Wuthering Heights Summary:
About the Novel
Written By: Emily Bronte
Type of Work: Novel
Genres: Gothic Literature; Romance
First Published: 1847
There are various themes such as good versus evil, chaos, and order, selfishness, betrayal, and obsession. It is a psychological study of the nature of love.
Topic: Wuthering Heights Summary.
This article contains wuthering heights summary chapter wise :
Wuthering Heights Summary: CHAPTER 1
The novel begins with Lockwood relating the story in the first person, of his first visit to Wuthering Heights in 1801. Mr. Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange calls on his solitary neighbor and landlord, Mr. Heathcliff of Wuthering Heights. “Wuthering” signifies atmospheric tumult, and the house as Lockwood describes has been strongly built to withstand the wild, stormy winds.
The Front is decorated with grotesque carvings among which the name of Hareton Earnshaw and the date 1500 also appear. Lockwood is eager to know the history of this old house, but he is curtly received by Heathcliff and taken into the family sitting room. Lockwood has a good eye for detail and provides a vivid description of the outside of the house, the family sitting room, and Heathcliff. The apartment is furnished to suit a homely farmer. Heathcliff himself is dark-skinned and gypsy-like in appearance but a gentleman in dress; he is erect and handsome, but morose and surly. –
Heathcliff leaves Lockwood with a fierce pointer bitch and two grim sheepdogs, to accompany Joseph the peevish old servant, to the cellar to fetch wine. Lockwood’s behavior irritates the dogs and they attack him. He is saved by the housekeeper. However, Heathcliff shows no sympathy. He offers wine to Lockwood and talks intelligently on various subjects but makes it clear that Lockwood is not welcome again at the Heights.
Wuthering Heights Summary: CHAPTER 2
In spite of the cool reception, Lockwood pays another visit to the Heights the following afternoon. Walking the four miles through mud and heath he arrives just as it begins to snow. After much knocking at the door, a young man without a coat and shouldering a pitchfork arrives on the scene and leads him inside where huge fire bums cheerfully. The table is laid for an evening meal.
Lockwood tries to converse with a young lady who he assumes is Heathcliff’s wife. She has an exquisite face, golden curls, and beautiful eyes. But all this is marred by her scornful and disagreeable expression. She is extremely rude to Lockwood. The young man has free and haughty bearing despite an unkempt appearance of a common laborer. Heathcliff too is not enamored at seeing Lockwood and savagely orders the girl to make tea. Since no one bothers to introduce him to anyone it is only after a series of awkward blunders that Lockwood learns that the girl is the widow of Heathcliff’s son and that the sullen young man is called Hareton Earnshaw. Even after supper, he is treated with extreme incivility and rudely ignored. A quarrel breaks out between Joseph and Catherine, during which she tries to frighten him with threats of black magic.
Lockwood realizes that night and snow have come on during his visit and he asks to be guided back to Thrushcross Grange. His request is refused, so seizing a lantern, he rushes out alone. Joseph sets the dogs on him and he is dragged down to the amusement of Hareton and Heathcliff. Zillah, the housekeeper rescues him and takes the dizzy Lockwood into the kitchen. Lockwood is left with no choice but to spend the night at the Heights.
Wuthering Heights Summary: CHAPTER 3
Zillah leads Lockwood to a bedroom upstairs which is not normally used. She urges caution as Heathcliff allows no one to sleep in it. He settled down for the night in a bed situated beside a window and within a paneled cupboard. While placing the candle on the window ledge, he notices the names of Catherine Earnshaw, Catherine Heathcliff and Catherine Linton scratched on the pane. He looks through the books lying on the window ledge and finds a diary written in a childish hand—the diary of Catherine Earnshaw written 25 years previously. He falls into an uneasy sleep.
His sleep is haunted by a series of nightmares. He sees himself having a trying experience with Joseph, a preacher named James Branderham, and the number seventy times seven. He finally sees himself unable to open the window to reach the branch of a tree outside. He breaks the pane and finds his fingers gripped by the icy fingers of Catherine, whose childish face, peeps through the window. Terrified and unable to free his hand, he drags the ghostly child’s wrist across the broken pane until the blood runs and soaks the bed-cloths.
