Wuthering Heights Summary

Wuthering Heights summary

In Wuthering Heights, Catherine falls in love with a boy named Heathcliff, her father adopts. Their love is doomed, and both are forced to marry other people for money. Catherine dies in childbirth, and Heathcliff joins her in death after enacting his revenge upon the next generation.

Wuthering Heights summary key points:

  • In Wuthering Heights, Mr. Lockwood narrates his visit to Wuthering Heights and recalls dreaming of a ghostly child trying to come in through the windowpane.

  • Nelly, Lockwood’s housekeeper, recalls working at Wuthering Heights and witnessing Mr. Earnshaw adopting a boy. His daughter Catherine develops a close friendship with Heathcliff, but his son Hindley envies Heathcliff’s relationship to their father.

  • After Mr. Earnshaw dies, Hindley returns for the funeral and relegates Heathcliff to servant status.

  • Edgar and Catherine marry, and Heathcliff marries Edgar’s sister to inherit her money.

  • Catherine dies in childbirth. Edgar’s sister also dies after running away from Heathcliff’s maltreatment and giving birth to Linton.

  • Heathcliff gains ownership of the Earnshaw estate, Edgar and Linton die, and Heathcliff dies after realizing that he wishes to rejoin his beloved Catherine.


The first three chapters of the novel are narrated by Mr. Lockwood as a recollection from his diary several years after the events took place in 1801. Lockwood, a native of London, rents Thrushcross Grange, in the desolate Yorkshire moors, in order to enjoy some solitude. On a visit to his landlord Heathcliff’s residence, Wuthering Heights, he encounters some unusually unhappy people: Cathy, Heathcliff’s daughter-in-law, whom Lockwood at first mistakes for his wife; Hareton Earnshaw, an ill-bred young man whose social status leaves Lockwood confused; Joseph, the snarling, rude servant; and Zillah, the only helpful person there. Most forbidding is Heathcliff himself, a man whom Lockwood describes as even more unsociable than he.

Due to a raging snowstorm on his subsequent visit, Lockwood is forced to spend the night. While sleeping, he dreams of a ghostly child, identifying herself as Catherine Linton, grabbing at his arm and trying to get in through a broken window pane. Heathcliff is devastated to hear the dream and orders Lockwood downstairs so he can beg for the spirit to reappear.

Relieved to get away from this unhappy, strange house, Lockwood returns to the Grange. His housekeeper, Nelly, takes over from him as the narrator, due to his prodding about the inhabitants of the Heights. Her narrative returns to her childhood, some thirty years earlier, when she was a servant at the Heights. She was working for the Earnshaw family, and growing up with their two children, Hindley and Catherine, a beautiful, but wild spirited girl.

One day, Mr. Earnshaw had returned from a trip to Liverpool with a swarthy street orphan, who he intended to raise with his own children, against the wishes of his family. The boy is named Heathcliff, after a son who had died in infancy. Catherine and Heathcliff soon become close friends, but Hindley views Heathcliff as a rival for his father’s affections. Indeed, Mr. Earnshaw does prefer Heathcliff to his own son, whom he views as a disappointment. Hindley’s treatment of Heathcliff causes sufficient household friction that Hindley is sent away to college. Soon after, Mr. Earnshaw dies.

Hindley returns home for the funeral with a wife, Frances, upon whom he dotes. Redoubling his hatred for Heathcliff, Hindley relegates him to servile status, causing Catherine much unhappiness. She and Heathcliff are frequently punished, but escape to play on the moors.

During one such escape, the two venture to Thrushcross Grange, home of the Linton family and their children, Edgar and Isabella. Catherine, attacked by one of the dogs, is affectionately cared for, while Heathcliff is turned away for appearing to be a villain. When Catherine returns home after a five-week convalescence, she has become a well-mannered young lady. Taking pleasure in humiliating Heathcliff, Hindley tells him to come greet Catherine as if he were one of the servants. Later, when Edgar and Isabella come to visit, Hindley treats Heathcliff with particular humiliation. Heathcliff swears revenge on Hindley, even if it takes a lifetime.

