the "angel in the house," a sweet, domestic inspiration ... to denounce Jabez Branderham" seizes him.
goddess who is kind and welcoming, but Catherine is none of "Fellow-martyrs, have at him!" Mr. Lockwood cries out, but the
these things. congregation attacks Mr. Lockwood, not Jabez Branderham.
Having no weapon now, Mr. Lockwood wrestles Joseph for his
In Wuthering Heights, the social world Mr. Lockwood knows is weapon. The members of the congregation brawl with each
turned upside down. Mr. Lockwood's own social niceties begin other as the preacher taps loudly on the "boards of the pulpit,"
to give way as he finds himself in a hostile environment, and the sounds wake Mr. Lockwood up. He realizes that a fir
introducing the novel's theme of cyclical violence—in other tree branch scraping against the window has created all the
words, how violence creates violent people. Mr. Lockwood noise in his dream.
becomes increasingly angry in response to the "disagreeable"
companions who do not pretend social civility (as he does), In the second nightmare, Mr. Lockwood remembers the fir tree
check their violent tendencies, or care to be seen as helpful or banging against the window, so he breaks through the glass to
sociable. In this way, he is the embodiment of artificial, rational silence the annoying scraping sounds. However, instead of a
society. But Wuthering Heights infects Mr. Lockwood with its tree branch, Mr. Lockwood's "fingers closed on the fingers of a
own dark energy, reducing him to screeching like an angry little ice-cold hand." He hears a voice sobbing, "Let me in—Let
lunatic by the end of the chapter. me in," so he asks, "Who are you?" The ghost tells him she is
Catherine Linton. The ghost refuses to let go, and when she
finally does, Mr. Lockwood piles the books against the window

Chapter 3 and closes his eyes in terror. The books jump a bit on the
ledge, and that causes him to wake up screaming.

Heathcliff enters the bedroom. When he discovers Mr.

Summary Lockwood is sleeping there, he threatens to kick Zillah out of
the house for defying him. Mr. Lockwood tells Heathcliff about
Zillah, a servant at Wuthering Heights, leads Mr. Lockwood to a his dream and refers to Cathy as "a little fiend" and "a wicked
bedroom Heathcliff never allows anyone to sleep in. Mr. little soul." Heathcliff is enraged, and Mr. Lockwood remembers
Lockwood takes his candle into the bedroom cabinet (a bed reading in Cathy's diary that they were good friends in their
inside of a closet) and finds a woman's name, Catherine, youth. Heathcliff then cries passionately for Cathy, opening the
etched repeatedly on the window ledge, with variations on window to let her spirit in.
three different last names—Heathcliff, Linton, and Earnshaw.
He also finds Cathy's diary and some notes she has written in The next morning, Mr. Lockwood refuses breakfast, desiring to
the margins of old books. In the diary, Cathy writes about her leave as soon as possible. Heathcliff walks him through the

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Chapter Summaries 16

snow partway to Thrushcross Grange, leaving Mr. Lockwood will be rooted in the story of his childhood and relationship with
to find the rest of his way home by himself. After sinking in Cathy.
snowdrifts up to his neck and losing his way several times, he
arrives soaking wet and exhausted.
Chapter 4
Mr. Lockwood's nightmare and Cathy's first appearance as a
ghost in the novel raise questions: Who is Cathy? How did she
Back at Thrushcross Grange, Mr. Lockwood finds out that Mrs.
die? Did she indeed have three last names, signifying two
Dean, a servant, has lived there for eighteen years and knows
marriages? She terrifies Lockwood who thinks she is demonic.
about Heathcliff and Cathy's past. He entices her to keep him
From her first appearance in the novel, Cathy's identity is
company and gossip about their neighbors at Wuthering
fragmented, foreshadowing how she will be associated with
Heights. Mr. Lockwood really wants to find out more about
shifting identities and allegiances as she is torn between her
family, her husband's family, and Heathcliff.
Mrs. Dean begins at the point in the past when Heathcliff, a
Cathy's appearance as a ghost adds another Gothic dimension
homeless orphan, is brought home by Mr. Earnshaw from a trip
to the story. She crosses the boundary between the living and
to Liverpool. Before he leaves for his trip, Mr. Earnshaw asks
the dead. Wuthering Heights is a haunted house both literally
his children, Cathy and Hindley, what gifts they would like him
and metaphorically. Characters throughout the novel are
to bring back from Liverpool. Cathy wants a whip, and Hindley
haunted psychologically by brutal childhoods, lost love, illness,
wants a fiddle. Remembering the young servant in training,
or other factors. Heathcliff's unusual response to Cathy's
Mrs. Dean—called Nelly or Ellen at that time—he promises to
ghostly visitation, for example, demonstrates how deeply she
bring her apples and pears.
haunts his existence years after her death. Cathy's ghost is a
child, suggesting how deeply events in the novel are rooted in a However, Mr. Earnshaw loses the whip, and the fiddle is
traumatic past. crushed on the long walk home with Heathcliff. Exhausted
when he arrives, Mr. Earnshaw says the trip nearly killed him.
Cathy's diary reveals a childhood full of repression, cruelty, and
He tells his family to take Heathcliff as "a gift of God ... though
rebellion that will haunt her and Heathcliff all their lives. These
it's as dark almost as if it came from the devil." Mrs. Earnshaw
incidents cause the children to become allies against their
calls Heathcliff "a gipsy brat," but agrees to take him in. Cathy
cruel mistreatment and against religion. The wild landscape
and Hindley, disappointed at losing their gifts, treat Heathcliff
mirrors the characters' emotions as the children seek an
badly, even spitting on him, but Cathy eventually befriends him,
escape on the moors, where they feel free to be themselves,
and he becomes Mr. Earnshaw's favorite.
unmediated by authority: "We cannot be damper, or colder, in
the rain than we are here." Ellen, the future Mrs. Dean, despises Heathcliff too, until
Hindley, Cathy, and Heathcliff get the measles. Ellen then steps
Mr. Lockwood's first nightmare of enduring a "four hundred
wholly into her position as a servant and cares for the sick
and ninety" part sermon reflects the way in which Cathy and
children. Heathcliff's sweetness during his illness changes her
Heathcliff shunned Joseph's type of religious instruction. It is
feelings toward him. Still, she wonders what Mr. Earnshaw
significant that Mr. Lockwood wrestles Joseph, as the Biblical
loves so much about Heathcliff to favor him over Hindley. Then
character Jacob wrestled with an angel, foreshadowing
she recalls when Mr. Earnshaw bought two horses, one for
religious struggles for many characters.
Hindley and one for Heathcliff. Heathcliff picks "the

Heathcliff succumbs to tears as he begs Cathy's ghost to stay, handsomest," but when it falls lame, he demands Hindley's

rousing pity and compassion in readers even after Mr. horse. Hindly refuses to trade, so Heathcliff picks a fight,

Lockwood has asserted Heathcliff's "genuine bad nature." The provoking Hindley to violence, so he can use his bruises as

explanation for how he came to be so "inhospitable" and angry proof to make Mr. Earnshaw beat Hindley. Hindley gives
Heathcliff the horse, saying, "I pray that he may break your

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Chapter Summaries 17

neck" and calls Heathcliff "imp of Satan." Ellen persuades also a homeless, penniless orphan, the lowest of the low on
Heathcliff to take the horse and not tell on Hindley. Since he Victorian England's social ladder.
takes her advice, she mistakenly believes him "not vindictive."

Chapter 5
The structure of Wuthering Heights changes in Chapter 4,
leaving the present. Through its second narrator, Mrs. Dean, it
dives into the past. Mr. Lockwood's character fades away and
Mr. Earnshaw has taken ill and now sleeps by the fire in the
becomes peripheral to the story. The chapter also establishes
sitting area of Wuthering Heights. Dying has made him irritable,
Mrs. Dean's social status. She quickly corrects herself when
so everyone in the household tries not to bother him. Mr.
she says "us" while referring to the Lintons—a wealthy family
Earnshaw's anger is most stirred when anyone tries to "impose
whose storyline hasn't developed yet. The reader will come to
upon or domineer over" Heathcliff, his favorite. Ellen, Joseph,
learn Mrs. Dean is truly a part of the family, but her station in
and Cathy humor Mr. Earnshaw, and "that humouring was rich
life as a servant prevents her being acknowledged as such by
nourishment to the child's pride and black tempers." Hindley
the other main characters. While the novel largely focuses on
continues to scorn Heathcliff, which invokes his father's rage.
the upper classes, their story is related by a narrator who is a
servant, bringing into question Mrs. Dean's trustworthiness. As The curate suggests Hindley leave for college. Wuthering
the novel progresses, the reader will need to consider Mrs. Heights becomes more peaceful in his absence, but Joseph
Dean's role in the other characters' lives, whether she is an stirs new discord. Constantly "sermonizing," he is relentless in
unreliable narrator, and what her true intentions are at different "worrying [Mr. Earnshaw] about his soul's concerns." He
times as the story unfolds. encourages Mr. Earnshaw to disapprove of Hindley, Heathcliff,
and Cathy in order to gain more influence over the master of
The theme of good versus evil, symbolized by the fiddle and
the estate.
whip, develops in Earnshaw's first words about the young
Heathcliff. Which is Heathcliff, a gift or a curse? Which will Mrs. Dean describes Cathy during this time as putting "all of us
Heathcliff become, good or evil? Is he already evil when he past our patience fifty times and oftener in a day." Cathy is
arrives? Does he turn the Earnshaws toward evil, or do they always "singing, laughing, and plaguing everybody who would
turn him into the bitter, twisted man he eventually becomes? not do the same." At the same time, she praises Cathy's sweet
As this chapter reveals the roots of discord between the main smile and "bonn[y] eye." The stricter Mr. Earnshaw becomes as
characters, it explores the source of Heathcliff's evil—nature or he nears death, the more Cathy "delights in provoking him." Her
nuture? Cathy, already "mischievous" and "wayward," adopts favorite way to bother her father comes through showing him
Heathcliff as a playmate, but not before she and Hindley how Heathcliff does all of her bidding, while he only does Mr.
ridicule and shame him. Is she to blame for Heathcliff's evil Earnshaw's bidding "when it suited his own inclination." This
nature? Hindley, rejected by his own father, who previously leads to Cathy's father rejecting her and telling her, "I cannot
doted and spoiled him with gifts, turns violent against the love thee, thou'rt worse than thy brother."
"usurper." Is Heathcliff truly a usurper at this point? Is Hindley's
violence toward Heathcliff the cause of Heathcliff's later One warm, windy night, Mr. Earnshaw dies. Cathy, Mrs. Dean,
vindictiveness? Heathcliff, described by Mrs. Dean, is a and Heathcliff "wail ... loud and bitter" together. Mrs. Dean must
contradiction from the start: he is a "lamb" with the measles, fetch the doctor. When she returns, seeking solace for herself
yet there is evidence against him: an unknown background and as much as to console the others, she peeps through Cathy
a "sullen" disposition. From the start Heathcliff inspires strong, and Heathcliff's door, but they are calm and do not need her to
opposing reactions of love and hate. console them.

Earnshaw's description of the dark "gipsy" child as demonic

and his wife's outrage at the boy's origins also highlight
stereotypical assumptions about race and class. Heathcliff is

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Chapter Summaries 18

and if they have more freedom, their laughter scares the

Analysis children. Edgar and Isabella, who are in the middle of a fight
over a puppy, practically pulling it apart between them, wake
The theme of pride versus humility develops as readers see
up their parents. Mr. Linton lets out a bulldog, and it bites
the emotional distance between the servants and upper-class
Cathy on the ankle. A servant calls the dog off and brings
characters in the novel. Joseph turns Mr. Earnshaw against
Heathcliff and Cathy into the house. Mr. Linton, at first, thinks
Cathy. Heathcliff's pride increases because he is Mr.
Heathcliff is a thief coming to rob him on rent day. Mrs. Linton
Earnshaw's favorite, as Ellen's place in the house diminishes.
recognizes Cathy and then remembers Mr. Earnshaw adopted
Ellen is sent to fetch the doctor and excluded from finding
Heathcliff. Still, the Lintons dislike Heathcliff and force him to
comfort when she returns even though she is just as upset
return to Wuthering Heights without Cathy.
about Mr. Earnshaw's death as Cathy and Heathcliff. This shift
in status and the characters' differing responses to it heavily
influences their actions later in the story.
Is Cathy good or not, and do Ellen's negative comments
contain a bias against Cathy, whom she also describes as The beginning of the chapter reinforces Cathy and Heathcliff's

liking to sing and laugh? Like Heathcliff, Cathy's character is camaraderie and their vow to "grow up as rude as savages."

full of contradictions. Like Heathcliff, Cathy also suffers deep Out on the moor, they are free both from harsh authority and

rejection. Her father tells her he cannot love her, which from the differences in social status that otherwise would keep

hardens her, but she still kisses his hand and sings to him as he them separate. But by the end of the chapter, Heathcliff must

lies dying. Cathy's father's last words to her are: "Why canst watch from outside, looking through a window, as Cathy enjoys

thou not always be a good lass, Cathy?" In response, she the comforts inside the Linton home. This foreshadows many

laughs and asks why he cannot always be a good man. Cathy future situations in which Heathcliff will be forced to watch

struggles between acting as a "good lass" and being "bold, Cathy lead a life of privilege from which he is excluded. This

saucy" and having her own way. chapter also introduces Edgar and Isabella Linton, who will
play the foils—which is a literary term for when opposites
provide contrast—of Heathcliff and Cathy. Thrushcross Grange

Chapter 6 also acts as a foil, representing social propriety as a contrast

to the wildness and violence found at Wuthering Heights.

Dogs appear at crucial moments throughout the novel, such as

Summary Mr. Lockwood's earlier encounter at Wuthering Heights. The
dogs often appear at moments when a boundary of some kind
Hindley returns from college for Mr. Earnshaw's funeral, is being crossed. For example, a dog bite signals the start of a
surprising the family by bringing home a wife, Frances major shift in Cathy and Heathcliff's relationship. Her injury by
Earnshaw. Hindley's wife dislikes Heathcliff and tries, but fails, the Linton's bulldog immerses Cathy in the upper class society
to bond with Cathy. Hindley, more conscious of status than she shuns yet belongs in. The dog bite also divides her from
ever, "became tyrannical," depriving Heathcliff of further Heathcliff, who is sent home without her because the Linton's
education and forcing him to become a servant working on the disapprove of his "low" status and scowling. In fact, Mr. Linton
estate's farm. Yet, Hindley is also "entirely negligent" in thinks Heathcliff might be better off dead for everyone's sakes.
supervising them, unknowing that Cathy and Heathcliff sneak His assumption is that Heathcliff's appearance foretells his
out to the moors every day. future actions, and they are sure to be bad.