He snatches his hand inside, but the ghost does not disappear, and driven to a frenzy by her moaning and begging to come in, he screams aloud.
This brings Heathcliff on the scene in a state of great agitation, muttering “at last”. He is upset to find his guest in the oak closet. Lockwood has had enough of the strange experience in the haunted chamber. He described his nightmare to Heathcliff, who dresses as quickly as possible, and leaves.
As he looks back at Healthcliff the scene is almost as fearful as his nightmare. Heathcliff is in a passion of tears and wrenching open the window he cries out to the ghostly child “Cathy – do come. Oh do – Once more!”
Next morning Lockwood returns to the Grange safely escorted by Heathcliff after having spent the rest of the night in the back kitchen. The members of the household have been as hostile to him and to one another as they had been the previous evening.
Wuthering Heights Summary: CHAPTER 4
After his strange experience at the Heights, Lockwood is naturally curious and asks Nelly Dean, the housekeeper at Thrushcross Grange, when she brings his supper, to tell him what she knows of their neighbors at Wuthering Heights. She is ready to do so, for, in her younger days almost all of her time had been spent at the Heights. Her mother had nursed Hindley Earnshaw and she (Nelly) herself had lived with the family doing various odd jobs.
Nelly launches into her storytelling, how, many years before Mr. Earnshaw, father of Hindley and Catherine returns from Liverpool, carrying a great bundle, under his great coat. It turns out to be a dirty, ragged, black-haired child, whose language no one can understand. Mr. Earnshaw had picked him up from the streets of Liverpool, starving, and homeless. His wife and children refuse at first to welcome the gypsy child. Catherine however becomes friendly with him after a time. He also becomes Mr. Earnshaw‘s favorite much to Hindley’s hatred and jealousy. He is named Heathcliff after a son who had died.
Mrs. Earnshaw dies two years after Heathcliff’s arrival. The children all come down with measles and Nelly takes charge of them. She finds Heathcliff very patient and uncomplaining. However, she realizes that it is hardness, not gentleness that makes him a good and uncomplaining patient.
Hindley treats Heathcliff brutally but Heathcliff always manages to get what he wants (for eg. the better horse) by threatening to tell Mr. Earnshaw of his ill-treatment. This, however, only drives a deeper wedge of hatred between Hindley and Heathcliff.
Wuthering Heights Summary: CHAPTER 5
In the course of time, Heathcliff and Catherine become very close to each other. Catherine’s greatest punishment is to be separated from him and he is always more willing to listen to her than to anyone else.
Meanwhile, Mr. Earnshaw’s health begins to fail and the weaker he grows the more irritable he becomes. He is convinced that because he dotes on Heathcliff, all the others hate the boy. Hindley in particular is very much opposed to Heathcliff. There is constant strife in the household and at last Mr. Earnshaw is persuaded by the curate to send Hindley away to college.
Things however don’t improve. The self-righteous, pious Joseph becomes more moralizing and Catherine’s high spirits cause trouble. Her father’s reproofs only make her provoke him more until he says, Nay Cathy, I cannot love thee; thou’rt worse than thy brother’.. She is wild and haughty, but at the same time attractive and means no real harm.
Mr. Earnshaw becomes more feeble and one night in October 1777 (three years after Hindley’s departure) when they are all sitting peacefully around the fire, Mr. Earnshaw dies quietly in his chair.
Wuthering Heights Summary: CHAPTER 6
Hindley returns home for the funeral and brings with him a young delicate and excitable wife. He had married Frances secretly. Hindley takes over the household and first banishes Joseph and Nelly to the servants’ quarters in the back-kitchen. Frances too takes a dislike to Heathcliff and Heathcliff is also banished to the servants’ quarters. Heathcliff is no longer allowed to take lessons from the curate and he is reduced to the level of a servant and forced to work as a farm-hand.