Frances dies giving birth to a son, Hareton. Anguished, Hindley soon becomes lost in alcoholic madness. Meanwhile, Catherine tells Nelly that she will marry Edgar because Heathcliff is socially beneath her. Overhearing, Heathcliff runs away before Catherine admits how profoundly she loves him.

Three years later, Edgar and Catherine marry. Heathcliff returns, moving in with Hindley in order to gain his revenge by inducing him to gamble away all his money. A frequent visitor to the Lintons, Edgar soon becomes jealous of his wife’s attachment to Heathcliff, and orders him to leave. Heathcliff gets his revenge on Edgar by eloping with Edgar’s sister, Isabella. Although he despises her, Heathcliff marries Isabella in order to inherit her money. Catherine becomes dangerously ill, and dies after giving birth to a daughter, Cathy.

Treated contemptibly by Heathcliff, Isabella runs away to the South, where she gives birth to a sickly son, Linton. Upon her death, Edgar tries to keep Linton, but Heathcliff demands custody. Raising his daughter to avoid Wuthering Heights and its inhabitants, Cathy forgets about Linton until she sees him by accident some years later.

Heathcliff’s revenge against the Earnshaw and Linton families includes garnering all their property for himself. He already possesses the Earnshaw estate, leaving Hareton an illiterate farmworker, completely dependent on Heathcliff. Heathcliff plans to do the same to Cathy, by forcing her to marry Linton, who cannot live past his teens, and therefore control all her inheritance as well.

It is now 1802, and Nelly has brought Lockwood up to date with her history. The story continues. Heathcliff succeeds in accomplishing his plans. Edgar and Linton are dead, and Cathy is as penniless and dependent as Hareton. When the two cousins fall in love, Heathcliff realizes he is no longer interested in destroying anything. He becomes obsessed with a vision of his beloved Catherine’s spirit hovering nearby, waiting for him to join her. Within three days of his vision, Heathcliff dies and is buried according to his wishes, alongside Catherine. Local legend claims that their spirits haunt the moors.

Hareton and Cathy plan to marry on New Year’s Day, moving back to Thrushcross Grange, and taking Nelly with them. Lockwood returns to London.

Estimated Reading Time

This is a lengthy book. Unless the reader is accustomed to the style of a Victorian novel, he or she may have difficulty understanding the language. Furthermore, Brontë occasionally has her characters speak in phonetic Yorkshire dialect. Therefore, an inexperienced reader will have to read slowly and carefully. The entire book can be read over a period of forty hours, less if the reader has some familiarity with nineteenth century literature.

Wuthering Heights Summary

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

First published in 1847, Wuthering Heights is an enduring gothic romance filled with intrigue and terror. It is set in the northern England countryside, where the weather fluctuates in sudden extremes and where bogs can open underfoot of unsuspecting night venturers. Under this atmospheric dome of brooding unpredictability, Brontë explores the violent and unpredictable elements of human passion. The story revolves around the tempestuous romance between Heathcliff, an orphan who is taken home to Wuthering Heights on impulse, and Catherine Earnshaw, a strong-willed girl whose mother died delivering her and who becomes Heathcliff’s close companion.

The setting is central to the novel. Both action and characters can be understood in terms of two households. Wuthering Heights, overtaken by the sinister usurper, Heathcliff, becomes a dark, winter world of precipitous acts that lead to brutality, vengeance, and social alienation. What Wuthering Heights lacks in history, education, and gregariousness is supplied by the more springlike Thrushcross Grange, where the fair-haired Lintons live in the human world of reason, order, and gentleness. Unfortunately, these less passionate mortals are subject to the indifferent forces of nature, dying in childbirth and of consumption too easily. They are subject to Heathcliff’s wrath as well, losing all assets and independence to him.

