When Catherine is a child, she is lively, spoiled, strong-willed. At first, she resents Heathcliff when her father brings him home and both she and her brother refuse to have anything to do with him. She is more concerned with the gifts that her father was supposed to bring her. Not very long after, however, Heathcliff intrigues the wild side of Catherine, and she befriends him. From that point on, they are never apart. Catherine tells Nelly that Heathcliff is a part of her, but when she is young, she does not really understand what this means. She is immature and not strong enough to defy society and marry Heathcliff, choosing instead the "comfortable" Edgar Linton, who is her social equal. She tells Nelly that she only married Edgar Linton for his money, so that she can help Heathcliff to "rise" - but this, too, is immature and unrealistic. She says that marriage to Heathcliff would "degrade" her and he will never know how much she loves him.
Catherine grows into an emotional but immature young woman who, although she loves Heathcliff, lacks the strength and self-esteem to be with the man she really loves.