As Hindley and Frances care little about how the young people behave, Cathy and Heathcliff appear to be growing up as uncouth savages. Careless of punishment, they often remain on the moors all day.
One Sunday evening when Catherine and Heathcliff have been sent from the sitting room, they disappear from the house. Late in the night, Heathcliff returns alone to tell the worried Nelly what has happened. The two had escaped and gone to Thrushcross Grange where the Lintons lived. Peeping through the window into a beautifully furnished room, they find Edgar and Isabella quarreling over a little dog. Heathcliff and Cathy laugh scornfully at this silliness and are thus discovered. The Union’s bulldog is set on them.
Catherine is seized by the ankle and after this, both she and Heathcliff are taken into the house, the latter swearing loudly. When Catherine is recognized the Lintons are horrified and try to put matters right by bathing her ankle and making a fuss of her. Heathcliff however, is ordered out of the house because of his foul language. Peeping through the window again, Heathcliff sees that Cathy is happy and comfortable and so comes back to Wuthering Heights and explains all this to Nelly.
The next day Mr. Linton calls on Hindley and tells him to be more responsible towards Cathy.
Wuthering Heights Summary: CHAPTER 7
Catherine remains at Thrushcross Grange for 5 weeks and returns home on Christmas eve. She had gone away as a tomboy, Heathcliff’s equal but she returns transformed into a dignified, well-groomed, elegant young lady. She immediately asks for Heathcliff and after kissing him, bursts out laughing at his neglected and unkempt appearance. Hurt, angry, and sensitive to the difference between them, he quickly dashes from the room and keeps out of her way for the rest of the evening. It is Christmas eve and Nelly, remembering old Earnshaw’s love for the boy, tries to encourage him to come into the kitchen but Heathcliff sulks and goes to his room without supper. The next day, however, he asks Nelly to tidy him up and when Cathy, with the two young Lintons, Isabella and Edgar, returns from the Church, he goes to greet them.
Unfortunately, Hindley meets him and annoyed at seeing him neat and cheerful, pushes him roughly back, saying his manners were not fit for the company. Edgar Linton makes a disparaging remark about Heathcliff’s long hair and as a result, receives a tureen of hot apple sauce on his face. Consequently, Hindley flogs Heathcliff and locks him in his bedroom without any Christmas dinner. Catherine is filled with scorn for her weeping guests and pities Heathcliff. In the evening, as everyone listens to the band from Gimmerton, Cathy contrives to slip up to Heathcliff’s room and helps him escape to the kitchen but he is unable to eat the food Nelly offers him. He is lost in his own thoughts, and when Nelly asks him what troubles him, he answers, “I am trying to settle how I shall pay Hindley back. I don’t care how long I wait if I can only do it at last”
The chapter ends with Lockwood persuading Nelly Dean to continue the story slowly, omitting nothing of importance.
Wuthering Heights Summary: CHAPTER 8
In the summer (June) of 1778 Hindley’s wife Frances, gives birth to a son Hareton Earnshaw. Frances however, never recovers, and her health deteriorates till a year later she dies in Hindley’s arms. Nelly Dean takes complete charge of the child Hareton. Hindley is so affected by his wife’s death that he behaves like a demented man cursing God and man. He begins to lead a life of reckless dissipation. Life at Wuthering Heights thus worsens, the servants, leave and even the curate no longer makes a call. By the time Catherine is fifteen, in 1780, she has become a beauty. However she is as haughty, headstrong, and arrogant as ever-She leads a double life—lady-like, dignified, and well-behaved with the Lintons, but wild and unrestrained at home. She is courted by Edgar Linton and she seems to have less and less time for Heathcliff causing him to hurt and misery.
Heathcliff lacks all supervision and education and deteriorates in every way. Neglected and unloved, he takes pleasure in arousing aversion rather than esteem.
One afternoon, when Hindley is away, Heathcliff comes in hoping to spend the afternoon with Cathy but is annoyed and angry to find that she is expecting Edgar Linton.