Brontë uses the element of unpredictability to spur the action in Wuthering Heights, which adds excitement and suspense at every turn and enlivens the characters by infusing them with the characteristic storminess of the moorland weather. Seemingly chance events gather like ominous clouds to create the passionate tale of Heathcliff and Catherine. They are brought together by chance and are left to roam the moor together, far from the world of shelter and discipline, when Catherine’s father dies, leaving her tyrannical brother, Hindley, in charge. Accident also accounts for Catherine’s introduction to the more refined world of Thrushcross Grange, when she is bitten by a watchdog while spying on her cousins, who then rescue her. Even Heathcliff’s angry departure and vowed vengeance is the result of eavesdropping, hearing only what he could mistake for rejection, and not Catherine’s true feelings for him.

In Heathcliff’s character, Brontë explores the great destructive potential of unrestrained passion. In him, human emotion is uncontrollable and deadly. In the ghostly union of Catherine and Heathcliff beyond the grave, however, Brontë suggests the metaphysical nature of love and the potential of passion to project itself beyond the physical realm of existence.

The ending of Wuthering Heights depicts Brontë’s final answer to the theme of destructive passion—the answer of mercy and forgiveness, which Brontë holds to be the supreme quality in human beings. Hareton, whom Heathcliff once unwittingly saved from death and then forever after abused, forgives his captor for everything. This forgiveness is accompanied by the mercy that Catherine Linton shows Hareton, teaching him to read after years of mocking his ignorance. Together, these acts of grace nullify the deadly effects of their keeper, who dies soon afterward. The passion of winter becomes the compromise of spring; the storm has passed, and life continues in harmony at last.

Wuthering Heights Summary

(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

In 1801, Mr. Lockwood becomes a tenant at Thrushcross Grange, an old farm owned by a Mr. Heathcliff of Wuthering Heights. In the early days of his tenancy, he makes two calls on his landlord. On his first visit, he meets Heathcliff, an abrupt, unsocial man who is surrounded by a pack of snarling, barking dogs. When he goes to Wuthering Heights a second time, he meets the other members of the strange household: a rude, unkempt but handsome young man named Hareton Earnshaw and a pretty young woman who is the widow of Heathcliff’s son.

During his visit, snow begins to fall. It covers the moor paths and makes travel impossible for a stranger in that bleak countryside. Heathcliff refuses to let one of the servants go with him as a guide but says that if he stays the night he can share Hareton’s bed or that of Joseph, a sour, canting old servant. When Mr. Lockwood tries to borrow Joseph’s lantern for the homeward journey, the old fellow sets the dogs on him, to the amusement of Hareton and Heathcliff. The visitor is finally rescued by Zillah, the cook, who hides him in an unused chamber of the house.

That night, Mr. Lockwood has a strange dream. Thinking that a branch is rattling against the window, he breaks the glass in his attempt to unhook the casement. As he reaches out to break off the fir branch outside, his fingers close on a small ice-cold hand, and a weeping voice begs to be let in. The unseen presence says that her name is Catherine Linton, and she tries to force a way through the broken casement; Mr. Lockwood screams.

Heathcliff appears in a state of great excitement and savagely orders Mr. Lockwood out of the room. Then he throws himself upon the bed by the shattered pane and begs the spirit to come in out of the dark and the storm. The voice is, however, heard no more—only the hiss of swirling snow and the wailing of a cold wind that blows out the smoking candle.

The housekeeper at Thrushcross Grange, Ellen Dean, is able to satisfy part of Mr. Lockwood’s curiosity about the happenings of that night and the strange household at Wuthering Heights, for she lived at Wuthering Heights as a child. Her story of the Earnshaws, Lintons, and Heathcliffs begins years before, when old Mr. Earnshaw was living at Wuthering Heights with his wife and two children, Hindley and Catherine. Once, on a trip to Liverpool, Mr. Earnshaw found a starving and homeless orphan, a ragged, dirty, urchin, dark as a Gypsy, whom he brought back with him to Wuthering Heights and christened Heathcliff—a name that was to serve the fourteen-year-old boy as both a given and a surname. Gradually, the orphan began to usurp the affections of Mr. Earnshaw, whose health was failing. Wuthering Heights became riddled with petty jealousies; old Joseph, the servant, augmented the bickering, and Catherine was much too fond of Heathcliff. At last, Hindley was sent away to school. A short time later, Mr. Earnshaw died.