One night, Hindley locks Cathy and Heathcliff out of the house
as punishment for staying out too long. Mrs. Dean waits up for
them, but Heathcliff returns alone. Earlier, Heathcliff and Cathy,
Chapter 7
raced across the moors to spy on their neighbors, the Lintons,
at Thrushcross Grange. As they look through a window,
curious to see how Edgar and Isabella, the Linton children, live

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Chapter Summaries 19

Mrs. Dean interrupts the story to converse with Mr. Lockwood,

Summary who speculates that she seems more thoughtful than her role
as a servant would lead others to believe.
After spending five weeks at Thrushcross Grange with the
Lintons, Cathy returns, transformed into a lady. Her meeting
with Heathcliff is awkward. Cathy is glad to see him, but he
feels ashamed and insulted when she laughs at his "dirty,"
unkempt appearance.
Mrs. Dean is, as Mr. Lockwood rather condescendingly notes,

The Linton family has accepted an invitation for a Christmas wiser than her social status as a servant suggests; she

party at Wuthering Heights with the condition that Heathcliff dispenses sane, constructive advice to Heathcliff, and she is

not attend. The night before the party, Mrs. Dean reflects on kind to him in this chapter, but her advice has to compete with

Old Mr. Earnshaw's fondness for Heathcliff and how no one the terms of the cruel social world, which appears bent on

cares for him now. Feeling guilty, she offers to help dress and rejecting him no matter what he does. Heathcliff wants to clean

clean him, so he can impress Cathy. Heathcliff refuses Mrs. up his appearance to impress Cathy, but he believes, not

Dean's offer, and the next morning, leaves the house early to without cause, that the deck is not stacked in his favor. Again,

spend the day on the moors. Later in the day, though, he the novel displays the tension between the will to be good and

changes his mind, finds Mrs. Dean in the kitchen, and asks her the struggle to do so in a heartless world.

to "make me decent. I'm going to be good." While standing in

Mrs. Dean also acts as a moral compass as she elaborates on
front of a mirror, speaking of Heathcliff's eyes, Mrs. Dean
how "proud people breed sad sorrows on themselves," a
advises him to "change the fiends to innocent angels,
problem Heathcliff knows all too well. At the same time, she
suspecting and doubting nothing, and always seeing friends
urges him to imagine a lineage to be proud of. This attitude
when they are not sure of foes." She urges him to pretend his
suggests readers should consider variations of pride,
family history is noble to give him "courage and dignity to
some—such as lacking humility in social situations—are wicked,
support the oppressions of a little farmer."
and some—such as pride in one's self despite class

Mrs. Dean does not know at this time that Heathcliff is not distinctions—are useful and harmless, considering Heathcliff

allowed to join the Christmas party, so when the Lintons arrive has no way of knowing his origins anyway. Either way, the

she encourages Heathcliff, dressed up now, to emerge from advice Mrs. Dean gives Heathcliff in this chapter speaks

the kitchen into the sitting area. Hindley is just coming into the volumes about her character's inner workings.

kitchen at the same moment, and seeing Heathcliff dressed up,

During this chapter Heathcliff's personality undergoes a
mocks him and threatens to beat him if he even comes
terrible transformation. Heathcliff has been able to withstand
downstairs during the party. Just then, Edgar Linton peeks his
being beaten by Hindley and forced to become a servant, but
head into the kitchen and makes fun of Heathcliff's long hair.
losing Cathy's friendship and respect is too much to bear.
Embarrassed, Heathcliff flings a pot of hot applesauce on
While he has been relegated to outdoor labor, the difference in
Edgar. Hindley takes Heathcliff upstairs, beats him, and locks
their social status is painfully obvious, although her affection
him in his room. Cathy tries to enjoy the party after that, but
for Heathcliff has not changed. Thwarted in his attempts to
she is too distressed by Heathcliff's absence. Eventually, Mrs.
turn to the good, he embraces revenge in order to dull his pain.
Dean finds her in Heathcliff's locked bedroom—she had
Mrs. Dean's insistence on forgiveness fails to persuade him to
climbed up on the rafters then out onto the roof to get into his
change his mind. Heathcliff makes the case that fulfilling his
revenge is superior to forgiveness. Due to an explosive mixture

After the party, Mrs. Dean brings Heathcliff into the kitchen, of pride and pain, Heathcliff has opted for an absolute path

since he has not eaten much for two days now. Heathcliff tells from which there appears to be no turning back.

Mrs. Dean he wants revenge on Hindley: "I'm trying to settle

how I shall pay Hindley back ... I don't care how long I wait." "It
is for God to punish the wicked" Mrs. Dean pleads, trying to
change Heathcliff's mind. "No," Heathcliff says, "God won't
have the satisfaction that I shall."

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Chapter Summaries 20

reprove evil. Even the curate refrains from coming to the house
Chapter 8 Mrs. Dean now describes as "infernal," and in the center of the
action, Cathy is riled to violence, physically hitting multiple
characters. That hitting Edgar provokes him to confess his love
Summary is telling; it foreshadows later insights into Cathy and Edgar's
Mrs. Frances Earnshaw, wracked by consumption, gives birth
to Hareton Earnshaw and dies shortly after in Hindley's arms. Mrs. Dean's character is also quite different in this chapter.
The loss causes Hindley to curse God, take up drink, and She is more angry and spiteful, telling the reader she's been
behave more cruelly than ever, causing all of the servants to vexing and mocking Cathy on purpose, and she's happy when
flee and everyone else to avoid visiting. Cathy lashes out at Edgar and shows him her true colors.

Mrs. Dean admits to not liking Cathy and trying to "bring down Cathy has her own problems, having "adopted a double
her arrogance," while Cathy and Heathcliff remain good character" as she is torn between Edgar and Heathcliff. As the
friends, but only in private, as Cathy finds herself torn between three last names that Mr. Lockwood sees etched into Cathy's
him and her new friend, Edgar Linton. One day, Cathy turns on window ledge suggest, she suffers from a fractured sense of
Heathcliff who appears unexpectedly just as Edgar is about to identity. She acts one way with the Lintons, where she behaves
arrive for a visit. Cathy continues to act out in frustration, in a ladylike fashion. She also fails to defend Heathcliff when
pinching then slapping Mrs. Dean, shaking baby Hareton, and the Lintons belittle him. She acts another way when she is at
hitting Edgar when he tries to intervene. Edgar threatens to Wuthering Heights, where she and Heathcliff are "unruly"
never return to Wuthering Heights, but Cathy convinces him to together as always, and she underplays her attachment to the
stay; they make up and confess their feelings of love for each Lintons.

Chapter 9
This chapter examines the connection between evil and Summary
violence and the cycles they create when characters suffer
pain and frustration, particularly the pain of separation, and Hindley, in a drunken state, threatens Mrs. Dean with a knife
their responses set off chain reactions in which violence and and dangles Hareton over the stairs, claiming he will break the
evil create more of the same. At the crucial moment when child's neck. The child struggles, and Hindley drops him.
something resembling peace is possible in the novel, the death Heathcliff, who has just walked in, instinctively catches
of Hindley's wife causes him to spiral back into his violent Hareton, but regrets missing an opportunity for revenge
behavior. Mrs. Dean paints a dark picture for the reader to against Hindley by doing so.
show that evil creates violence and violence creates more
violence, a core message in the novel. Notice Mrs. Dean's Later, Cathy asks Mrs. Dean's advice about love and then
verbiage throughout the chapter as the novel continues to confides her acceptance of Edgar Linton's marriage proposal.
explore the effects of a negative environment on the Mrs. Dean asks Cathy a series of questions about her feelings
characters. Hindley descends into evil because he "neither for Edgar: "First and foremost, do you love Mr. Edgar? Why do
wept nor prayed; he cursed and defied: execrated God and you love him? And now, say how you love him? There are
man," Mrs. Dean tells the reader, and thus, he becomes violent: several other handsome, rich young men in the world ... what
Hindley's treatment of Heathcliff "was enough to make a fiend should hinder you from loving them?" Mrs. Dean is unsatisfied
of a saint." His evil behavior is shown to be infectious. It with Cathy's reasons for marrying Edgar. When Cathy says she
spreads throughout Wuthering Heights—to all the wants to marry Edgar because "he is handsome and pleasant
characters—from Heathcliff seeming "possessed of something to be with," Mrs. Dean responds, "Bad!" And when Cathy says,
diabolical at that period" to Joseph being the only other "Because he is rich," Mrs. Dean replies, "Worst of all." Cathy
servant to stay because he has such rich opportunities to admits she has already accepted the proposal, so Mrs. Dean's

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Chapter Summaries 21

opinion does not really matter. Cathy just wants Mrs. Dean to her, to nurse her there. Mr. and Mrs. Linton catch Cathy's fever
say her choice is right. Mrs. Dean teases her and says, and die. Heathcliff does not return, and the story skips ahead
"perfectly right; if people be right to marry only for the three years to when Cathy marries Edgar in the Gimmerton
present." Chapel and demands Mrs. Dean leave baby Hareton and move
to Thrushcross Grange.
During their conversation, Cathy describes a dream she had, in
which she travels to heaven and feels as though she does not
belong there. Her longing to return to earth makes "the angels Analysis
so angry" they fling her "out into the heath on the top of
Wuthering Heights." Then they discuss Heathcliff, whom Nelly Hindley's position as antagonist to Heathcliff is further
knows is eavesdropping on their conversation; when Cathy developed in this chapter. Heathcliff heroically saves Hareton,
asks, Nelly lies, saying that he is in the stable. Cathy admits moving the reader to hope for his ultimate redemption as hero,
that although Heathcliff's dirtiness and low social status are but his regret at missing an opportunity for revenge continues
Hindley's fault, she feels that it would "degrade" her to marry his status as an antihero, which is a protagonist who lacks
him. Heathcliff overhears this, and Mrs. Dean sees him heroic qualities. This moment also establishes the bond that
sneaking out of the room. She tells Cathy to be quiet, that will develop between Heathcliff and Hareton.
Joseph has arrived with Heathcliff—just as Joseph's wagon is
heard on the road. Then Mrs. Dean admits Heathcliff may have The novel explores ideas of love through Mrs. Dean's Socratic
heard their conversation. Cathy is very upset, and confesses questioning of Cathy. The method of using questions to
she really belongs with Heathcliff, not Edgar Linton. She tries explore assumptions, beliefs, and truths by using logic comes
to explain how her choice of marrying Edgar Linton could from the Greek philosopher Socrates and is still used in
benefit Heathcliff. Then she passionately describes her education and philosophy today. Mrs. Dean uses logic to
feelings, saying she believes she is Heathcliff, their souls are conclude that Cathy's love for Edgar is false. Cathy adds to the
one, and "if all else perished and he remained, I should still conclusion by confessing her passionate feelings for
continue to be." She says her love for Edgar is like "foliage in Heathcliff. Mrs. Dean and Cathy's dialogue creates dramatic
the woods: time will change it," but her love for Heathcliff irony. The reader (and Mrs. Dean) know Cathy is in love with
"resembles the eternal rocks beneath." Heathcliff and her reasons for marrying Edgar are shaky at
best, but Cathy is earnestly tossing in her own confusion. In
Joseph, Cathy, and Mrs. Dean look for Heathcliff, but no one Wuthering Heights, there are many kinds of love, and each
can find him. Later, a violent thunderstorm topples a tree and character approaches love differently. The novel asks: What is
brings it crashing down onto the roof. During the storm, Joseph the quality of Cathy and Edgar's love? What of Cathy and
kneels and prays, "beseeching the Lord to remember the Heathcliff's? What does it mean? Is there a higher quality of
patriarchs Noah and Lot ... spare the righteous ... [and] smite love, and if so, what is it?
the ungodly." Fearing Hindley is dead, Joseph and Mrs. Dean
check on him, shaking the handle of his door. Hindley is drunk, Mrs. Dean's reliability is called into question in this chapter: we
but still alive, and he shouts at them from his room, causing do not know why she pretends that Heathcliff is not listening,
Joseph to reply, "a wide distinction might be drawn between but the fact that she lies about this suggests that she is willing
saints like [Joseph] and sinners like his [Hindley]." to be dishonest, and also perhaps that she is trying to
manipulate the situation.
Cathy wanders outside in the rain until after midnight,
searching for Heathcliff, but she does not find him. The next Again, Heathcliff and Cathy's differing class status is an issue,
morning, still wet and shivering, Cathy is wide-awake in the forcing them apart and making it impossible for them to marry.
sitting room. Mrs. Dean scolds her for not going to bed, and Cathy truly believes by marrying Edgar, she can remove
Hindley, arriving for breakfast, realizes Cathy is ill. Cathy's Heathcliff from harm by using her new fortune to help him
condition worsens until she is overcome with delirium. The leave Wuthering Heights. Unfortunately, Heathcliff does not
doctor is called for, and Mrs. Dean and Joseph care for Cathy stay to hear Cathy's true feelings and motivations. Mrs. Dean
through many weeks of a long illness. Old Mrs. Linton visits a presents the harsh social reality that once Cathy is married to
few times and then takes Cathy to Thrushcross Grange with Edgar she will have no power.

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Chapter Summaries 22

Joseph's sermonizing takes on a deeper layer of significance in worthy of a gentleman's regard." Cathy, so ecstatic to have
this chapter, which is heavily laden with biblical references to Heathcliff back, tells Mrs. Dean that she has reconciled with
Lot, Noah, Jonah, and scripture. Whereas he has been mocked "God and humanity! I had risen in angry rebellion against
in previous chapters, he is somewhat validated for his religious Providence." Determined to be good now, she will make up
judgment in this chapter in the way Hindley's blasphemy at God with Edgar and be an angel.
contrasts Joseph's moralizing. Most Victorian era readers
attended church, and they would have been familiar with the Time passes and it becomes normal for Heathcliff to visit

biblical references alluded to in the novel. For example, Mrs. Thrushcross Grange, but Mrs. Dean worries Heathcliff plans to

Dean compares Hindley to Jonah, a character who ran from his "work mischief under a cloak" and harm the family. He has

calling and duty by hiding in the belly of a fish. rented a space from Hindley at Wuthering Heights. Mrs. Dean
asks Cathy what she thinks about Heathcliff staying there.
Cathy says Hindley is greedy for the rent money, reckless

Chapter 10 about choosing his acquaintances, and never troubles himself

to wonder if he should trust Heathcliff, and that Heathcliff told
her he chose to stay there to be near her, so it doesn't bother
More time passes and Isabella gradually falls one-sidedly in
Since Mr. Lockwood is ill and will need bed rest until spring, he love with Heathcliff, which causes a fight one day with Cathy.
asks Mrs. Dean to distract him by telling him more about Isabella is angry because Heathcliff and Cathy ignore her
Heathcliff and Cathy, whom he calls the "hero and heroine" of during a walk on the moors. When Isabella confronts Cathy,
the story. Heathcliff, in the present, has recently sent Mr. she doesn't spare Isabella's feelings, telling her she was
Lockwood a pair of game birds and paid him a visit due to his superfluous and "we didn't care if you kept with us or not."
illness. Mr. Lockwood calls him "charitable" for this act. Later, to tease Isabella, Cathy tells Heathcliff about her crush
Referring to the past in the story Mrs. Dean is telling, Mr. on him, in front of her, and the two women get into a physical
Lockwood wonders if Heathcliff will next finish his education fight. During their fight, Isabella draws Cathy's blood with her
and "come back a gentleman." nails, and Heathcliff threatens to "wrench them off her fingers,
if they ever menaced me." He also says that if he were to marry
Edgar and Cathy's marriage is going well to Mrs. Dean's
Isabella he would turn her white face into a rainbow of bruises
"agreeable disappointment ... [Cathy] behaved infinitely better
from beating her. Privately, Cathy and Heathcliff talk about
than [she] dared to expect." Isabella and Edgar dote on Cathy,
Isabella's crush, and Heathcliff mentions he could use Isabella
and Edgar "had a deep-rooted fear of ruffling her humour."
to own Thrushcross Grange one day. To that, Cathy warns,
When Heathcliff returns, the peace ends. Mrs. Dean finds him
"you are too prone to covet your neighbor's goods; remember
waiting in the garden one morning. At Heathcliff's insistence,
this neighbor's goods are mine."
Mrs. Dean tells Cathy someone is waiting to see her outside.
When Cathy leaves, Mrs. Dean tells Edgar whom the visitor Mrs. Dean determines to keep a close watch on Heathcliff. She
really is. When Cathy returns, leaving Heathcliff outside to wait, also admits to preferring Edgar to Cathy because he is kind,
Edgar, annoyed, tells Cathy it is inappropriate, due to trustful, and honorable.
Heathcliff's low station, for Cathy and Isabella to have tea with
him in the parlor. Seeing how happy Cathy is, Edgar tells her
"try to be glad, without being absurd." Once Heathcliff comes Analysis
upstairs, he launches into the purpose of his visit: "to settle the
score with Hindley; and then prevent the law by doing Mr. Lockwood, as a removed narrator, functions in this chapter
execution on myself"—which means he plans to kill himself as an objective observer. He supplies a viewpoint for readers
after killing Hindley. He also says that Cathy's happiness at to identify with during his cheery prelude, in which he calls
seeing him again has changed his mind—for the moment. Heathcliff "hero" and Cathy "heroine." All seems well; readers
may expect a predicable happy ending, so Mr. Lockwood
Cathy and Edgar fight because she says, "Heathcliff is now reflects the same expectation. He guesses at the events to