Catherine upset over her quarrel with Heathcliff takes it out on Nelly. Nelly retaliates by insulting her in front of Edgar. Losing her temper completely Catherine slaps Nelly, shakes little Hareton, and hits Edgar on the ears when he tries to intervene. Edgar is shocked to see Catherine behave in this unladylike manner and is prepared to leave. However, Catherine weeps and Edgar returns. The incident ends with both of them declaring their love for one another.
Wuthering Heights Summary: CHAPTER 9
Hindley continues his life of drunken dissipation and terrorizes the young Hareton. He treats Hareton, either with immoderate fondness or with a madman’s cruelty. One afternoon, he catches Nelly, hiding Hareton from him, and threatens her with the carving knife. He boxes Hareton‘s ears and carries the screaming child upstairs and holds him over the banister. At that moment Heathcliff enters downstairs and by a reflex action catches Hareton as he fell and sets him on his feet. Nelly, very angry, snatches the child and goes into the kitchen, lulling him to sleep.
Catherine comes into the kitchen to talk to Nelly. Neither of them realizes that Heathcliff is sitting quietly in a dark corner of the kitchen. Catherine makes the confession to Nelly that she is going to marry Edgar Linton.
Wuthering Heights Summary: CHAPTER 10
Nelly Dean continues the story after a break of four weeks as Lockwood had been ill.
After Catherine’s marriage, things are smooth for about six months. Cathy’s behavior towards Nelly improves; she is very affectionate towards Edgar and dotes on Isabella, Edgar’s sister. Edgar almost worships her and does everything to please Catherine at all times.
Then one September evening Heathcliff appears as suddenly and mysteriously as he had disappeared. Nelly is surprised and wonders if he is really Heathcliff. Heathcliff tells Nelly that he wishes to meet Catherine and Nelly wonders what Cathy’s reaction would be on seeing Heathcliff. Cathy is of course, jubilant and wild with joy on seeing Heathcliff and flinging her arms around Edgar she says: ‘Oh, Edgar, Edgar! Heathcliff’s come back’. Edgar however, cannot share her happiness and enthusiasm and is angry at her obvious delight. He tells Cathy that she can meet Heathcliff only in the kitchen and not in the family sitting room.
Heathcliff is a totally transformed man now. He is athletic, intelligent, dignified yet stern. Cathy and Heathcliff are totally absorbed in one another and they exchange news. Heathcliff tells Cathy that he has come to see her as he had heard of her marriage. He had wanted to see her just once, settle his score with Hindley and then do away with himself, but her warm welcome makes him change his mind.
Cathy makes up with Edgar and there is some peace as Heathcliff proceeds cautiously. However, new trouble soon arises. Isabella Linton becomes greatly attached to Heathcliff and reveals her love to Cathy who warns her against him: “He’s a fierce, pitiless, wolfish man. He’d crush you like a sparrow’s egg if he found you a troublesome charge. He’d be quite capable of marrying your fortune”. Nelly too warns Isabella that Heathcliff is a gambler and his riches may have been ill-gotten. But Isabella will hear nothing against Heathcliff.
The next time Heathcliff comes to the Grange, Cathy embarrasses Isabella by telling Heathcliff of her infatuation. Heathcliff has no love for Isabella but he notes the fact that she is Edgar’s heir to the property of Thrushcross Grange.
Wuthering Heights Summary: CHAPTER 11
Nelly is constantly worried about Hindley living at the Heights with Heathcliff his sworn enemy. She decides to visit him and warn him against harboring a guest like Heathcliff. She does not meet Hindley but at the gate, she sees Hareton who neither recognizes nor remembers her. Hareton throws stones at her and abuses and curses her, behaving like a savage, a ruffian. From his remarks, she gathers that Heathcliff encourages his bad behavior, especially towards his father.
On Heathcliff’s next visit to the Grange, Nelly sees him embracing Isabella in the garden and she draws Catherine’s attention to it. When Heathcliff comes in, Cathy scolds him; there is a quarrel with Heathcliff angrily accusing Cathy of treating him insufferably. Cathy is torturing him. Similarly, he will torture others and plans to take revenge on those who have wronged him though he adds that he seeks no revenge on Cathy herself.