When Hindley returned home for his father’s funeral, he brought a wife with him. As the new master of Wuthering Heights, he revenged himself on Heathcliff by treating him like a servant. Catherine became a wild and undisciplined hoyden who continued to be fond of Heathcliff.

One night, Catherine and Heathcliff tramped through the moors to Thrushcross Grange, where they spied on their neighbors, the Lintons. Attacked by a watchdog, Catherine was taken into the house and stayed there as a guest for five weeks until she was able to walk again. During that time, she became intimate with the pleasant family of Thrushcross Grange, Mr. and Mrs. Linton and their two children, Edgar and Isabella. Afterward, the Lintons visited frequently at Wuthering Heights. As a result of Hindley’s ill-treatment and the arrogance of Edgar and Isabella, Heathcliff became jealous and morose. He vowed revenge on Hindley, whom he hated with all of his savage nature.

The next summer, Hindley’s consumptive wife, Frances, gave birth to a son, Hareton Earnshaw, and shortly thereafter she died. In his grief, Hindley became desperate, ferocious, and degenerate. In the meantime, Catherine and Edgar became sweethearts. The girl confided to Ellen that she really loved Heathcliff, but she felt it would be degrading for her to marry the penniless orphan. Heathcliff, who overheard this conversation, disappeared the same night and did not return for many years. Edgar and Catherine married and lived at Thrushcross Grange with Ellen as their housekeeper. There the pair lived happily until the return of Heathcliff, who was greatly improved in manners and in appearance. He accepted Hindley’s invitation to live at Wuthering Heights, an invitation extended because Hindley found in Heathcliff a companion for card-playing and drinking, and because he hoped to recoup his own dwindling fortune from Heathcliff’s pockets.

Isabella began to show a strong attraction to Heathcliff, much to the dismay of Edgar and Catherine. One night, Edgar and Heathcliff had a quarrel. Soon afterward, Heathcliff eloped with Isabella, obviously marrying her only to avenge himself and provoke Edgar. Catherine, an expectant mother, underwent a serious illness. When Isabella and Heathcliff returned to Wuthering Heights, Edgar refused to recognize his sister and forbade Heathcliff to enter his house. Despite this restriction, Heathcliff managed to have a meeting with Catherine. Partly as a result of this meeting, she gave birth to a girl, named Catherine Linton, prematurely; a few hours later, mother Catherine died.

Isabella found life with Heathcliff unbearable and she left him, going to London, where a few months later her child, Linton, was born. After Hindley’s death, Heathcliff the guest became the master of Wuthering Heights, for Hindley mortgaged his estate to him. Hareton, the natural heir, was reduced to dependency on his father’s enemy.

When Isabella died, twelve years after leaving Heathcliff, her brother took her sickly child to live at Thrushcross Grange. Heathcliff soon heard of the child’s arrival and demanded that Linton be sent to Wuthering Heights to live with his father. Young Catherine once visited Wuthering Heights and met her cousin Linton. Her father tried to keep her in ignorance about the tenants of the place, but Heathcliff let it be known that he wished the two children to be married. About the time that Edgar Linton became seriously ill, Heathcliff persuaded Cathy to visit her little cousin, who was also in extremely bad health. Upon her arrival, Cathy was imprisoned for five days at Wuthering Heights and forced to marry her sickly cousin Linton before she was allowed to go home to see her father. Although she was able to return to Thrushcross Grange before her father’s death, there was not enough time for Edgar Linton to alter his will. Thus his land and fortune went indirectly to Heathcliff. Weak, sickly Linton Heathcliff died soon after, leaving Cathy a widow and dependent on Heathcliff.

Mr. Lockwood went back to London in the spring without seeing Wuthering Heights or its people again. Traveling in the region the next autumn, he had a fancy to revisit Wuthering Heights. There, he found Catherine and Hareton in possession. From Ellen, he heard that Heathcliff died three months earlier, after deliberately starving himself for four days. He was a broken man, still disturbed by memories of the beautiful young Catherine Earnshaw. His death freed Catherine Heathcliff and Hareton from his tyranny, and Catherine was now teaching the ignorant boy to read and improving his rude manners.