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Chapter Summaries 23

unfold, "Did he [Heathcliff] finish his education ... and come to marry her. The finishing touch comes at the end when Mrs.
back a gentleman?" just as readers may guess. As Mrs. Dean Dean wishes he would leave, feeling that "an evil beast prowled
jumps into the story, it does seem, at first, to be possible. Cathy between it and the fold, waiting his time to spring and destroy."
and Edgar "were really in possession of deep and growing
happiness." Heathcliff is transformed into a gentleman, and
Cathy reconciles with God because she is so happy to see Chapter 11
Heathcliff again. Mrs. Dean provides the dropping of the other
shoe, so to speak. She has a foreboding presentiment. She
notices Heathcliff's comment about planning revenge and
changing his mind, and she cautions in specific ways that
foreshadow events to come, including advising Cathy not to
One day, while walking out on the moors, Mrs. Dean sees the
praise one man to the other "unless you would like an open
ghost of Hindley as a child. Terrified, she also feels "an
quarrel between them." By admitting she favors Edgar, she
irresistible yearning to be at the Heights," so she follows the
reveals whose side she is on, which will be important for the
spirit. The "apparition" reaches Wuthering Heights before Mrs.
reader to know during events that take place in upcoming
Dean. Finally, as she stands looking through the gate, she
chapters. Also, readers may wonder: Why is Mrs. Dean
realizes, the ghost is a real child, Hareton, whom she has not
uncertain about Heathcliff's intentions for the remainder of the
seen for years. Hareton does not recognize Mrs. Dean, who
chapter after she hears Heathcliff's explicit plans for revenge?
nursed him as a baby. He hurls rocks at her and curses her,
Again, she proves herself to be an unreliable narrator, swayed
which makes her sad, not angry. Mrs. Dean finds out that
by her feelings about her subjects.
Heathcliff has taught Hareton to curse and protects him from
"Devil daddy," Hindley. She also learns that the curate is no
Edgar's pride (believing Heathcliff is beneath him) is
longer teaching Hareton to read and write. Then Heathcliff
threatened by Cathy's insistence they be friends and Edgar
appears in the doorway. Terrified, Mrs. Dean runs all the way
treat Heathcliff like a gentleman. Edgar's pride causes him to
back to Thrushcross Grange.
break down and cry, which results in Cathy's drawing closer to
Heathcliff and the views and loyalty they formed together in
Heathcliff shows up later at Thrushcross Grange, and Mrs.
their youth. With Isabella's crush comes an exploration of a
Dean, peering out of the window, happens to catch him
new type of love in the novel: unrequited love.
embracing Isabella Linton. Cathy overhears Mrs. Dean shouting
"Judas! Traitor!" and looks out of the window too. They watch
Cathy's character shows even more inner conflict. She acts
Isabella "tear herself free, and run into the garden." When
cruelly to Isabella about her crush on Heathcliff. Then says she
Heathcliff comes inside, Mrs. Dean yells at Heathcliff. Cathy
is trying to protect Isabella. Cathy presents Heathcliff as a
silences Mrs. Dean, saying, "To hear you, people might think
gentleman. Yet, later, she tells Isabella how cruel and "wolfish"
you were the mistress ... you want setting down in your right
Heathcliff really is. Which is the truth? Cathy ignores
Heathcliff's attempt to take Wuthering Heights from Hindley,
yet warns Heathcliff to not even dare to take Thrushcross
Cathy demands that Heathcliff leave Isabella alone, and they
Grange. The chapter raises questions: Is Cathy really trying to
fight over it. Heathcliff protesting, "I have a right to kiss her ... I
help Isabella? Does she love Edgar? If she knows what
am not your husband: you needn't be jealous of me." Cathy
Heathcliff is up to, why doesn't she try to stop him?
denies being jealous and says if Heathcliff likes Isabella he
should marry her, but Cathy is certain he does not like Isabella.
By the end of the chapter Brontë subverts the reader's
Then Heathcliff accuses Cathy of treating him "infernally" and
expectations for a happy ending and heroic Heathcliff. If the
threatens her: "If you fancy I'll suffer unrevenged, I'll convince
reader is unconvinced by Mrs. Dean worrying and still holding
you of the contrary."
hope that Heathcliff will find goodness, Cathy's words to
Isabella about Heathcliff's true nature seem designed for the
Mrs. Dean leaves Heathcliff "brooding on his evil thoughts" and
hopeful reader when she says, "don't imagine that he conceals
runs to Edgar, the master, to tell him exactly what she thinks
depths of benevolence and affection beneath a stern exterior!"
about Isabella, Cathy, and Heathcliff's low behavior. Edgar
Then Heathcliff himself says he would beat Isabella if he were
agrees, exclaiming "this is insufferable," and he says it is

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Chapter Summaries 24

"disgraceful that she should own him for a friend, and force his desires more.
company on me!" Edgar goes downstairs to kick Heathcliff out
of the house, which leads to a confrontation. Cathy takes Cathy chooses Heathcliff over Edgar during their fight, yet

Heathcliff's side and humiliates Edgar, telling him in front of Edgar tries to make her choose between them later in the

Heathcliff, "If you have not the courage to attack [Heathcliff], chapter. Was this internal choice inevitable? Cathy suggests

make an apology, or allow yourself to be beaten ... I wish that her and Edgar's love lacks passion. And passion is

Heathcliff may flog you sick, for daring to think an evil thought something Heathcliff and Cathy, being alike, need to survive. It

of me!" Cornered, because Cathy has locked the front door is clear to Edgar by the end of the chapter that a line has been

from within and thrown the key in the fire, Edgar has no choice drawn, and this is why he responds by forcing her to choose.

but to fight Heathcliff after he pushes Edgar's chair. Edgar Because Cathy knows she will lose Edgar if she verbalizes her

punches Heathcliff in the throat and walks out the back door choice, she manipulates the situation to escape the

while he chokes. Obviously, Heathcliff will not be able to visit consequences. At least it appears that way through Mrs.

Thrushcross Grange again. Cathy tells Heathcliff to leave Dean's eyes. However, Mrs. Dean has admitted to not liking

before Edgar comes back with men and pistols. "I'd rather see Cathy and favoring Edgar, and she tells on Cathy in this

Edgar at bay than you," she says. chapter, which makes a bad situation worse. This is another
example of how the lower-class servants have power over
Heathcliff leaves and Cathy throws a fit. "I shall get wild," she their upper-class masters.
tells Mrs. Dean, "say to Edgar ... that I'm in danger of being
seriously ill. I wish it may prove true ... I want to frighten him." Ideas of pride are explored throughout the chapter, beginning

But when Edgar returns, Mrs. Dean exposes the manipulation, with Cathy's chastisement of Mrs. Dean for not acting in her

believing, "a person who could plan the turning of fits of proper place. Heathcliff's pride is ruffled before the chapter

passion ... might, by exerting her will, manage to control begins (the fight brings out his anger), and Edgar's pride is

herself." instigated before the chapter ends. Cathy's pride causes her to
make herself sick rather than apologize, reflect, or speak the
Edgar tries to make Cathy choose between him and Heathcliff, truth. Mrs. Dean's pride adds to the strife, turning her impatient
but not wanting to choose, she tells him, "Your cold blood and cold-hearted toward Cathy. Pride leads all the characters
cannot be worked into a fever; your veins are full of ice-water; astray, whether master or servant.
but mine are boiling, and the sight of such chillness makes
them dance." For the next several days Edgar sulks in the
library, unaware that Cathy has locked herself in her room and Chapter 12
refuses to eat.

Cathy and Edgar have still not spoken since their fight over
Doubling, the mirroring or reincarnating of one character in
Heathcliff. Edgar continues to sulk in the library while Cathy is
another, is a major part of Wuthering Heights. Mrs. Dean's
locked in her bedroom, refusing to eat. Mrs. Dean "went about
confusing Hareton for the ghost of Hindley is the first double in
[her] household duties, convinced that the Grange had but one
the novel. It is significant that Hareton is no longer being
sensible soul in its walls, and that lodged in [her] body." Finally,
educated because Hareton's character will repeat Heathcliff's
Cathy requests something to eat, exclaiming "Oh I will die,"
then changing her mind, fearing Edgar will not care if she does.

The uproar between Cathy and Heathcliff suggests a Mrs. Dean, unable to "get rid of the notion that she acted a part

deterioration of love and friendship. The key to understanding of her disorder," underplays Edgar's concern, saying he's

why comes through Heathcliff's gripe: he is angry about the "tolerably well ... continually among his books" when Cathy

past, perhaps, but more important is his dissatisfaction with his asks about him. Cathy begs Mrs. Dean to convince Edgar she

current situation. His words are not the words of a man happy is in danger of starving herself. Mrs. Dean refuses and reminds

to visit Cathy from time to time, and his actions suggest he Cathy that she ate tea and toast earlier. "If I were only sure it

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Chapter Summaries 25

would kill him ... I'd kill myself directly," Cathy responds.
Mrs. Dean narrates that Cathy cannot bear the idea of Edgar's
indifference, so "she increased her feverish bewilderment to Chapter 12 uses imagery and symbolism to blend themes and
madness and tore the pillow with her teeth," begging Mrs. Dean to create the chapter's foreboding tone, which reflects Cathy's
to open the window. Mrs. Dean refuses, and Cathy pulls the madness and desire to die. The imagery of death, the macabre,
feathers out of her pillow, which reminds her of a childhood and the grave is presented to the reader to heighten the sense
memory—when she and Heathcliff saw a nest of "little bird of danger as what was once love between Heathcliff and
skeletons." Cathy does not recognize her own face in a mirror, Cathy turns toward obsession. There's no longer any room in
and she sees visions: Mrs. Dean gathering "elf bolts" and a face Cathy's heart or mind for Edgar; her love for Heathcliff is too
in the "black press." She speaks of the first night she spent consuming.
alone after the fight, describing how she lost seven years,
The final image of a dog hanging from a noose is different from
going back to the time when Hindley separated her from
the other imagery in the chapter. Something truly violent has
Heathcliff, and how she woke up in the present "the wife of a
happened. Dogs, as symbols, appear when a boundary of some
stranger: an exile and outcast." She begs again for the
kind has been crossed. It suggests that Heathcliff, who until
windows to be opened; she longs to run on the moors and be a
now has hovered between his love for Cathy and the desire for
child again. Mrs. Dean refuses to open the window, saying "I
revenge, gives himself over to the latter. The violence against
won't give you your death of cold," but Cathy retorts, "You
the dog indicates the loss of his remaining humanity.
won't give me a chance of life, you mean." Then Cathy
remembers how she and Heathcliff use to play in the The symbol of ghosts evolves in this chapter as Cathy
graveyard and ask the ghosts to come. regresses to the past to tend to the wounds left from Hindley's
violence toward her and Heathcliff. And she longs for the
Edgar, hearing Mrs. Dean struggle to keep Cathy calm, enters
symbolic moors, for the freedom they represent, and for a time
the bedroom, and he realizes immediately that she has hidden
when she had a strong sense of herself and her affections and
Cathy's dangerous condition from him, but he rushes to Cathy.
feelings could be expressed freely. Now, she is stifled by a
She tells Edgar she will be dead by springtime: "They can't
husband she does not love and kept separate from the man
keep me from my narrow home ... my resting place." Edgar
toward whom she is naturally drawn. Having failed to choose
wants to know if this is all because she loves Heathcliff. "I don't
her true destiny, Cathy searches for a sense of belonging, even
want you," she tells Edgar. "What you touch at present you may
as she knows intuitively her destiny is leading her to death.
have; but my soul will be on that hilltop before you lay hands on
me again." Edgar blames Cathy's illness on Mrs. Dean, and, still The symbolism of wind departs from its usual association with
angry that her interference led to the fight, he tells her he will violence to represent life-giving breath. Violence is shifted from
he will dismiss her if she ever gossips to him again. Cathy, as its associations with natural elements such as weather to
delusional as she is, understands that Mrs. Dean has betrayed Cathy herself when Mrs. Dean refers to "the Earnshaws' violent
her and calls her a witch. Mrs. Dean leaves to find the doctor, dispositions," and in Cathy's self-harm, trying purposely to die,
Kenneth. being a redirection of her desire to kill Edgar.

Outside, Mrs. Dean sees "a creature of the other world." The way Mrs. Dean narrates raises the question: Is Cathy's
Actually, someone has hung Isabella's dog from a tree, and illness real, or is it a show? She paints it both ways; she takes
Mrs. Dean saves it. She hears the sound of horses' feet, but the blame, and she defends herself. And at the end of the
there is no time to inquire. Reaching the village, Kenneth tells chapter, she chooses not to alert Edgar to chase Isabella,
her there are rumors that Isabella and Heathcliff are planning which custom and honor would require him to do. Edgar risks
to run away together. The next day, a servant confirms the dishonor and scandal after all of his snobbery and dislike for
rumor—Isabella has run off with Heathcliff—and Edgar chooses Heathcliff, leaving the reader to wonder why. This is not the
not to send men to bring her back but disowns his sister for first, but one of many times in the novel when Edgar will not
"disowning" him. stand up for himself or those he loves against Heathcliff.

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Chapter Summaries 26

Chapter 13 Analysis
Two central questions in the novel are brought back into the
reader's mind: What makes people good and what makes them
Summary become bad? And, how can good come from a malevolent and
abusive environment? Hareton supplies the strongest example
Cathy has recovered from the brain fever, but she will never be
in the chapter when he threatens Isabella with a dog attack
the same. Also, she and Edgar are expecting a baby.
from Throttler in response to her kindness—even the name of
Mrs. Dean receives a letter from Isabella. In the letter, Isabella the dog underscores the violent Wuthering Heights
asks how Mrs. Dean "preserved the common sympathies of environment, just as the dog Skulker alludes to Thrushcross
human nature" while living at Wuthering Heights, and she asks Grange (throttle meaning to choke or strangle and skulk
"Is Heathcliff a man ... or a devil?" Then she describes her first meaning to hide in cowardice). And Hareton, by training and a
night at Wuthering Heights, where, arriving without Heathcliff, bad environment, is shown to be like an attack dog.
Joseph shoves a torch fire in her face, and Hareton threatens
That Isabella grew up not in the environment of Wuthering
to sic his dog Throttler on her. Inside, there is no servant to
Heights but in the gentle environment at Thrushcross Grange
help her, so she wanders around the house, eventually running
is significant because it provides a contrast and sets up a new
into Hindley, who has long, shaggy hair now, curses Heathcliff,
situation for the reader to witness firsthand what may become
and appears insane to Isabella. Hindley shows Isabella the
of good when it is surrounded by violence. Often in the novel,
pistol he embellished with a spring knife on the barrel. He lurks
major characters, in due course, enter into a battle between
outside Heathcliff's bedroom door every night, planning to kill
good and evil, pride and humility, pity and judgment, and
him if the door is ever unlocked. The only thing really stopping
Isabella's first test happens when she holds Hindley's gun and
him from killing Heathcliff is the chance to get back his money
it makes her feel powerful.
and Wuthering Heights. Holding the gun, Isabella is struck by
how powerful it makes her feel, which astonishes Hindley, and Earlier in the novel, Isabella and Edgar became foils to contrast
he jealously snatches the gun away from her. Cathy and Heathcliff: Edgar and Isabella shown to be spoiled
and petty while Cathy and Heathcliff are portrayed as strong,
In the kitchen, Joseph sticks his fingers in the oatmeal, so
free, and down to earth. In this chapter, the use of Isabella as a
Isabella offers to cook it, but Joseph yells at her for making it
foil changes. Cathy is more like Isabella was as a child, and
lumpy. Meanwhile Hareton drinks the milk they are supposed
Isabella appears to have grown stronger and humbler than
to share straight from the jar, getting his spit in it. Disgusted
Cathy. Making the connection, readers will be curious to see if
and exhausted from traveling, Isabella tries to find a bedroom
Wuthering Heights changes Isabella as Thrushcross Grange
to eat and rest in, but Joseph—angry at her for acting
has changed Cathy.
finicky—shows her there is nowhere for her to sleep. Heathcliff
keeps his bedroom locked, and no one is allowed inside.
Isabella throws the oatmeal on the floor, and Joseph leaves her
there, hoping Heathcliff sees her act that way, so he will beat Chapter 14
her. Just then, Throttler comes in, and Isabella realizes he's a
dog from Skulker's litter, a puppy Old Mr. Linton gave Hindley
long ago. Throttler nuzzles Isabella and eats the oatmeal off Summary
the floor. Then Isabella hides in Hareton's room until Joseph
comes upstairs to put him to bed. Finally, Isabella falls asleep in Mrs. Dean visits Isabella at Wuthering Heights. Before she
a chair by the fire. Heathcliff returns and wakes her up, asking leaves she asks Edgar to send a letter, forgiving Isabella. Edgar
why she is sleeping there. When she says it is because our replies he's not angry, just sorry for her, and he never wants to
bedroom is locked, he takes offence at the word our, saying "It see her again. Edgar's coldness depresses Mrs. Dean.
is not, nor ever shall be" their bedroom to share.
When Mrs. Dean arrives, she is shocked to find Heathcliff "was
the only thing there that seemed decent, that he would

