These chapters are filled with a tone of foreboding and unease as Heathcliff manipulates the young Catherine Linton, daughter of Cathy and Linton, into marrying the cruel invalid Linton Heathcliff.
The foreboding starts with Edgar Linton catching a chill that settles in his lungs—a cold that will kill him some months later. It continues in Nelly's description of the weather ready to turn bad:
The cold blue sky was half hidden by clouds—dark grey streamers, rapidly mounting from the west, and boding abundant rain.
Cathy shows her lack of prudence in not heeding Nelly's advice that they stay inside because it looks like it will rain, foreshadowing the way she will rush imprudently into marriage with Linton. The sense of foreboding increases when Cathy ends up on the outside of the walls of the Grange and runs into Heathcliff, who urges her to visit Linton. Straying from home, this episode suggests, puts Cathy into grave danger.
Cathy also asks questions about her own death and alludes to the early death of Isabella, adding to the unease that Cathy might he be ready to follow in her aunt's misguided footsteps.
Step by step, Brontë continues the tone of uneasiness and suspense, and characterization adds a cruel tone to the unease. After Catherine marries Linton, Nelly characterizes his childish immaturity when she visits Wuthering Heights and encounters Linton "sucking a stick of sugar-candy." This shows that he is in no way ready to be married to anyone, underscoring his unfitness to have the power he does over Cathy. He is characterized as spoiled, petty, and cruel in the following passage, making clear Brontë's critique of patriarchy:
Papa says everything she [Cathy] has is mine. All her nice books are mine; she offered to give me them, and her pretty birds, and her pony Minny, if I would get the key of our room, and let her out; but I told her she had nothing to give, they were all, all mine.
We are meant to be alarmed and repulsed by the power in the hands of this petulant, sadistic young man.