Mr. Lockwood went to see Heathcliff’s grave. It was next to Catherine Earnshaw’s, on whose other side lay her husband. They lay under their three headstones: Catherine’s in the middle, weather-discolored and half-buried, Edgar’s partly moss-grown, Heathcliff’s still bare. In the surrounding countryside, there was a legend that they slept unquietly after their stormy, passionate lives. Shepherds and travelers at night claimed that they saw Catherine and Heathcliff roaming the dark moors as they did so often many years earlier.

Wuthering Heights Summary

Part I—Childhood
Set on the Yorkshire moors of England, Wuthering Heights opens with the comments of Mr....

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Wuthering Heights Chapter Summary and Analysis

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Wuthering Heights Chapter 1 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Mr. Lockwood: the first-person narrator of the story; tenant of Heathcliff

Heathcliff: the protagonist of the novel; a fascinating, yet surly and unpleasant man

Joseph: an elderly servant of Heathcliff who speaks with a thick Yorkshire dialect

Zillah: the housekeeper; the young woman’s name is not disclosed until later in the book

The story begins in 1801, as Lockwood, a new tenant in Thrushcross Grange, narrates the story of his visit to his new landlord, Heathcliff. Although Lockwood, a native of London, describes himself as a reserved man in search of a quiet place to live, he is surprised to learn that the...

(The entire section is 616 words.)

Wuthering Heights Chapter 2 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Catherine Linton Heathcliff (Cathy): after Lockwood mistakes her for Heathcliff’s wife, he learns that she is his dead son’s widow

Hareton Earnshaw: an unkempt young man, Lockwood at first mistakes him for Heathcliff’s son, but notes that he is treated like a servant

Due to bad weather, Lockwood thinks he might stay home rather than return to Wuthering Heights. However, one of the servants has begun making a mess cleaning out the fireplace, so Lockwood hastily departs for the four mile walk to the Heights, just as snow begins to fall.

Chilled by the freezing wind, Lockwood finds the door barred and curses Heathcliff’s...

(The entire section is 976 words.)

Wuthering Heights Chapter 3 Summary and Analysis

Zillah leads Lockwood upstairs, cautioning him to keep quiet because Heathcliff doesn’t allow anyone to use the room she is taking him to. Lacking a bed, Lockwood curls up in a hidden closet by a window, where he discovers a pile of books bearing the names Catherine Earnshaw, Catherine Heathcliff, and Catherine Linton.

Falling asleep for a few minutes, Lockwood awakens to the smell of his candle scorching the cover of a diary, inscribed with Catherine Earnshaw’s name and dated twenty-five years ago. He reads what Catherine has written with increasing interest.

Catherine complains about her brother Hindley, who has become a tyrant since becoming master of the Heights after...

(The entire section is 700 words.)

Wuthering Heights Chapters 4 and 5 Summary and Analysis

New Character
Ellen Dean (Nelly): Lockwood’s housekeeper, who has known all the characters for most of their lives

Bored and in low spirits from being alone in his room, and recuperating from the frightful events at the Heights, Lockwood asks Nelly Dean to sit with him while he dines. Having developed a genuine curiosity about the residents at Wuthering Heights, he hopes she can offer some insights about them. As he had hoped, Nelly is an accurate historian; she provides him with several significant pieces of information. We learn that Heathcliff is quite wealthy, but tight-fisted; rather than enjoy the comforts of the Grange, he rents it out and lives in the...

(The entire section is 841 words.)

Wuthering Heights Chapters 6 and 7 Summary and Analysis

New Characters
Frances Earnshaw: Hindley’s wife, who he introduces to the family at his father’s funeral

Mr. and Mrs. Linton: neighbors at Thrushcross Grange, the adjoining estate

Edgar Linton: their son, a handsome, yet babyish mama’s boy

Isabella Linton: their daughter, a spoiled and foolish girl

Hindley arrives home for his father’s funeral with his wife Frances, a silly, pretty girl with no apparent family connections. Hindley is reminded of his loathing for Heathcliff, and drives him from the family into the servants’ quarters. Smitten with his wife, Hindley neglects Catherine’s upbringing until Nelly fears she...