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Chapter Summaries 27

certainly have struck a stranger as a born and bred gentleman Heathcliff is happy because he is certain Cathy loves him more
... and his wife as a thorough little slattern!" They discuss than she loves Edgar, he is better for her, and only he can
Cathy, and Mrs. Dean mentions she is nothing like the Cathy he match her depth of love, a direct echo of Cathy's earlier "I am
knew and that Edgar sustains his love for her by "the Heathcliff!" epiphany. The message for the love theme here is
remembrance of what she once was, by common humanity, that lovers must be alike in their natures for love to be true.
and a sense of duty!" Heathcliff hates the idea of Edgar having The contrast in the chapter between Heathcliff and Edgar also
only duty and humanity to make him feel for Cathy. He asks shows that Heathcliff has some qualities, he is capable of love,
Mrs. Dean "Do you imagine that I shall leave Cathy to his duty and he may not be a hero, but he is not the villain.
and humanity?" Heathcliff intends to visit Cathy, and he wants
Mrs. Dean to help him. Mrs. Dean tells Heathcliff a visit from
him would kill Cathy. Heathcliff wants to know if Cathy would Chapter 15
suffer if Heathcliff were to "go to extremes"—meaning harm
Edgar. Then he tells Mrs. Dean what makes him different from
Edgar is that he would never harm Edgar as long as Cathy
wanted to be with him. "If you don't believe me, you don't know
me," he tells Mrs. Dean when she looks doubtful.
Mr. Lockwood has heard Mrs. Dean's story and is retelling it in
a condensed version.
Mrs. Dean says Cathy has forgotten Heathcliff, which makes
him laugh: "for every thought she spends on Linton she spends
When Edgar's at church, Mrs. Dean gives Cathy a letter from
a thousand on me!" He says he was a fool to think Cathy ever
Heathcliff. Before she can get a response from Cathy,
loved Edgar, and, "It is not in him to be loved like me: how can
Heathcliff walks through the open doors of Thrushcross
she love in him what he has not?" Isabella tells Heathcliff to
Grange. Recognizing that Cathy is dying, he breaks down as
stop speaking of Edgar that way, but Heathcliff reminds her
they hold and kiss each other, both crying and talking about
that Edgar "turns you adrift on the world with surprising
Cathy's impending death. Cathy says Heathcliff and Edgar
alacrity." Mrs. Dean implores Heathcliff to treat Isabella better,
have both broken her heart, and to Heathcliff she says, "you
to remember she is a lady and accustomed to being waited on.
have killed me—and thriven on it, I think." She wants to hold
Heathcliff says Isabella is delusional ... that he never lied to her
Heathcliff until they are both dead. To Mrs. Dean, who refers to
about who he is and that she has an "innate admiration" of
herself as a cool spectator, it seems fitting "Cathy deem that
heaven would be a land of exile to her," unless with death she
loses "her moral character also."
When Isabella goes upstairs, Heathcliff persuades Mrs. Dean
to sneak a letter to Cathy and arrange a visit at Thrushcross
Upset by being blamed for her death, Heathcliff asks if she is
Grange in the near future.
possessed by a devil to talk to him that way. Cathy also lashes
out at Mrs. Dean: "Nelly, you think you are more fortunate ...
you are sorry for me ... I shall be sorry for you. I shall be
Analysis incomparably beyond and above you all." Excited, Cathy stands
up, but the strain makes her convulse. Heathcliff and she
This chapter provides a window into Heathcliff's emotional
spring toward each other, and he "foamed like a mad dog, and
logic and moral values as he describes how he would treat
gathered her to him with greedy jealousy." Heathcliff accuses
Cathy if he were Edgar, why Isabella disgusts him, and what he
her of being cruel, of leaving him, betraying her own heart,
understands about himself. As Mrs. Dean tries to advise him on
because "degradation, and death, and nothing that God or
what is right and proper, he thwarts her with his own logic at
Satan could inflict would have parted us, you, of your own will,
every turn. The reader learns that pity, duty, charity, and
did it." Sobbing, Cathy tells him to leave her alone. She is dying
humanity, to Heathcliff, are shallow emotions and motivations.
for whatever she did wrong. She forgives him and asks that he
Heathcliff does not say explicitly what morality he believes in.
forgive her. He says he can forgive her for murdering him, but
Implicitly, his love for Cathy seems to be the basis for
not for killing herself.
Heathcliff's morality, the only thing about which he has strong
feelings of right and wrong. Mrs. Dean is nervous because Edgar will return soon, but

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Chapter Summaries 28

Cathy won't let Heathcliff leave. "Don't go," she cries, "It is the "incomparably beyond and above us all." Believing Cathy's
last time! I shall die! I shall die." Edgar appears in Cathy's room; spirit is at "home with God," Mrs. Dean sees in her corpse "a
Heathcliff holding her in his arms, but Cathy has fainted, so repose that neither earth nor hell can break," and she is
Edgar must tend to her instead of fighting with Heathcliff. Mrs. reassured of the eternal hereafter, "love in its sympathy," and
Dean thinks to herself "Far better that she should be dead, "love in its fullness." Mr. Lockwood comments that when Mrs.
than lingering a burden and a misery-maker to all about her." Dean originally told him the story she asked his opinion about
Heathcliff slips out, telling Mrs. Dean he will be hiding in the life after death, but he refused to answer, believing to do so
garden tomorrow. would go against the established church.

Mrs. Dean looks for Heathcliff to tell him the news of Cathy's
Analysis death, and she finds him still as a piece of timber beside an ash
tree outside Thrushcross Grange. At first, Mrs. Dean cries for
The narrator changes back to Mr. Lockwood, raising questions: Heathcliff, believing God has seen through his pride and
Will he alter Mrs. Dean's version of the story? What is the brought this humiliation and pain for a purpose. However, when
reason for the narrative switch? Is it out of character for Mrs. Heathcliff bashes his head against the tree and cries out for
Dean to wish Cathy dead as she does in this chapter? It is Cathy's spirit to haunt him, Mrs Dean admits, "It hardly moved
impossible to know now that another character stands my compassion—it appalled me: still, I felt reluctant to quit him
between Mrs. Dean and the reader. so."

The themes of good versus evil and love run together in Then Mrs. Dean offers to sneak Heathcliff into the house to
Chapter 15. The idea that going against the heart and soul see the corpse. She discovers he sneaked in on his own when
causes suffering is reinforced by Cathy and Heathcliff's she finds Edgar's blond hair on the floor and Heathcliff's dark
intense agony in the chapter. Then Heathcliff, the antihero hair replacing it inside Cathy's locket. She entwines the locks
himself, questions if his beloved is evil, and he judges her, of hair and describes Cathy's gravesite on the moors.
declaring everything is her fault and her choice. The idea of
"free will" is an important religious concept alluded to in this
chapter; it is central to the choice individuals make between Analysis
good and evil. The exploration of free will and people choosing
their own suffering begins here, and it will continue as the story The focus in this chapter is on Mrs. Dean's views on love, pity,

moves forward. and religion. Pointedly, Mrs. Dean stops her narration to ask
Mr. Lockwood his views on life after death, revealing a little
An exploration of unrequited love began with Isabella, and now more about his character: he either believes in the
it is more fully revealed in the exchange between Cathy and conventionality of the established church, or he is unwilling to
Heathcliff. Isabella suffered alone. There is an emotional speak in depth about religion or death. Either way, through his
difference (and tone difference in the chapters) when both character, Brontë continues to expose him for a shallow
lovers have loved and lost equally. gentleman-type from the city.

Mrs. Dean pities Heathcliff for his loss, yet she judges him,

Chapter 16 entwining the themes of pity versus judgment with pride versus
humiliation. In her pity (her word) for Heathcliff, Mrs. Dean
thinks to herself, "You have a heart and nerves as same as
your brother men! Why should you be anxious to conceal
Summary them? Your pride cannot blind God! You tempt him to wring
them, till he forces a cry of humiliation." Her ability to
Cathy gives birth to Catherine prematurely and then dies,
empathize is weakened by her instinct to judge—a strong
leaving Edgar without a male heir. Edgar sinks into mourning.
pattern playing out many times throughout the novel. The
Mrs. Dean says of Cathy's corpse that "no angel in heaven
reader, here, may pick up on the contradiction evolving through
could appear more beautiful," and adds that Cathy was right
Mrs. Dean's character. She is wholly able to describe the
when she said, only hours before her death, she would be

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Chapter Summaries 29

unusually intense love—which to her is selfish and Hindley stuck his arm and weapon (the gun with the knife on
irreverent—between Cathy and Heathcliff. If she did not the end) out of the door to kill Heathcliff, but he grabbed it, the
recognize what it is, she would not speak of it the way she spring fell back and sliced Hindley's arm instead. Heathcliff
does throughout the novel, noting details such as Heathcliff's smashed the glass in the door, got inside and beat Hindley,
"inner agony" and that he "trembled ... to his very fingerends." almost to death. When Hindley passed out, Heathcliff
Yet, she is always limited because the kind of love Heathcliff bandaged the wound, and Isabella ran for Joseph.
and Cathy share frightens and appalls her. So, why is she so
skilled in translating its nature to the reader? The next morning, Hindley came downstairs and Isabella told
him what happened because he couldn't remember. Heathcliff
The novel continues its reach for ideas beyond good and evil was there, but so deeply in mourning, his face was sealed "in
initiated in the previous chapter, as it moves away from the an expression of unspeakable sadness." (Then Mrs. Dean
dualism of angels and devils and good and evil toward the idea breaks in to scold Isabella for delighting in "paying wrong for
of something beyond or transcendent. wrong." Isabella admits the only way she can forgive Heathcliff
is "if [she] may take an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.")
Isabella finishes telling her story: That night, she continued to
Chapter 17 taunt Heathcliff, but he was too absorbed in his anguish to
notice, until she struck a chord by saying Cathy was happy
before he came back into all of their lives again. Heathcliff's

Summary "eyes rained down tears among the ashes, and he drew his
breath in suffocating sighs." But Isabella pushed him further by
taunting him, and he threw a dinner knife at her, hitting her
Isabella, who is pregnant, runs away from Wuthering Heights
behind the ear. Terrified, Isabella, rushed out into the snow
and shows up unexpectedly at Thrushcross Grange, where the
across the moors to Thrushcross Grange.
household is still in mourning for Cathy. While Mrs. Dean
bandages her neck, which is bleeding from a knife Heathcliff
After telling her story, Isabella leaves for Gimmerton. She
flung at her, Isabella describes how Heathcliff, mourning for
settles south of London and raises her child, Linton, by herself.
Cathy, cries and prays to a senseless God—"like a Methodist,"
Mrs. Dean explains that Isabella ends up dying when the boy is
and he has confused God with the devil.
12 years old.

Then she explains why she ran away: One night, when Isabella
Meanwhile, right after Cathy's death, Edgar becomes a hermit,
was sitting in the parlor with Hindley, who was drunk and angry
but he loves and dotes on his daughter, Catherine. Mrs. Dean
at the time, Heathcliff returned. Hindley decided to lock
compares Edgar and Hindley: "They had both been fond
Heathcliff out of the house and wanted to know if Isabella
husbands ... and I couldn't see how they shouldn't both have
would help him kill Heathcliff, mentioning that they both had a
taken the same road, for good or evil." Hindley, she thinks, is
right to take revenge. Hindley asked her, "Are you as soft as
the weaker man because Edgar "displayed the true courage of
your brother," or "are you willing to endure to the last, and not
a loyal and faithful soul: he trusted God; and God comforted
attempt a repayment?" She responded, "Treachery and
violence are spears pointed at both ends; they wound those
who resort to them worse than their enemies." Hindley Hindley dies six months after Cathy, and Heathcliff gets
disagreed; to him, "treachery and violence are a just return for custody of Hareton by threatening to take Linton from Isabella.
treachery and violence." Then he wanted to know if Isabella
would just be quiet and let him kill Heathcliff, but Isabella
shouted, "I'll not hold my tongue!" through the door and warned Analysis
Heathcliff. Hindley cursed her, and she contemplated what a
blessing it would be if Heathcliff and Hindley killed each other. Just as Isabella is a foil for Cathy's character in the novel,
Then, feeling secure with a door between them, Isabella Isabella and Heathcliff's relationship contrasts Cathy and
mocked Heathcliff, telling him now that Cathy is dead, he Heathcliff's relationship. Although, there are similarities as well:
should stretch himself over her grave and die like a faithful dog. both relationships involve violence of emotion, cursing, and

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Chapter Summaries 30

inflicting pain. Ultimately, Isabella and Heathcliff's relationship

serves as a contrast because it is one-sided and Isabella saw a Chapter 18
Heathcliff that was only an illusion while Cathy saw Heathcliff
for who he really is. In Chapter 14 Heathcliff describes the
delusional nature of Isabella's love, and the idea of distorted Summary
love is fortified in this chapter by his tears and "unspeakable
sadness" over Cathy's dying being more prevalent than Twelve years later, Cathy's daughter, Catherine, is thirteen
Hindley's violence and Isabella's malice. Heathcliff is revealed years old. Mrs. Dean describes her personality as soft, mild as
to be not cold-hearted as much as he is monomaniacal in his a dove, and not prone to furious anger as her mother was.
love for Cathy, which is not only the most important thing in his Catherine grows strong with only "trifling illnesses, which she
life, but the only thing that seems to motivate his actions and had to experience in common with all children, rich or poor."
influence his feelings. Her only fault is a "perverse will, that indulged children
invariably acquire."
Also, Heathcliff's humanity expands in this chapter as he
openly weeps and mourns the love of his life's death. He is not Edgar never lets Catherine leave Thrushcross Grange. One
a stock character "devil" or villain; good and evil will be day, he receives a letter from Isabella. She is dying and wants
something he must choose between, and, plot-wise, this is his Edgar to come to London, say goodbye, and take over raising
character's personal cusp between the two. He has revenged her son, Linton. Catherine takes the opportunity to explore
Hindley and holds Hareton's future (and his own) in his hands. beyond Thrushcross Grange park. Telling Mrs. Dean she needs
What choice will he make? food to go out and explore the Arabian Desert (really the
moors), she jumps her pony over a low bush and winds up
Ideas of good and evil are explored in the chapter when Mrs. meeting Hareton when their dogs get into a fight. When one of
Dean contrasts "faithful" Edgar to "unfaithful" Hindley and she Catherine's dogs returns with a swelled head and bleeding ear
describes the difference faith makes in each character's life: but no sign of Catherine, Mrs. Dean searches frantically, finally
Edgar thrives, Hindley dives deeper into darkness. Then ideas finding her with Hareton (now 18) and Zillah, a servant, at
of violence and revenge are explored in the chapter when what Wuthering Heights.
has become of Isabella (representing good and proper and
Thrushcross Grange) under the influence of the malevolent When Catherine, having a lot of fun with Zillah and Hareton,
Wuthering Heights environment is revealed. This is Isabella's refuses to leave, Mrs. Dean tells her she would want to leave if
moment of truth. Hindley is the one who presents the two she knew who owned the house. The conversation leads to
moral tests for Isabella, and both times, even though she says Catherine figuring out that Hareton is not Heathcliff's son but a
she wants revenge, her actions do not give in to it. It is servant. Embarrassed, Hareton refuses to fetch Catherine's
significant that Brontë details the nuances of Isabella's morality pony. Hareton calls Catherine a saucy witch, and she replies
(ultimately painting a well-drawn character, not turned evil, but "How dare he speak so to me ... musn't he be made to do as I
truly changed: no longer weak and definitely capable of feeling ask him?" Zillah urges Catherine to be civil and reveals Hareton
real hurt, hatred, and desire for revenge) because through is her cousin. The idea of a servant being her cousin makes
Isabella's story line, Brontë continues the exploration from the Catherine cry. She can hardly believe it, but Mrs. Dean
beginning of the novel: what happens to "good" in a violent and consoles her: "people can have many cousins and of all sorts ...
negative environment? Where ideas of good and evil are without being any the worse for it." When Hareton returns with
explored, ideas of violence and revenge are usually close by, the pony, seeing Catherine upset, he offers her a puppy, but
and the main events in the chapter—comparing Edgar and she refuses it.
Hindley and Isabella's storyline—are interrelated. Hindley
resorts to violence, and he is repaid with violence; and he dies
violently. Analysis
A minor detail leads into an exploration of class distinctions
when Mrs. Dean slides into the narrative that Catherine has "to
experience in common with all children ... rich or poor." Mrs.