(The entire section is 892 words.)

Wuthering Heights Chapter 8 Summary and Analysis

New character
Mr. Kenneth: the local doctor

It is now 1778. Nelly’s work in the hayfield is interrupted by the news that Frances has just given birth to Hareton, although the doctor believes that Frances’ chronic tuberculosis (foreshadowed by Nelly’s mention of her coughing in Chapter Six) will shortly kill her. Rushing back to the house so she can begin to care for the infant, Nelly finds both Hindley and Frances in desperate denial of Frances’ condition. Despite her brave efforts, Frances soon dies, leaving Hindley disconsolate.

Sinking into depression and alcoholism, Hindley takes no interest in Hareton, other than to object when his cries...

(The entire section is 732 words.)

Wuthering Heights Chapter 9 Summary and Analysis

Little Hareton, terrified of his father’s rages, allows Nelly to hide him when Hindley makes his drunken entrance. Claiming to have already murdered Mr. Kenneth, Hindley threatens to kill Nelly as well. Clearly accustomed to dealing with Hindley’s behavior, Nelly calmly eludes his knife. Hindley, however, grabs Hareton, and when he cannot calm the trembling child, he becomes enraged and dangles him, feet first, over the stair rail. Startled by Heathcliff’s entrance, Hindley loses his grip and drops the baby. Without realizing what he is doing, Heathcliff holds out his arms and catches Hareton, saving him from death. Nelly notes the look of disappointment on Heathcliff’s face; his unwitting...

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Wuthering Heights Chapter 10 Summary and Analysis

Lockwood has been recuperating for four weeks, and Mr. Kenneth does not anticipate him being allowed outdoors until spring. Heathcliff has been to visit; so grateful is Lockwood for the diversion he decides not to mention Heathcliff’s role in causing his illness.

The visit reminds Lockwood that Nelly still owes him the next installment of Heathcliff’s story. He begs her to fill him in on how Heathcliff became educated and wealthy enough to have become a gentleman. Nelly cannot answer these questions, and asks to be permitted to continue the story in her own fashion.

Catherine is fond of Edgar and his sister, and since they extend themselves to please her, the marriage seems...

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Wuthering Heights Chapters 11 and 12 Summary and Analysis

While dwelling on Hindley’s deterioration, Nelly comes across a stone on the highway which had been a favorite spot of theirs as children. There she sees a vision which convinces her of Hindley’s impending death. Rushing to the Heights, she encounters Hareton. She is horrified to discover what has become of the little boy she once nursed. Heathcliff has taken him under his wing; he no longer studies with the curate, but has learned how to curse and hit. Nelly asks him to send for Hindley so she can speak with him. However when Heathcliff appears instead, she turns and runs.

When Heathcliff next visits at the Grange, Nelly observes him trying to kiss Isabella and reports this to...

(The entire section is 781 words.)

Wuthering Heights Chapters 13 and 14 Summary and Analysis

Under Edgar’s devoted care, Catherine slowly recovers her health, but remains weak and depressed. To Edgar’s delight, Catherine is pregnant, and he is certain the baby will be a boy, thus eliminating Heathcliff’s claim to the Linton fortune. Six weeks after Isabella’s departure, she sends Edgar a letter which he ignores. The remainder of Chapter 13 is narrated by Isabella in the form of a subsequent letter to Nelly.

Isabella and Heathcliff have moved into the Heights. In her letter, Isabella expresses her horror at each of the inhabitants of Wuthering Heights, especially Heathcliff. She begs Nelly to let her know if Heathcliff “is a man? If so, is he mad? And if not, is he a...

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Wuthering Heights Chapters 15 and 16 Summary and Analysis

One week has gone by, and Nelly finds the time to continue relating her story to Lockwood.

Four days after her visit to Isabella, Nelly has the opportunity while Edgar is in church to give Catherine Heathcliff’s letter. She presses the letter into the apathetic woman’s hand, but Catherine is too depressed to even notice it is from Heathcliff and does not react until he enters the room.