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Chapter Summaries 31

Dean expounds on Catherine's high-quality nature, so it is and Linton on the road. Linton is a physically weak and peevish
significant that Catherine's one fault is linked to her upper- child used to pampering. He refuses to exit the carriage. Then,
class station, and it causes the main action in the when he is in the house, he is too delicate to sit on a chair but
chapter—when she turns against Hareton for being a servant, must recline on a sofa.
not a gentleman, in an echo of her mother's rejection of
Heathcliff. Mrs. Dean's narration paints a picture of beauty and Mrs. Dean and Edgar worry that Heathcliff will want to take

peace, which turns ugly when social distinctions are made. Linton. That very same night, Joseph knocks on the door,
demanding to take Linton to Wuthering Heights. Edgar wants
The symbolism of dogs is woven throughout the chapter, and it to fulfill Isabella's dying wishes, but he cannot think of a way to
supports the topic of social distinctions between masters and keep Linton. Joseph and Edgar argue, but Edgar tells Joseph
servants: he will send Linton tomorrow.

Catherine wants food for her imaginary horses and camels

(actually dogs) because she is pretending to cross the Analysis
"Arabian Desert." This is dramatic irony. The reader knows
Wuthering Heights is across the "desert." There is a sense This chapter satisfies the reader's curiosity about what
of Catherine leaving behind her ignorance, and innocence, Heathcliff's son may be like, and it establishes Linton's
of the world, and the dogs accompany her as she crosses character as sickly and difficult. Unfortunately, Linton's fate will
the new boundary. bring him immediately to Wuthering Heights, a place the reader
Catherine's dog has a swelled head and bleeding ear. This and Mrs. Dean know will not be conducive to a happy
foreshadows Catherine's prideful reaction (swelled head), to childhood. Heathcliff's son, having none of his strength or
something she hears (bleeding ear) and does not like. physical traits, and resembling a Linton, and named Linton—a
Catherine and Hareton meet because of a dogfight. This hated name to Heathcliff—complicates the plot and allows
creates a feeling of doom and the sense that peace Heathcliff to continue to be an antihero. The reader may
between Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange is wonder what the outcome would have been had Linton been
impossible; they cannot coexist, nor ever be equal; it's as if more like Heathcliff. It is impossible to know. Linton being the
rivalry between them is as instinctual as a dogfight. character he is will serve to fuel Heathcliff's anger, desire for
Hareton tries to make peace by giving Catherine a puppy, revenge, and despair over Cathy's death.
but she refuses the peace offering. In this way, the
interchange involving the dogs represents the characters'
natures: Hareton is peaceful and happy-go-lucky, but Chapter 20
Catherine is stubborn and shunning him. On a literal level,
the exchange helps complicate the plot. Catherine's refusal
of the peace offering lays the foundation for all that is to
come in the second half of the novel, and it is significant that
a puppy is at the center of the first moment between the
Linton is very unhappy the next morning when he finds out he
two characters.
has to live at Wuthering Heights. Isabella never spoke of
Heathcliff, so Linton has no idea he even had a father. Mrs.
Dean lies to him about Heathcliff and Wuthering Heights to
Chapter 19 coax him to get dressed and ride across the moor.

Joseph and Heathcliff greet Linton when he arrives. Heathcliff

Summary is disappointed his son looks like a puling chicken brought up
on snails and sour milk, who doesn't resemble Heathcliff at all,
Isabella has died. Edgar returns with her and Heathcliff's child, but he promises Mrs. Dean he will be kind to Linton. Heathcliff
Linton. Catherine, excited to meet her real cousin (still upset at admits he plans to own Thrushcross Grange one day, since
finding out Hareton, a servant, is her cousin) encounters Edgar Linton is the heir. He also plans to continue his revenge by
making Hareton serve Linton. Linton will be brought up as a

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Chapter Summaries 32

proper gentleman, and Heathcliff has even hired a tutor for has been so close all this time, and that Heathcliff is her uncle.
Linton. "I thought I liked you," Catherine tells him. Then she asks if she
can visit Linton often, and Heathcliff has to tell her about his
quarrel with Edgar: "He thought me too poor to wed his sister ...
Analysis his pride was hurt, and he'll never forgive it." Catherine thinks
her father is in the wrong, so she suggests Linton come to
In this chapter, Joseph and Heathcliff provide a few rare Thrushcross Grange to visit instead, but Linton says four miles
instances of humor in the novel. is too far for him to walk. This disgusts Heathcliff, and he tells
Mrs. Dean "I covet Hareton with all his degradation ... I'd have
Everything about Linton (his demeanor, upper-class manners,
loved the lad had he been someone else." Linton irritates
and physical appearance) associates him with the weaker but
Heathcliff even more by ignoring Catherine and preferring to
more civilized inhabitants of Thrushcross Grange. Linton
sit quietly, so Heathcliff calls Hareton over and suggests he
obviously does not belong at Wuthering Heights, and his
show Catherine around the farm.
situation is an example of the doubling that occurs throughout
the second half of the novel. In this chapter, history repeats When Catherine sees Hareton, she asks Heathcliff, "Oh, I'll ask
(always with a twist) the event of Heathcliff's being brought you uncle ... that is not my cousin, is he?" Catherine whispers
from Liverpool to live at Wuthering Heights. Now it's his son, something about Hareton in Heathcliff's ear, embarrassing
but conversely, Linton is the exact opposite of Heathcliff in Hareton, but Heathcliff brushes it off, and they go play.
every way. Heathcliff tells Mrs. Dean how Hareton is the better boy than
Linton, and "he can sympathise with all his feelings, having felt
To carry suspense through the novel, Heathcliff tells Mrs. Dean
them myself." He explains how he taught Hareton to hate
(and the reader) exactly how he will continue his revenge on
everything beyond the physical, conditioning him to live in a
Hindley and Edgar by using Linton and Hareton.
state of ignorance. Then Linton, regretting his decision to stay
behind, catches up to Catherine and Hareton just as Catherine
is asking why it says "Hareton Earnshaw" above the door
Chapter 21 (revealed in a previous chapter), but Hareton cannot read, so
he does not know what it says—and Catherine and Linton do
not tell him. Instead, they tease him for not being able to read,
Summary which causes Heathcliff to "cast a look of singular aversion" at
Linton and Catherine. Mrs. Dean decides she doesn't like
Mrs. Dean remembers a conversation she had in Gimmerton Linton either, and she doesn't blame Heathcliff "for holding him
with Zillah, the servant at Wuthering Heights. Zillah tells Mrs. cheap."
Dean Heathcliff dislikes Linton and would dislike him even
more if he knew to what extent Linton pampers himself. Mrs. Catherine returns to Thrushcross Grange and scolds her
Dean comes to the conclusion "that utter lack of sympathy had father for lying to her about Linton living far away. Edgar
rendered young Heathcliff selfish and disagreeable." explains why Catherine cannot return to Wuthering Heights or
contact Linton, but she writes to him anyway, until Mrs. Dean
The story jumps ahead to Catherine's sixteenth birthday. Out discovers the letters and makes Catherine burn them.
on the moors, Hareton and Heathcliff, whom Catherine has
never met before, catch her when she wanders onto his
property. Catherine, remembering meeting Hareton a few Analysis
years earlier, wants to know if Hareton is Heathcliff's son.
Heathcliff entices Catherine to come to Wuthering Heights by The chapter opens up with a reference to Linton as "young
telling her that Hareton is not his son, but he does have a son Heathcliff," alerting the reader to the doubles in the chapter,
and she knows him. making Linton a distorted mirror image of Heathcliff as a child
to reinforce ideas of pity versus judgment in the novel. (It is
At Wuthering Heights, Catherine and Linton see each other for important to note that pity is not used in the modern sense; it is
the first time since they met. Catherine is astounded that he more like having sympathy for or empathy with than feeling

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Chapter Summaries 33

sorry for someone.) Often characters must choose between

pity and judgment, and pity is typically shown to be a virtue. Chapter 22
Mrs. Dean doesn't judge Linton at first. Instead, she makes the
lack of pity in his life an excuse for his bad behavior. This
jostles the reader's memory of the unfair judgment (based on Summary
dark physical features) and lack of pity the Earnshaws had for
Heathcliff long ago, which flows directly into Linton and One day in October when clouds "boding abundant rain" roll in,
Catherine's judgment of Hareton, also a double for Mrs. Dean and Catherine go for a walk on the moors. They
Heathcliff—and history repeating. discuss the possibility of Edgar dying, and Mrs. Dean advises
Catherine to "avoid giving him anxiety on any subject ... you
Catherine, as a character, falls in the middle of the personality might kill him if you were wild and reckless ... and cherished ... a
types of Linton and Hareton. Physically active like Hareton and fanciful affection for the son of a person ... glad to have him in
intellectually developed like Linton, she appears to be, at first, a his grave," referring to Heathcliff and Linton. Catherine
match for Hareton, and then, later, a match for Linton. promises to "never—never—oh, never ... do an act or say a
Matching in temperament is very important in the love and word to vex him."
obsession theme in Wuthering Heights, and Catherine's love
could go either way at this point. Catherine, "lightening into sunshine again" climbs up onto a
wall to gather petals from a rose tree. Catherine's hat falls off
Heathcliff's "aversion" for Catherine comes only after she fails and she has to climb the wall to get it, but she gets stuck on
to recognize Hareton's true value and chooses Linton's mean- the other side because the ground is lower and rose trees and
spirited pride. The fact that Catherine and Linton have a lack of blackberry bushes cover the wall. Mrs. Dean tries all of her
sympathy for Hareton and they judge him for being unable to keys to the door in the wall, but none work. Then Mrs. Dean
read and write—for being lower class—makes it even worse. hears a horse and rider approach—it's Heathcliff. "I sha'nt
Heathcliff dislikes Catherine because he has made Hareton in speak to you ... Papa says you are wicked ... Ellen says the
his own image. For Heathcliff, this encounter is like the Cathy same," Mrs. Dean hears Catherine say. Heathcliff denies hating
of his humiliating childhood happening all over again, and it is Catherine then swears Linton is dying because Catherine
significant that this event takes place on Catherine's birthday; stopped writing to him. Mrs. Dean accuses Heathcliff of lying,
it represents the death and rebirth of Cathy, making and then she breaks through the lock to get to Catherine.
Catherine's choice of Edgar-like Linton over Heathcliff-like Heathcliff urges Catherine to "be generous, and contrive to see
Hareton even more emotionally significant for Heathcliff. him." Heathcliff leaves and it rains.

The complex structure of the chapter creates an in-depth Mrs. Dean says the news made Catherine's heart "cloudy now
exploration of the value of physical strength and genuineness in double darkness ... her features were so sad, they did not
(Hareton) versus intellectual power and upper class pride seem hers." Believing Heathcliff is telling the truth, Catherine
(Linton and Catherine). The reader cannot help but feel convinces Mrs. Dean to travel to Wuthering Heights the next
sympathy for Hareton when he cannot read his own name day.
above the door. The reader cannot help but like Hareton and
despise Linton, seeing his bad effect on Catherine's character.
Soon after, Catherine and Linton's relationship grows through Analysis
purely intellectual activities. However, Mrs. Dean does not see
real value or love between Catherine and Linton because it Powerful imagery is used to reveal Catherine's character and
isn't based on anything physical. The idea that love should have show how she is different from Cathy. Catherine is earthy and
a physical—not necessarily in a sexual sense—component is an unselfish, able to empathize and think ahead, whereas Cathy
unusual one in Victorian England, which tended to privilege the was impatient and fiery, allowing momentary circumstances to
intellect and spirit above things of the body. make her ill. Catherine is a good listener, and she takes Mrs.
Dean's advice; Cathy was sassy with Mrs. Dean. Catherine and
Cathy are not exact opposites; Catherine's love of nature and
animals reflects Cathy's character, and Catherine, like her

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Chapter Summaries 34

mother, is spirited and emotional by nature, acting out of Mrs. Dean and her father during the day and sneaks over to
natural affection rather than her father's artificial mannerliness. Wuthering Heights to care for Linton every night.
Catherine's inherent goodness and empathy offer a potential
correction to the chaos that Cathy's selfishness unleashed.
The nature imagery in the chapter is used metaphorically.
Thorns and stickers represent Cathy's moral dilemma. Catherine and Linton's lack of passion contrasts with Cathy
Catherine is stuck, and Heathcliff uses guilt to make her feel and Heathcliff's all-consuming love. Catherine's visit mirrors an
more stuck and to separate her from Mrs. Dean—represented event from the past—when Edgar visits Cathy and she has a
by the wall between them. In the previous chapter, Mrs. Dean violent tantrum and manipulates Edgar into staying afterward.
describes Catherine's eyes as "radiant with cloudless Edgar is the proper gentleman in the past encounter; Cathy the
pleasure." In this chapter, the meeting with Heathcliff causes spoiled indulged child. Here, Catherine is the nurse, and Linton
Mrs. Dean to say Catherine's "heart was clouded in double is the spoiled indulged child. Further, their physical interactions
darkness." A downpour of rain signals the turn in the plot are cold, lifeless, and clinical; they disappoint Catherine, who is
toward stormier times ahead. eager for a romance. Linton's illness also reflects a difference
from the past: Cathy suffered from a broken heart. Linton is
shown to be insufferable. The symbolic ghost of the past
Chapter 23 lingers in the present when Linton and Catherine argue over
their fathers' different versions of the truth, and it creates a
loose dramatic irony that flows through the novel—the reader
Summary knows much more about the past than Linton and Catherine.
The reader gets a front row seat to the effects of different
Catherine and Mrs. Dean cross the moors to visit Linton. The combinations of mixed bloodlines and environments—nature
day before, Heathcliff told Catherine that Linton is dying and nurture—over time, while the characters are
because she stopped writing her letters to him. When they unknowledgeable about where they come from and what
arrive, Linton tells Catherine not to kiss him because it takes exactly is influencing their behavior.
his breath away. He is angry he had to write to her because it
tired him and then his father blamed him, saying he is a "painful,
shuffling, worthless thing" because Catherine never visits. "Are Chapter 24
you glad to see me?" Catherine asks many times. Linton says
he wants to marry her so she will take care of him. Catherine
says being brother and sister is better, that husbands and Summary
wives sometimes hate each other. This leads to an argument
about their fathers. Catherine defends Edgar and Linton Michael, a servant who works in the stables, has been helping
defends Heathcliff. Angry, Catherine shoves Linton's chair, Catherine sneak out in exchange for books. Mrs. Dean catches
causing him to choke and cough. Catherine returning from visiting Linton at Wuthering Heights.
Catherine, distressed by lying, confesses all the details to Mrs.
Catherine apologizes, saying, "I couldn't have been hurt by that
Dean. At first, the visits go well, and Zillah makes everything
little push, and I had no idea that you could, either." Linton does
comfortable for Catherine and Linton. One night, Hareton tries
not accept Catherine's apology, but when she tries to leave, he
to impress Catherine by showing her that he can read his name
writhes on the floor in agony "determined to be as grievous
above the door, but Catherine laughs at him when he can't
and harassing as he can be," according to Mrs. Dean.
decipher the numbers. Then she goes inside to visit with
Catherine spends another hour trying to make him
Linton. Hareton, a while later, bursts into the room and throws
comfortable, propping his pillows and reciting poetry for him
Linton on the floor. Then he shoves him and Catherine into the
while he leans on her for support.
kitchen. Linton screams that he'll kill Hareton for this, and then
Back at Thrushcross Grange, Mrs. Dean catches a cold that chokes so violently, blood comes out of his mouth. Catherine
incapacitates her for three weeks. Catherine diligently nurses runs for Zillah, but when they return, Hareton is carrying Linton

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Chapter Summaries 35

upstairs to his room. Joseph laughs at Catherine and Linton, upstairs and tries to apologize, matching Catherine's nature
happy to see justice served in Hareton's realization that he is completely. Joseph supplies the idea of justice (his glee over
the true master of Wuthering Heights. Catherine ignores Hareton getting the first inklings of it), which is always hidden
Joseph and leaves on her pony soon after. Hareton catches up nearby when ideas about pride, humility, judgment, and pity are
to her out on the moors, trying to apologize, but Catherine being explored.
lashes him with her whip, and he curses and gallops away.