Catherine kisses Heathcliff, and he returns it with “more kisses than he ever gave in his life before.” Looking into her face, he realizes that she is close to death, and, in anguish, they cling to each other with such intense passion that they make “a strange and fearful picture.”...

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Wuthering Heights Chapter 17 Summary and Analysis

Immediately following Catherine’s funeral, the pleasant weather becomes cold and dismally chilly, setting the tone for Edgar’s grief, Cathy’s motherless state, and Isabella’s rebellion.

Sitting alone with baby Cathy, Nelly hears an intruder, and is amazed to discover Isabella, dripping wet, bruised, and exhausted. Isabella insists on having a carriage take her to town and a few of her former belongings packed before she will consent to let Nelly tend to her woebegone condition. Once Nelly does as she asks, Isabella sits by the fire to explain her escape, requesting that Nelly put the baby away; she “doesn’t like to see it!”

Isabella flings her wedding ring into...

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Wuthering Heights Chapters 18 and 19 Summary and Analysis

Following the tumultuous climatic events of Chapter 17, Nelly spends the next twelve years tranquilly raising Cathy. The child is a beauty, with her mother’s dark eyes and her father’s fair skin, delicate features, and golden hair. Like her mother, she is high-spirited, but lacking Catherine’s wild nature. In her ability to form close attachments, she reminds Nelly of Catherine, but the child is gentle and thoughtful, like Edgar. Nelly does admit that Cathy is overindulged by Edgar and the servants, and so has a “propensity to be saucy” and perverse.

Living a reclusive life, studying at home with her father and restricted to Thrushcross Grange and its adjoining park, Cathy grows...

(The entire section is 871 words.)

Wuthering Heights Chapters 20 and 21 Summary and Analysis

Edgar warns Nelly not to let Cathy know that Linton will be living at the Heights; he fears she will insist on visiting him and thus meet Heathcliff.

Linton is perplexed as to why he has to move to the Heights, since he has never heard of his father, and asks Nelly why he has not seen him before. Nelly quickly invents a tale that Heathcliff was too busy to visit, and Isabella never mentioned him to Linton because she didn’t want him to miss his father.

Heathcliff and Linton meet. Rudely, Heathcliff insults Isabella for not having told the boy he has a father. Linton is shocked at Heathcliff’s manner. Nelly pleads with him to be kind to the boy, since he is all he has and is...

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Wuthering Heights Chapters 22 and 23 Summary and Analysis

Bedridden with a bad cold, Edgar is unavailable to keep Cathy company. Feeling sorry for her, Nelly tries to spend more time with the girl. One day as they are out rambling, she learns that Cathy often cries at the thought of Edgar’s death; without Edgar or Nelly, she will have no one. Nelly comforts her by saying Edgar’s illness is not serious, and as for herself, she is very healthy. Relieved, Cathy clambers over a gate, only to find herself unable to climb back. While Nelly searches among her keys for one to open the lock, Heathcliff arrives on horseback.

Cathy refuses to speak to him in accordance with her father’s wishes, but Heathcliff cajoles her into feeling guilty for having...

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Wuthering Heights Chapter 24 Summary and Analysis

Sensing something odd in Cathy’s behavior, Nelly waits by a window and soon sees the girl returning home on horseback. Confronted, Cathy admits she has been visiting Linton while Nelly has been bedridden. Pleading for Nelly’s understanding, Cathy narrates the events of the past three weeks at the Heights.

During the first visit, she and Linton argue about each one’s favorite diversion, but compromise by agreeing to the merits of both sides. Cathy attempts to play games with Linton, but he becomes peevish when she wins consistently, yet allows her to calm him with her singing.

On the second visit, however, an unpleasant scene develops between Hareton, Cathy, and Linton....

(The entire section is 654 words.)

Wuthering Heights Chapters 25 and 26 Summary and Analysis

Conversing with Lockwood, Nelly reveals her awareness that he has fallen in love with Cathy himself. While Lockwood admits that might be true, he intends to resist the temptation, since he will eventually be returning to London and cannot afford a romantic complication. He asks Nelly to continue her narration.