Catherine also tells Mrs. Dean about a quarrel she had with
Linton over their different visions of a perfect day. Then
Chapter 25
Catherine begs Mrs. Dean not to tell Edgar, so she can
continue to see Linton. Mrs. Dean promises to consider it, and
then goes directly to Edgar, telling him everything. Edgar
forbids Catherine from visiting Wuthering Heights.
In the present, Mrs. Dean encourages Mr. Lockwood to
consider a romance with Catherine. Then she rewinds the

Analysis story to a little less than a year ago when Edgar's death is
imminent. Linton has been writing letters pressuring Edgar to

Catherine's character has a unique relationship with the allow him to marry Catherine. Edgar considers the marriage,

servants in the novel, and Brontë uses the difference between and Mrs. Dean reassures him with the idea that Catherine will

her and the other characters to explore how pride is be rewarded in the marriage because she does her duty. He

destructive but humility overcomes class prejudices and leads has set aside a yearly income for Catherine, but the only way

to justice. Catherine sees the servants for who they are. She for her to live permanently at Thrushcross Grange is through

respects them, knows their hopes and aspirations, helps them, marriage with Linton, the male heir. Edgar agrees to let Mrs.

and calls them by their first names. Slowly but steadily, Dean accompany Catherine weekly to see Linton out on the

Catherine is becoming a character worthy of a happy ending. moors.

Giving Michael books from Catherine's personal collection, not

just those from the library, "satisfied him better." This is a
powerful clue for analyzing the meaning of Catherine's
interactions with the servants. Zillah's kindness provides
Mr. Lockwood's romantic interest in Catherine is intended to
imagery of the good will that flows when class distinctions
throw the reader off the trail, as the novel toys, again, with the
aren't interfering. Zillah prepares a "clean" room, a "good" fire,
reader's expectation for a conventional happy ending.
and warm "wine," all of which have religious associations,
entwining the central theme in this chapter with the theme of
A core message for the theme of good versus evil comes from
good versus evil. Mrs. Dean, who, at times, represents the
Mrs. Dean's comment: "People who do their duty are always
moral compass and judge of the other characters' spiritual
finally rewarded." This connects to well-known religious ideas
qualities throughout the novel, has found Catherine to be an
of the time about the virtue of being a humble servant, alluded
apt pupil for her moral teaching. Later, in the kind of detail
to throughout Wuthering Heights.
exemplifying Brontë's extraordinary craft, Catherine sweetly
gives Mrs. Dean credit for supplying the song she uses to What the readers know, but the characters do not, is that all
charm Linton. It is very rare for a servant to receive gratitude because of Edgar's insistence on Thrushcross Grange going to
or credit in the novel. a male heir—even though Edgar could make a clause in the will
and leave it to his daughter—Heathcliff is leveraging a race
The contradiction found in Catherine's behavior toward
between Linton and Edgar's death and Linton and Catherine's
Hareton—that she cannot give Hareton the kindness she gives
to the servants—is the main point of the chapter, as well as the
result: violence. Hareton attacks Linton, as a way to rechannel
his violent feelings toward Catherine. Notably, developing the
message about love in the novel, Hareton carries Linton

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Chapter Summaries 36

When Linton arrives on the moors, he's angry Catherine is late:

Chapter 26 "Is your father not very ill? I thought you wouldn't come."
Catherine takes offense, urging him to tell the truth, that he
only pretends to like her. But that is not the problem. Linton is
Summary terrified, but he won't say why. He'll only say he'll be killed if
Catherine leaves him, then he breaks down, sobbing and
Catherine sets out on her horse to meet Linton halfway holding onto her skirt. When it looks like she will stay, he says,
between Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange, but "perhaps you will consent." Feeling Linton is hiding something
Linton is so ill he only makes it a quarter of a mile away from from her, Catherine asks, "You wouldn't hurt me, Linton, would
his home. Catherine is concerned for Linton; he's grown you? You wouldn't let any enemy hurt me?" Linton admits
thinner and paler than when she saw him last. He is withdrawn, something is wrong; Heathcliff threatened him, but he can't tell
confused, and snappish. He asks Catherine to lie to her father her why.
and say he is healthy, and to not provoke Heathcliff's anger
against him. He begs Catherine to stay another half hour, and Heathcliff shows up and lures Catherine and Mrs. Dean back to
then falls asleep while she looks for berries with Mrs. Dean. Wuthering Heights, using the excuse that Linton is too sick to
Catherine, eager to leave his sour company, takes off on her walk on his own and too afraid to let Heathcliff touch him.
horse as Heathcliff approaches. "Come then, my hero. Are you willing to return escorted by
me?" Heathcliff says sarcastically, but it's actually a ploy. Back
at Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff convinces Mrs. Dean and
Analysis Catherine to come inside, and when they enter, he shuts the
door and locks it. Observing Catherine and Linton, Heathcliff
Continuing the loose and flowing dramatic irony in the novel, says to Mrs. Dean, "It's odd what savage feeling I have to
the reader knows that Heathcliff is forcing Linton to meet with anything that seems afraid of me! Had I been born where laws
Catherine; Linton is too ill to love anyone, let alone play the part are less strict and tastes less dainty, I should treat myself to a
of a romantic lover, and Catherine is too inexperienced to fully slow vivisection of those two, for an evening's amusement."
realize it—although she does notice it seems like Linton is
Catherine's furious Heathcliff has locked her in when her father
being compelled. Their love is the opposite of the consuming,
is dying. She wrestles the key from his hand, biting and
jealous love between Heathcliff and Cathy. However, Catherine
scratching, but he grabs her and hits her head. Mrs. Dean
and Linton have more tenderness and understanding between
attacks, calling Heathcliff a villain, but Heathcliff pushes her
them. As Catherine tries to force a romantic interaction, she
back. Meanwhile, Linton is perfectly composed now that he is
becomes blind to Linton's illness. Linton explains the reasons
out of danger, which disgusts Mrs. Dean. Then Linton explains
for his behavior, a major departure from Heathcliff and Cathy's
Heathcliff's plan: he wants Catherine and Linton to marry
inability to communicate with each other in the past.
before Edgar dies.

When Heathcliff returns, Catherine begs him to let her go

Chapter 27 home. Catherine agrees to marry Linton; she asks only to go
home first, so Edgar knows she is safe. Heathcliff says no and
locks them in Zillah's room. The next morning, he lets
Summary Catherine out, but Mrs. Dean is held prisoner for the next five
Edgar Linton will die soon, and Catherine is always at his
bedside. On the day she is supposed to meet Linton, she
doesn't want to go, but Edgar urges her, finding comfort in Analysis
knowing she won't be alone in the world after he dies. Mrs.
Dean thinks Edgar is mistaken in thinking Linton is like him in This chapter is the climax of the story-within-the-story in the
character just because they look alike, "for Linton's letters bore novel. Pointedly, Heathcliff calls Linton "hero" when Linton's
few or no indications of his defective character." laying a trap for his beloved, which is not heroic at all. As the

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Chapter Summaries 37

love interest in the second half of the novel, Linton, morally how kind Catherine was when she did not have to be. Linton
weak and physically dying, is a failed romantic hero; he lacks will not tell Mrs. Dean where the bedroom key is. Mrs. Dean
the charismatic energy necessary to bend the universe to his calls Linton a heartless, selfish boy, but she perceives "the
will, be a champion of individuality, and overcome the dark wretched creature had no power to sympathize with his
forces of his father's hatred to be Catherine's champion. The cousin's mental tortures."
chapter is built to expose Linton for all that he really is: once
the threat of violence is gone, Linton turns back to his upper- Mrs. Dean rushes out and runs across the moors to

class, spoiled nature. Catherine is emerging the true romantic Thrushcross Grange. She sends servants back to break

hero of the story-within-the-story. She physically fights Catherine out of Wuthering Heights. She tells Edgar a softened

Heathcliff, and though he overpowers her, she does not give in version of what happened. Edgar tells Mrs. Dean to call Mr.

to flaws that subsume other characters. Since the beginning of Green, his lawyer, to change the will. But unknowing the whole

her relationship with Linton, Catherine has been the romantic truth—that Linton is also dying—Edgar only slightly makes

pursuer, transgressing traditional (for the time the novel was changes to the will: Thrushcross Grange will be left to any male

written) social boundaries of male and female. children Catherine has.

Heathcliff's larger role of antihero in the novel is temporarily The servants come back without Catherine, believing a lie

dropped to villain status. Mrs. Dean literally calls him "villain" to Heathcliff tells. Mrs. Dean plans to send more armed servants

make it clear, and the idea is woven throughout the chapter; it tomorrow, but Catherine shows up in the morning. She

hardly needs declaration. Whatever hope the reader had of sneaked out with a little help from Linton. Keeping Heathcliff's

redemption for the antihero Heathcliff, it is annihilated in this crimes to herself, Catherine sits quietly with Edgar as he dies.

chapter with his gruesome, Gothic notion—when he suggests Mr. Green finally shows up; he works for Heathcliff now, and he

cutting into and eating the children while they are alive, and for fires all of the servants except Mrs. Dean; Heathcliff allows

pleasure. Catherine to stay at Thrushcross Grange until after the funeral.

Chapter 28 Analysis
The horror of Linton's behavior, mirroring Heathcliff's cruelty, is
meant to arouse an intense emotional response, as Linton
Summary surprises the reader with one shocking revelation relishing
violence and power over Catherine after another, all while he
Mrs. Dean, freed from imprisonment in Zillah's room, looks for pretends to be innocent. Women have limited legal rights, and
Catherine. She finds out from Linton that Catherine is still even a man like Edgar, gentle and loving toward his daughter,
locked in his bedroom. Acting innocent and sucking on a piece leaves her powerless in the world. Linton may be weak, and
of candy, Linton tells Mrs. Dean, Heathcliff "says I'm not to be thus superficially resemble the gentle Edgar, but Brontë makes
soft ... she's my wife ... it's shameful that she should wish to it clear that weakness is not the same thing as deliberate
leave me" and that Catherine wants all of Linton's money. gentleness, and Linton's weakness does not prevent his
Linton tells Mrs. Dean he will never let her leave. He says cruelty.
everything that was hers is his now: "All her nice books ... her
pretty birds ... her pony Minny," and he told Catherine the same The limitations of Linton's and Catherine's understanding of
when she offered them to him as a bribe to unlock the their marriage create another moment of dramatic irony: Linton
bedroom, so she can see Edgar before he dies. She even is glad to have his cousin's possessions and pony, like one
offers her locket with Edgar and Cathy's pictures inside, but child jealous of another's toy, and is oblivious to his father's
Linton says those are his too, and he tears the locket from her larger goal of revenge. Catherine, frantic to go home to her
neck. Heathcliff comes when Catherine screams; he smashes father, has no sense of the permanent damage she has caused
the locket with his foot and hits Catherine on the mouth. Linton herself to gain a few moments at Edgar's bedside.
admits it made him glad, until her mouth filled with blood. Mrs.
Dean is horrified by Linton's behavior, and she reminds him The limitations of the law, which Heathcliff exploits for the

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Chapter Summaries 38

purposes of revenge, are on display in this chapter. Heathcliff fractions of hairbreadths."

is able to bribe a supposedly honorable lawyer, and he uses
inheritance law, which was intended to keep money and When Catherine is ready to leave, she says goodbye, and

property within families, as a way to control everything Heathcliff tells Mrs. Dean not to visit her at Wuthering Heights.

belonging to the Lintons.

Yet, Mrs. Dean pities more than judges at a place in the novel Analysis
where if ever there were a time to judge and cry out for justice,
it would be now, driving deeper a core message in the pity Heathcliff calls Catherine a "boastful champion," reinforcing
versus judgment theme. Here is the extreme example of a the idea of Catherine being the romantic hero of the story-
"heartless" and "selfish" character, but pity still holds greater within-the-story.
value than judgment. Mrs. Dean's words reflect the heart of the
Linton, a failed hero in Chapter 27, villainous in Chapter 28, has
theme: "You could pity your own suffering; and she pitied them,
transformed into a nervous wreck that "wakes and shrieks in
too; but you won't pity hers!" Mrs. Dean, who advocates pity
the night by the hour." It is significant that Heathcliff tells Mrs.
throughout the novel, does not give in to revenge or violence.
Dean his "presence is as potent on [Linton's] nerves as a
ghost" moments before revealing Cathy's ghost is haunting

Chapter 29 him. This introduces the symbol of ghosts in the chapter.

Linton is following in his father's footsteps, yet, mirroring
Heathcliff's fate at a much faster clip. Linton, unlike Heathcliff
in some ways, has little concern for anything besides his own
Summary comfort, and it makes a powerful difference in the kind of
cruelty each inflicts on others. Ultimately, Linton is just a sick
The night after Edgar's funeral, Heathcliff comes to little boy being tormented by his father while he is dying; his
Thrushcross Grange to bring Catherine back to Wuthering cruelty to Catherine is lessened in the face of his mortality and
Heights. Heathcliff says his presence is "as potent on [Linton's] unhappiness.
nerves as a ghost." Mrs. Dean asks if Catherine and Linton may
move to Thrushcross Grange, but Heathcliff says no because Neither Mrs. Dean nor the reader has been privy to Heathcliff's
he plans to rent it to a tenant. Catherine agrees to return to emotional interior since the death of Cathy; he has simply
Wuthering Heights, declaring Linton is all she has left to love in functioned as an antagonist and villain. All at once, the reader
the world now. Heathcliff calls her a "boastful champion," then discovers the extent to which Cathy has been haunting
laughs at her because he heard Linton telling Zillah how he Heathcliff. The reader will wonder if he has gone mad. The
would treat Catherine if he were as strong as Heathcliff. "I passion that seemed like love when Cathy was alive will now
know he has a bad nature." Catherine says. "He's your son." look like obsession or insanity. The biblical reference to
But she can forgive Linton and love him. Jesus's experience in the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus
yearns for God's comfort so strongly he sweats blood,
When Catherine leaves to pack her things, Heathcliff tells Mrs. connects to Heathcliff's intensity in the chapter, perhaps to
Dean he dug up Cathy's grave last night, and she has not show how troubled and obsessed Heathcliff is.
decomposed yet. He plans to be buried in the same casket
with her when he dies. He also tells Mrs. Dean about the time
he tried to dig up Cathy's grave right after she died. He
stopped digging because he heard Cathy's spirit sighing in his
Chapter 30
ear. Her ghost has haunted him ever since; but he can only
hear and feel her, and he longs to see her. That night, he says,
"I ought to have sweat blood then, from the anguish of my
yearning—from the fervor of my supplications to have but one
It is about six weeks after Mr. Lockwood rents Thrushcross
glimpse." Heathcliff says Cathy has been a devil to him in death
Grange. Mrs. Dean hasn't seen Catherine since Heathcliff took
as she was in life; she has killed him "not by inches, but by
her to Wuthering Heights. Mrs. Dean runs into Zillah on the

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Chapter Summaries 39

moors, and Zillah gossips about what's happened since

Catherine came to live there:
The first thing Catherine does when she arrives at Wuthering This chapter continues to explore the negative aspects of
Heights is to run upstairs to check on Linton, without stopping division between social classes. Neglecting to say hello causes
to say hello to Zillah. Then Catherine comes downstairs and distance between Catherine and Zillah, who would have been a
requests a doctor or help for Linton because he'll die good ally for Catherine. Zillah judges Catherine rather than
otherwise, but Heathcliff tells her, "None here cares what pities her because she does not know, as the reader does,
becomes of him; if you do, act the nurse; if you do not, lock him everything Catherine has suffered and that Catherine is the
up and leave him." So Catherine nurses Linton as best she can. humblest of the privileged characters—at least, according to
She asks Zillah, Joseph, and Hareton for help, but they all fear Mrs. Dean. The novel's structure, using the difference between
Heathcliff and refuse to help. Zillah explains to Mrs. Dean, Mrs. Dean's narration and Zillah's viewpoint supports the
"Though I thought it wrong Kenneth should not be sent for, it judgment versus pity theme. Catherine seems prideful, but
was no concern of mine ... once or twice ... I've seen her crying really, she is in a terrible situation requiring a great deal of
on the stairs'-top; and then I've shut myself in quick for fear of inner strength. Also, the abusive and violent Wuthering Heights
being moved to interfere. I did pity her then, I'm sure; still, I environment strikes again with its tendency to have a negative
didn't wish to lose my place, you know." effect on every character that lives there.

The night Linton dies, Catherine is silent and exhausted. Catherine's predicament—being Linton's sole caregiver, alone
Heathcliff asks her how she feels, and she tells him "you have with the horror of death—is a very Gothic scenario, and it
left me so long to struggle against death alone, that I feel and continues the exploration of apathy from Chapter 27.
see only death." Zillah gives Catherine some wine, and Heathcliff leaves Catherine to fend for herself or choose
Heathcliff leaves her alone for a fortnight. When Catherine apathy. Here, apathy equals violence—if the reader carries
emerges from her room, she is angry with everyone because of Catherine's alternate choice through to its conclusion and
all she's gone through: "When I would have given my life for envisions the horror of Catherine actually leaving Linton to die
one kind word ... all kept off." Zillah says, "The more hurt she utterly alone. Also, Zillah finds pity for Catherine at times, but
gets, the more venomous she grows." she shuts the door to shut out her feelings. This illustrates how
fear is stronger than pity, and it shows how fear creates
In the aftermath of Linton's death, Zillah encourages a apathy. Zillah is not entirely against Catherine; she is unwilling
romance between Catherine and Hareton, to which Mrs. Dean to risk her job, but she does advise Catherine to pursue a
objects. Zillah says, "You happen to think your young lady too relationship with Hareton. This demonstrates the powerful
fine for Mr. Hareton ... but I own I should love well to bring her impact servants have in their masters' lives; how much
pride a peg lower ... what will all her learning and daintiness do servants are willing to risk for their masters, or how much
for her now?" Zillah also tells Mrs. Dean that Heathcliff coerced empathy they have for them, can alter their destinies or
Linton to sign a will leaving Thrushcross Grange to him, but dramatically affect their emotional wellbeing.
since Linton is a minor, he couldn't leave the land; it belongs to
Catherine. But having no money or friends, Mrs. Dean Zillah points out that Catherine is poorer than she and Mrs.
supposes, Catherine will not be able take the house from Dean, highlighting the reality for privileged women from the
Heathcliff. Mrs. Dean considers renting a cottage for her and novel's time; under the wrong circumstances, it is better to be a
Catherine to live in, but she knows Heathcliff would never allow servant earning a wage than a woman of privilege under the
it. rule of a cruel male tyrant—husband or relative.

Mrs. Dean's story has ended. Mr. Lockwood tells the reader he
plans to go back to London, so he's going to visit Wuthering Chapter 31
Heights to tell Heathcliff he's leaving.

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Chapter Summaries 40

atmosphere of the town!"

Mr. Lockwood visits Wuthering Heights to tell Heathcliff he is
going back to London. Carrying a little note for Catherine, from
Mrs. Dean, Mr. Lockwood waits at the "jealous gate," always
The novel has repeatedly asked the Victorian reader to
locked, until Hareton lets him in. Catherine is in the kitchen,
consider the value of pity and the peril of judgment. Now, the
cooking, when Mr. Lockwood enters. Mr. Lockwood observes
reader enters the chapter with full knowledge of the major
that she is sulky and less spirited than when he saw her last;
joys, disappointments, injustices, and abuse—the greatest
she hardly looks at him, and he comments, "She's a beauty, it is
good, the worst bad—Heathcliff, Hareton, and Catherine have
true; but not an angel."
delivered or suffered. The reader no longer needs Mrs. Dean's

Now, in the parlor with Catherine and Hareton, Mr. Lockwood explanations or Mr. Lockwood's observations as he walks

drops the note on Catherine's lap. "What is that?" she asks through the Wuthering Heights "jealous gate," always fastened.

loudly, and Hareton confiscates it. Embarrassed (afraid they The knowledge of the characters is unlocked, and the reader is

will think the letter is from him), Mr. Lockwood explains that it's free to choose between pity and judgment while witnessing the

from Mrs. Dean. Catherine ignores Mr. Lockwood, but he urges characters' present day behaviors and interactions.

her to speak with him; Mrs. Dean will expect a reply of some
And now, the reader also has the ability to assess Mr.
sort. "Does Ellen like you?" Catherine asks. "Yes, very well," Mr.
Lockwood's character accurately. As the chapter progresses
Lockwood replies. Catherine tells him to tell Mrs. Dean that she
the reader will be able to measure Mr. Lockwood's
would write, but she doesn't have any paper—or books.
observations against the reader's own interpretations. When
Mentioning books brings up an ongoing argument between
Mr. Lockwood first met Heathcliff, Catherine, and Hareton, the
Hareton and Catherine. She teases Hareton, in front of Mr.
reader saw these figures through his eyes, and may have
Lockwood, about the way he sounds when he's trying to read
judged them to be uncouth and impolite, as he did. Now, the
aloud. She accuses Hareton of spitefully stealing all of her
reader parts ways with Mr. Lockwood: he knows their
books, and when Hareton offers to give them back, she tells
circumstances, but is too pompous and oblivious to feel
him they are debased and "profaned in his mouth!" She never
empathy for them, and he makes himself ridiculous in the
wants them back. Hareton, embarrassed, hits Catherine, and
reader's eyes by imagining that it would be "more romantic
Mr. Lockwood thinks, "The little wretch had done her utmost to
than a fairy tale" for him to carry Catherine off. The reader,
hurt her cousin's sensitive though uncultivated feelings, and a
knowing the characters' backstories now, is much more likely
physical argument was the only mode he had of balancing the
to pity them and to empathize with their unhappiness.

Hareton goes outside as Heathcliff returns. Catherine slips into

the kitchen. They discuss the rental agreement. Perceiving Mr. Chapter 32
Lockwood is trying to get out of paying the full year, Heathcliff
tells him, "I never relent in exacting my due from anyone." Mr.
Lockwood promises to pay. During dinner, Mr. Lockwood Summary
wonders why Catherine doesn't want to eat with him. He
supposes "living among clowns and misanthropes, she A hunting trip brings Mr. Lockwood near Gimmerton, so he
probably cannot appreciate a better class of people when she decides to visit Wuthering Heights and pay the rest of his bill
meets them." for renting Thrushcross Grange. He arrives at Thrushcross
Grange first. A servant he does not recognize answers the
Mr. Lockwood would like to catch one more glimpse of door. "Are you the housekeeper?" he asks. She replies, "Eea,
Catherine before he leaves, but Heathcliff walks him outside. Aw keep the hause," and she tells him "Mistress" Dean works
Mr. Lockwood muses, "What a realisation of something more at Wuthering Heights now. The servant is frantic because Mr.
romantic than a fairytale it would have been for Mrs. Linton Lockwood arrived unannounced, so he is unable to ask her any
Heathcliff, had she and I struck up an attachment, as her good more questions.
nurse desired, and migrated together into the stirring

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Chapter Summaries 41

When he arrives at Wuthering Heights, the gate is unlocked, so righted the wrongs of the past generation by rising above
Mr. Lockwood has an opportunity to eavesdrop on a pride. Happiness, love, and peace are rewards for their
conversation between Hareton and Catherine in the kitchen. openness and humanity toward one another.
Catherine is teaching Hareton to read, and giving him slaps and
kisses as rewards or reprimands, which makes Mr. Lockwood
bitterly jealous, since Catherine is so beautiful. Chapter 33
Once inside, Mrs. Dean says Mr. Lockwood will have to pay his
rent to Catherine. Or, he can settle with Mrs. Dean, since she
helps Catherine with the household finances now. Mr.
Lockwood is confused. Mrs. Dean explains that he must not
In the present, Mrs. Dean explains the events leading up to
have heard; Heathcliff died three months earlier. As Mrs. Dean
Heathcliff's death to Mr. Lockwood.
explains how he died, she first explains how Catherine and
Hareton became friends "by both their minds tending to the
One day, Catherine and Hareton infuriate Joseph by ripping up
same point." Mrs. Dean says she is glad Mr. Lockwood did not
his currant trees to plant a flower garden. Later Joseph
try to win Catherine's heart. The "crown of all her wishes" is
complains to Heathcliff and threatens to leave. He calls
that Catherine and Hareton will marry.
Catherine the devil's temptress and accuses her of casting a
spell on Hareton. He thinks Mrs. Dean's song about fairies is
evil too. Heathcliff has recently come home, and seeing
Analysis Catherine and Hareton being peaceful and loving disturbs him.
He yells at Catherine for daring to alter Joseph's garden, or
This chapter is connected to the underlying meaning in the
touch even a stick at Wuthering Heights, but when she
novel's title. Mrs. Dean, Catherine, and Hareton have withstood
responds that he's stolen her money and Hareton's and that
the wuthering atmosphere and Heathcliff's stormy violence and
Hareton will defend her now, Heathcliff grabs her by the hair.
revenge. Also, the chapter contains a nod to the servant's role
Hareton begs him not to hurt Catherine, just this one time, and
in the lives of the privileged when Mr. Lockwood asks the new
he tries to pry Heathcliff's fingers out of Catherine's hair.
servant, "Are you the housekeeper?" and her response—I keep
the house—implies she does so much more than dust and The next night, they all quietly eat dinner together, and after
sweep. The reader has learned through observing Mrs. Dean signaling for Catherine and Hareton to leave the table,
that a servant can love, protect, and serve with the fierce Heathcliff opens up to Mrs. Dean: "It is a poor conclusion, is it
loyalty of a family member, and servants wield a significant not," he begins, and he continues, "I get levers and mattocks to
amount of power over their masters' happiness and fate. demolish the two houses ... now would be the precise time to
revenge myself ... but where is the use? I don't care for striking
The motif of locked doors, walls, and windows signifying
... that sounds as if I had been labouring the whole time only to
boundaries and social isolation as characters search for where
exhibit a fine trait of magnanimity." Heathcliff tells Mrs. Dean
they belong, comes to its resolution: all the doors, windows,
he has changed, and he feels strange. Hareton seems more
and gates are unlocked. The dynamic between Catherine and
like a personification of his youth than a human being;
Hareton is significant in this context; they have crossed the
Heathcliff tells Mrs. Dean that "Hareton's aspect was the ghost
boundaries between them, symbolized by Catherine's blond
of my immortal love; of my wild endeavours to hold my right: my
ringlets intermingling with Hareton's brown locks. Catherine
degradation, my pride, my happiness, and my anguish."
and Hareton have made peace through books. Earlier in the
Heathcliff's words worry Mrs. Dean. She wants to know if he is
novel, the question of which is more valuable, physical strength
afraid to die. Heathcliff says he is yearning to attain it with his
and humility or intellectual power is presented. Catherine and
whole being.
Hareton balance the two when Catherine drops her false pride
over being more educated than Hareton. This resolves the past
(when Hindley took Heathcliff's opportunity for education
away). Hindley was the true villain all along, and his cruelty set
in motion a cycle of unhappiness. The present generation has

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Chapter Summaries 42

When Hareton tries to talk to him, Heathcliff tells him to get

Analysis away, go to Catherine, and "he wondered how I could want the
company of anybody else." Mrs. Dean has no luck coaxing
Joseph's view of women is revealed in this chapter, and the
Heathcliff to eat. She finds him wandering around, talking to
argument he has with Catherine and Hareton about destroying
the air as if someone were there, and clenching his hand when
his garden is an allusion to the story of Adam and Eve from the
he reaches for food. Not being able to shake off her bad
Old Testament. The idea of yoking, another biblical reference
feeling, she offers to find a minister to explain the Bible to him
in the chapter, relates to doing one's duty, so, here, Joseph is
in case he dies, but he says, "No minister need come; nor
emphatically denying to do what he knows is right in terms of
anything be said over me.—I tell you I have nearly attained my
his religious beliefs, making the point that Joseph's skewed
heaven; and that of others is altogether unvalued and
view of women is the source of his long-running hypocrisy.
uncoveted by me."
The past, represented symbolically by Cathy's ghost in the
Mrs. Dean worries constantly about him until she goes to
chapter, lives in the present everywhere for Heathcliff, but
check on him one morning when he sleeps late, and she finds
nowhere as clearly as it does in Hareton's and Catherine's eyes
him dead in Cathy's childhood bedroom. The lattice is open
and burgeoning love. Hareton is Heathcliff. Catherine is Cathy.
and the rain falls on Heathcliff's corpse. The corpse's sneering
Hareton and Catherine in the present are Heathcliff and Cathy
grin and wide-open eyes horrify Mrs. Dean. She tries to close
in their childhood. All are related through Cathy, and this
his eyes, but they won't stay shut. Joseph says Heathcliff looks
inescapable truth disarms Heathcliff's final act of revenge and
wicked and the devil's taken his soul. Only Hareton grieves
softens him. However, the novel makes certain readers make
profoundly for Heathcliff, holding his hand and kissing his face.
no mistake about what Heathcliff is. He wasn't secretly
working the whole time toward a happy ending. The past Mrs. Dean describes the funeral to Mr. Lockwood. Then she
turning good in the present deflated him; or perhaps the sight tells him about the rumors and sightings of Heathcliff's and
of love and friendship arising even in terrible circumstances Cathy's ghosts. Even Mrs. Dean is afraid at night now, and she
allows Heathcliff to see beyond his own selfish, warped love. tells of a boy with a lamb and two sheep who she discovered
Heathcliff remains an antihero, not a romantic hero, and the crying on the moors one night. The sheep refused to walk
themes of violence and revenge and good versus evil will end toward the ghosts of Cathy and Heathcliff.
with this moral conclusion.