Cathy has obeyed her father’s restrictions. Edgar muses aloud over Linton to Nelly, asking her opinion of his suitability as a husband for Cathy. Believing he is too delicate to reach manhood, Nelly says if he does, at least Cathy would be able to control him. Edgar explains his concerns to Nelly. He knows he will soon die, and although he looks forward to an eternity beside...

(The entire section is 603 words.)

Wuthering Heights Chapter 27 Summary and Analysis

A week has gone by since Cathy and Linton’s strange encounter. Edgar’s condition continues to deteriorate, and Cathy is loath to leave his bedside in order to keep her date with Linton. Edgar insists that she go. He has no idea of Linton’s detestable character, and Nelly hasn’t the heart to tell him.

Cathy and Nelly return to the appointed meeting place to discover Linton in hysterical fear of Heathcliff. He begs Cathy to remain with him, intimating that Heathcliff will punish him for her refusal. Upon his arrival, Heathcliff confirms with Nelly that Edgar will die quickly, he blames Linton for not encouraging Cathy’s affections. Tartly, Nelly points out that Linton needs to be...

(The entire section is 746 words.)

Wuthering Heights Chapters 28 and 29 Summary and Analysis

New Character
Mr. Green: a lawyer

Rumor in the village has it that Nelly and Cathy had been rescued by Heathcliff from drowning in a marsh, and that they have been recuperating at Wuthering Heights. This information is relayed to Nelly by Zillah when she unlocks the door for her. Zillah also brings Nelly a message from Heathcliff: she is to go at once to the Grange and Cathy will follow her in time for Edgar’s funeral. Aghast to think that Edgar has died alone, Nelly is told that he has perhaps another day to live. She hurries out, looking around to see if Cathy is there.

Linton is the only one around. Lying on a couch, he indolently sucks on a stick of...

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Wuthering Heights Chapters 30 and 31 Summary and Analysis

Attempting to see Cathy, Nelly is rebuffed by Joseph at the door. However, Zillah often meets Nelly in town, and through her, Nelly is kept informed of the events at the Heights.

Cathy appears and reports Zillah, very haughty and unfriendly, choosing to remain in Linton’s company only. Occasionally catching a glimpse of the girl in tears, Zillah hardens herself against becoming involved. She does not wish to antagonize Heathcliff by befriending Cathy against his orders. Nevertheless, one night Cathy rushes into Zillah’s room demanding that Heathcliff be sent for; Linton is dying, for certain. Afraid to disturb Heathcliff, Zillah ignores her, but the ringing of Linton’s bedside bell...

(The entire section is 923 words.)

Wuthering Heights Chapters 32 and 33 Summary and Analysis

It is September 1802. Visiting a friend in northern England, Lockwood realizes he is only fourteen miles away from Thrushcross Grange. Acting on impulse, he decides to spend the night there, since he is still paying rent to Heathcliff for the house. On arriving, he meets an unfamiliar servant who tells him Nelly has moved into Wuthering Heights. Curious, Lockwood walks over to see how everyone is doing.

There is something different about the formerly foreboding place. The gate is no longer locked against visitors, and flowers bloom profusely in the garden. Most strangely, he spies Cathy and Hareton engaged in a reading lesson interrupted by kisses and other signs of affection.


(The entire section is 1288 words.)

Wuthering Heights Chapter 34 Summary and Analysis

Following his discussion with Nelly, Heathcliff fails to show up for his meals, shunning all company. Nelly learns that he has been walking outdoors all night.

One morning, Cathy is startled by Heathcliff’s return, reporting to Hareton and Nelly that Heathcliff actually spoke to her without his customary threatening manner. Indeed, she could swear he seemed excited and cheerful! Concerned and confused, Nelly decides to investigate. She, too, notices “a strange, joyful glitter in his eyes.” Refusing breakfast, Heathcliff asks to be left alone.

At noon, he accepts a full plate of food, declaring himself ready to eat at last. However after a few mouthfuls, he pushes the food...

(The entire section is 1076 words.)