Chapter 34
The structure of the chapter takes Heathcliff quickly through
the steps necessary to draw the conclusion that Heathcliff's
Summary love is entirely obsession and he has chosen Cathy over
redemption. It would have been tempting to imagine Heathcliff
A strange illness overtakes Heathcliff and changes his being redeemed by Hareton and Catherine's happier
personality. He is restless; he can't eat and he's unusually reincarnation of his romance with Cathy, but Brontë makes the
bright and cheerful. Mrs. Dean is curious why. Heathcliff laughs issue more complex than that. Heathcliff is "within the sight of
and tells her, "Last night, I was on the threshold of hell. To-day, my heaven," which suggests that he still lives in a moral
I am within sight of my heaven." Mrs. Dean, perplexed, wonders universe centered around his and Cathy's love, rather than any
if he's a ghoul or vampire, going as far as to remember larger spiritual or moral code. Since her death, Heathcliff has
Heathcliff's whole life and how when Mr. Earnshaw brought always longed for the company of Cathy's ghost, so it will not
Heathcliff home, "the little dark thing was harboured by a good be surprising when he rejects Mrs. Dean's offer to fetch a
man to his bane." She shakes off her thoughts as superstitious, minister. It is understandable what Heathcliff means by heaven
then she sees a vision of Heathcliff's grave, which comes true when he says, "I tell you I have nearly attained my heaven; and
a few days later. that of others is altogether unvalued and uncoveted by me."
Heaven means being with Cathy, and Cathy, while alive, made
Meanwhile, Heathcliff's good mood confuses Hareton too. the same choice. The novel seems to suggest, for Heathcliff,

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Quotes 43

eternal damnation with Cathy is better than being in heaven

where they are sure of foes."
without her, and because of this choice, both are left outside of
heaven, doomed to wander the moors. It is up to the reader to
— Mrs. Dean, Chapter 7
decide whether Heathcliff and Cathy have doomed themselves
to an eternity of restless unhappiness, or whether they have
managed to create a version of happiness uniquely suited to Speaking of Heathcliff's eyes, Mrs. Dean delivers sage advice
themselves and their turbulent love. to the still receptive and redeemable young Heathcliff, who is
at a crossroads between developing into an angel or devil, a
good or evil person.
g Quotes
"Here! and here! ... In my soul and
"Guests are so exceedingly rare in
in my heart, I'm convinced I'm
this house that I and my dogs, I am
willing to own, hardly know how to
receive them." — Cathy, Chapter 9

— Heathcliff, Chapter 1 Cathy shares her intuition with young Mrs. Dean after
accepting Edgar's marriage proposal. Cathy's presentiment,
visions, and intuition will increase as the plot twists and turns
Heathcliff is referring to his dogs, but unbeknownst to Mr.
from this point forward.
Lockwood in this moment, Heathcliff has treated the children in
his care, Hareton and Catherine, similarly—he both owns them
and discourages their education, domestication, or highborn
manners, foreshadowing how the children will behave as "My love for Linton is like the
nastily as the dogs when Mr. Lockwood meets them. foliage in the woods: time will
change it ... as winter changes the
"Proud people breed sad sorrows trees. My love for Heathcliff
for themselves." resembles the eternal rocks
beneath ... Nelly, I am Heathcliff!"
— Mrs. Dean, Chapter 7

— Cathy, Chapter 9
Mrs. Dean's advice to Heathcliff carries a main message in the
novel and reveals the core of the theme of Pride versus
Humility. Cathy discerns between her temporal love for Edgar and her
eternal love for Heathcliff; comparing Heathcliff to an eternal
rock has religious associations, and in some ways, Cathy and
Heathcliff's love has a religious quality to it. She feels as he
"Wish and learn to ... change the
feels, and, in her perception, they share one being.
fiends to confident, innocent
angels, suspecting and doubting
"I'll go make peace with Edgar
nothing, and always seeing friends

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Quotes 44

instantly. Good-night! I'm an and pinched it to death, and flung

angel!" it back to me."

— Cathy, Chapter 10 — Isabella, Chapter 17

Cathy is so happy when Heathcliff returns that she reconciles Isabella's "delusional love" contrasts with Cathy's "eternal" love
with God and promises to be good, and, in this instance, makes connection with Heathcliff. This is Isabella's moment of clarity,
up with her husband after a fight. The motif of angels and as she struggles to free herself from false love.
devils supports the theme of good versus evil throughout
Wuthering Heights.
"Treachery and violence are

"You fight against that devil for spears pointed at both ends; they

love as long as you may: when the wound those who resort to them

time comes, not all the angels in worse than their enemies."

heaven shall save him." — Isabella, Chapter 17

— Hindley, Chapter 13
Through Isabella's rejecting an opportunity for revenge, a core
message about violence is delivered to the reader, as her
Hindley wants to kill Heathcliff, but it will take away his chance character contrasts with Heathcliff and Hindley, and she is the
to leave his son an inheritance. The "devil" is both Heathcliff one character who escapes Wuthering Heights.
and an impulse stopping Hindley from killing Heathcliff. This
play on words emphasizes how much Hindley has gone over to
the dark side; he is referring to a good impulse—not to kill—as "One hoped, and the other
a "devil."
despaired: they chose their own
loss, and were righteously doomed
"It is not in him to be loved like me:
to enjoy them."
how can she love in him what he
has not?" — Mrs. Dean, Chapter 17

— Heathcliff, Chapter 14 Comparing Hindley to Edgar, Mrs. Dean "moralizes" on how

Edgar's faith contrasts to Hindley's despair. She makes an
important distinction in mentioning each man chose his path to
Heathcliff mirrors Cathy's earlier confession of love, cementing
redemption or destruction.
the idea in the novel of the two being of one soul, meant only
for each other.

"And we'll see if one tree won't

"He has no claim on my charity. I grow as crooked as another, with
gave him my heart, and he took the same wind to twist it."

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Symbols 45

— Heathcliff, Chapter 17 nature than Linton because she can use it to forgive his bad
nature. Her use of the word revenge here actually extends the
positive connotation of her earlier words. Using verbal irony,
The battering of the wuthering wind on trees symbolizes the
she is both sympathizing with Heathcliff and comforting herself
effect of a violent or negative environment on individuals, as
with the knowledge he is miserable and lonely.
Heathcliff intentionally seeks to lower Hareton from his
birthright as a gentleman into the position of an uneducated

l Symbols
"One is gold put to the use of
paving-stones, and the other is tin Ghosts
polished to ape a service of silver."

— Heathcliff, Chapter 21 Ghosts symbolize lost souls, memory, and the past in
Wuthering Heights, and Brontë uses this symbol to support the
themes of love and obsession and good versus evil. Cathy's
The contrast between Hareton and Linton's innate character
ghost lingers in Heathcliff's memory, supporting love and
traits reinforces a core message about erroneous class
obsession, and then it actively and vengefully pursues
distinctions. "Service of silver" signifies the tea service
Heathcliff in the end, supporting good versus evil.
performed daily by servants for unworthy masters.

When alive, Heathcliff and Cathy curse each other, creating

spiritual anguish, turning their love into obsession, so they will
"He'll undertake to torture any not be parted in death, nor lose each other to the traditional
heaven they both reject. When Heathcliff sees Cathy before
number of cats, if their teeth be
she dies, and she is angry he will continue to live when she is
drawn and their claws pared." gone, he asks her, "Are you possessed with a devil?" and after
her death, he cries out, "May she wake in torment ... I pray one
prayer ... Cathy Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am
— Heathcliff, Chapter 27
living ... I cannot live without my soul!" In Cathy and Heathcliff's
willful desire to haunt and be haunted, the symbolism of ghosts
Heathcliff strikes on the true nature of his son, Linton, whom cannot be extricated from ideas of good and evil in the novel;
Catherine has erroneously made her hero. Brontë establishes by rejecting heaven, both characters become lost souls
Linton as an antihero like his father in this chapter. roaming the earth.

Most of the main characters declare a belief in ghosts: Mrs.

"However miserable you make us, Dean, Joseph, Heathcliff, Mr. Lockwood, and Cathy. The
children of the main characters—Hareton, Catherine,
we shall still have the revenge of Linton—never speak of ghosts. The differentiation in
viewpoints leaves doubt of the reality of Cathy's ghost, and it
thinking that your cruelty arises
reinforces the idea of Cathy's ghost symbolizing memories and
from your greater misery." the past, for youth has no memory of anguish and loss to haunt
the present. Yet, the present is haunted by the past in a sense,
— Catherine, Chapter 29 unknown to the youth but openly exposed for the reader, who
knows more about the past than they do and can see how it
operates in the present. Through the structure of the novel,
Catherine has just told Heathcliff she is glad to have a better
Brontë places the reader alongside the ghost of Cathy, looking

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Symbols 46

in from the outside, aware of the past as she haunts the

present. Dogs

Dogs are used symbolically and as pathetic fallacy—to a lesser

Weather, Wind, and Trees degree than weather—to reflect plot, create tone, and mirror
characters' emotions. Dogs represent instincts, often
protective or violent ones, juxtaposed with training and
Brontë uses weather to produce tone, reflect the plot, and obedience, such as with Hareton, who is turned into a loyal
mirror characters' emotions. The author's use of pathetic watchdog first by Heathcliff and then by Catherine.
fallacy as a literary device is greatest in her symbolism of the Interactions with dogs also mark vital transitions either of plot
weather, wind, and trees, though it is used in other symbols as or of a character's perceptions—as when the unfriendly dog at
well. Typically, storms and rain symbolize angry, violent, or the book's opening shows Mr. Lockwood that he is in unfamiliar
passionate emotions, and breezes and calm weather reflect territory.
peace, hope, and goodness. The use of pathetic fallacy is so
The core of the dog symbolism in Wuthering Heights is
pervasive, the novel can be opened at almost any point in the
expressed by Isabella when she calls Cathy a "dog in the
narrative and the weather will reflect perfectly the events and
manger," alluding to an ancient fable about a dog who guards
characters' emotions of that particular chapter.
hay, useless and inedible to the dog, from a horse or oxen. The
Wind and trees symbolize how the emotions of one character message in the fable comments on the type of person who
shape or disfigure the growth of another character, as much as would rather see someone die than give them something of no
how the emotional and physical environment plays a role in value to the person withholding it, exactly as Heathcliff does to
shaping or contorting a character's disposition. Heathcliff is multiple characters, and as Cathy does to Heathcliff.
used as the mouthpiece to deliver the meaning of the Heathcliff's revenge is a driving force, and acting as a "dog in
symbolism of wind and trees in Chapter 17 when he says to the manger" is how he implements his revenge; and Hindley's
Hareton: "Now my bonny lad, you are mine! And we'll see if one original crime against Heathcliff—taking away his opportunity
tree won't grow as crooked as another, with the same wind to to be educated and have a better life—is also like being a "dog
twist it." in the manger." In this sense, dogs symbolize individuals
treating other individuals as less valuable and less worthy of
happiness and fulfillment and more like possessions to own,
control, and abuse.
The Moors

A moors are barren strips of land unsuitable for planting. They

are used to symbolize the idea of being between—between life
and death and between good and evil with Wuthering Heights
acting as the physical manifestation of evil and Thrushcross Blond hair, or light hair, symbolizes Thrushcross Grange, the
Grange representing good, and the moors between them. That Linton family, indulged privilege, good and angels, weakness,
being established, for Heathcliff and Cathy, the moors are a gentleness, education, and the matching dispositions of Edgar
place of freedom from their unhappy home life and from the and Isabella, and then later, Catherine and Linton.
difference in their social circumstances, which keep them
Black hair, or dark hair, symbolizes Wuthering Heights, the
separate at other times. Ultimately, Heathcliff and Cathy's love
Earnshaw family, privilege thwarted or taken down in status,
of roaming the moors reflects their rejection of heaven and
evil and devils, strength, passion, rejection of education, and
choice of roaming the between, neither on earth nor in heaven.
the matching dispositions of Heathcliff and Cathy.

The symbol is made complete at the end of the novel in

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Themes 47

Chapter 32 when Mr. Lockwood, observing Catherine and believes he is good, but having no qualities of love or the good
Hareton, sees Catherine's blond hair dangling and mingling established in the novel (pity, humility) serves to create an
with Hareton's dark hair, representing love overcoming good environment on the side of evil instead of good.
and evil and a restored peace and unity.

Judgment versus Pity

m Themes
Brontë differentiates between biblical judgment, as reserved

Good versus Evil for the divine, and personal judgment between individuals,
which is always accompanied with a choice between judgment
and pity. Generally, a lack of pity leads to pain, injustice, and
suffering for the person judged, making the thematic
An exploration of religious-based ideas of good and evil create statement that to judge others is harmful to them, unjust, and
the primary theme in Wuthering Heights, and the themes of not a right reserved for human beings. Repeatedly, the reader
judgment versus pity, love and obsession, and violence and is provoked to feel pity over judgment for the characters, even
revenge, which are also religiously rooted, support it. The four Heathcliff and Hindley, and shown the disturbing results of an
lesser themes indicate individual choices, which add up to absence of pity, such as Linton's treatment of Catherine and
either good or evil. Pity, humility, love and forgiveness—the his ensuing horrible death.
opposite of revenge—add up to choosing good; judgment,
pride, obsession, and violence add up to choosing evil. The first Commentary on class distinctions is woven into the judgment
half of the novel explores the idea of natural inclinations versus pity theme. The servants are always expected to feel
toward one or the other—good or evil—through a repetition and sympathy for their masters. Masters are inclined to judge, and
juxtaposition of devil and angel imagery and biblical references are usually portrayed to lack pity. When servants lack pity at
as the narrator, Mrs. Dean, wonders if Heathcliff and Cathy are, times—Zillah toward Catherine and Mrs. Dean toward
or will turn out to be, good or evil. During this section, Brontë Cathy—the judged characters devolve into mean-spirited,
explores how an environment might influence characters selfish, or destructive behavior, demonstrating the ill of
toward good or evil. Ideas of freewill and personal choice to judgment and the benevolent power of pity.
suffer begin in the middle of the narrative around the time
Pride versus humility is a thematic extension of judgment
when Hindley renounces God and spirals into villainy. Once
versus pity: the prideful are judgmental and the humble are
Brontë's complex argument is in place and ideas of natural
sympathetic, or in other words, capable of pity. However, the
character tendencies, role of environment, and freewill are
results are different in that judgment injures the judged
established, the second half of the novel shows individual
individual, the individual acted upon, whereas pride brings
characters, who lean toward the good—Catherine, Isabella,
sorrow to the prideful, the individual taking wrong action.
Hareton, Edgar, and Mrs. Dean—battling evil represented by
Further, humility, manifested in serving and doing one's duty,
Heathcliff. Then the theme culminates with Heathcliff's ultimate
brings reward to the humble, whereas pity is not linked to
choice between good and evil. His choice locks him out of
reward. The conclusion of the theme plays out in Catherine's
heaven and casts him into a hellish state, condemned to
story line; having completed her duty in caring for the dying,
spiritually wander the moors with Cathy, who also rejected
once she is humble enough to drop her pride toward Hareton,
heaven and religion when she was alive.
she is rewarded by having Thrushcross Grange and happiness
Mrs. Dean's character is the representative of the good restored to her with the added bonus of love.
qualities of love, pity, humility, and forgiveness. Heathcliff and
Cathy represent the evil choices of violence, revenge, pride,
selfishness, judgment, and obsession. Joseph's character
stands in the middle, representing religious hypocrisy, as he

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Wuthering Heights Study Guide Suggested Reading 48

Violence and Revenge Belonging

Through Hindley and Heathcliff's relationship, Brontë begins a The setting of the two opposing households, Wuthering
complex argument about the effects of physical violence. Her Heights and Thrushcross Grange, combined with the
first point is to show how abuse creates abusive, vengeful symbolism of the moors between them and Cathy's wandering
individuals when they do not forgive and turn violent to lessen ghost highlights the devastating isolation individuals feel while
their pain. Isabella represents the wise individual who searching and seeking a sense of belonging. Human beings,
understands the true nature of violence and its consequences. Brontë demonstrates through this theme, must align with their
She delivers the message for the theme when she says true destinies, whether they—figuratively speaking—encounter
violence wounds the person who chooses it. Next, through walls they must climb over, discover windows and doors barred
Linton's relationship with Heathcliff, Brontë shows how apathy and locked, or set out on a journey to explore. They innately
is created by violence and the fear of violence, again, by a know where they belong; visions, presentiments, and dreams
desire to avoid pain. Through Hareton and Linton, Brontë will guide them, and the development of a good character will
demonstrates how neglect and apathy can be violent. In this lead them to the persons and places in which they can at last
way, attributes, such as the ones Heathcliff hates—duty, feel a sense of peace and unity.
compassion, charity, and kindness—become opposites of
violence, actions with which to fight the evils of violence and
e Suggested Reading
Brontë, Emily, and Daphne Merkin. Wuthering Heights. New
Love and Obsession York: Barnes & Noble Classics, 2004. Print.

Girdler, Lew. "Wuthering Heights and Shakespeare."

Huntington Library Quarterly 19.4 (1956): 385–92. Print.
In the first half of Wuthering Heights, through Heathcliff and
Cathy, Brontë suggests that to go against one's heart and soul
Miller, Lucasta. The Bronte Myth. New York: Knopf, 2003. Print.
is against love and equivalent to death, since Cathy dies for
making the wrong choice. Then she shows how making love an Woolf, Virginia. The Common Reader by Virginia Woolf. U of
obsession by choosing human love over Godly, heavenly love Adelaide, n.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2016.
becomes love turned evil and idolatrous—with several
references to Cathy and Heathcliff making each other an "idol."
This is the core of the love and obsession theme; it requires
the entirety of the novel to make its point. However, Brontë
explores other facets of love throughout. Mr. Lockwood
represents superficial attitudes toward love, beneath which
lurks cowardice. Isabella represents delusional, false love, also
idolatrous, which she escapes by seeing that what she thought
was love was actually violence and hatred. Catherine and
Hareton represent love's power to overcome pride and evil,
laden with the idea that to love moderately leads to happiness.

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