Nelly goes and informs Edgar of the quarrel between his wife and Heathcliff. He tells her to call two of the man-servants and proceeds to the kitchen where Cathy and Heathcliff are still quarreling. Edgar harshly abuses Heathcliff and tells him, “Your presence is a moral poison that would contaminate the most virtuous”, His words and manner annoys Cathy who locks the door and throws the key into the fire to prevent the servants from entering. Cathy and Heathcliff scorn at Edgar’s weakness and provoked beyond endurance he strikes Heathcliff and goes out through the back door to fetch, the servants. Heathcliff, on Cathy’s plea, breaks the inner lock and escapes hurriedly.
Edgar comes back and clearly tells Cathy that she can either have him or Heathcliff. Cathy does not reply but becomes hysterical dashing her head against the sofa and grinding her teeth. She locks herself in her room but Nelly imagines it to be merely a fit of spiteful rage and is not unduly worried.’
Wuthering Heights Summary: CHAPTER 12
A grim scenario greets us at the beginning of the chapter. Catherine remains locked in her bedroom; Edgar stays in his study with his books; Isabella mopes in the garden; only Nelly goes stoically about her usual duties around Thrushcross Grange.
Catherine emerges from her room on the third day. She is weak and feverish and suffering from delirium. Nelly gives her tea and toast. Catherine cannot bear to think that Edgar is indifferent to her condition, and becomes more agitated and wild, tearing the pillow with her teeth. Then she begins to contemplate the feathers as she pulls them out. Her mind constantly reverts to life at Wuthering Heights and to her childhood with Heathcliff. Her ravings recall aspects of the story already significant to us: the clothes press and the oak-paneled bed of the room where Lockwood had his nightmare; the fir tree which tapped on the window; the death of old Mr. Earnshaw and Hindley’s ill-treatment of Heathcliff, the first visit to Thrushcross Grange. In her state of delirium, she becomes unmanageable and climbs out of bed, and leans out of the window in the cold night air.
Hearing voices, Edgar comes in and is horrified and shocked at Cathy’s haggard appearance. He blames Nelly for making light of Cathy’s condition and for not informing him of her serious state. He tries to soothe Cathy but she has realized the spiritual violation she has committed on herself by marrying Edgar and rejects his love. She tells him, “I don’t want you, I‘m past wanting you. Return to your books. I’m glad you possess a consolation, for all you had in me is gone.”
Nelly sets out to fetch the doctor and as she passes through the garden she finds Isabella’s dog suspended by a handkerchief from a hook in the wall almost in its last gasp. It is soon discovered that Isabella has gone off with Heathcliff and Edgar severs all relationship with Isabella.Dr. Kenneth, who had attended to Catherine during her previous fever, is disturbed at her state but does what he can for her.
Wuthering Heights Summary: CHAPTER 13
For two months, Cathy is ill with brain fever and Edgar nurses her very tenderly and lovingly. In March, Cathy has recovered sufficiently to let Edgar carry her downstairs to the parlor Close by, another room. The very room, in fact, which Lockwood now occupies, is fitted up as a bedroom so that Catherine does not fatigue herself by going up and down the stairs. This is important as we learn that Catherine is expecting a baby.
About six weeks after her elopement, Isabella writes a brief letter to Edgar telling him of her marriage with Heathcliff. As Edgar does not reply to her letter, Isabella writes a long letter to Nelly requesting her not to disclose the contents of the letter to Edgar but to come and visit her at the Heights where she has taken up residence with Heathcliff.
The letter takes up most of the chapter. It reveals the blunder Isabella has committed to trusting Heathcliff and marrying him. She paints a grim and dreary picture of life at the Heights; filth and neglect have taken over; Hareton is a dirty young savage, Hindley unkempt, slovenly and almost mad and murderous; Joseph rude and surly. Nicely brought up, Isabella is out of place here. None of the rooms are clean enough for her and she drops to sleep in a chair beside the fire in the sitting room.
Heathcliff has made it clear that she would never share his room and after telling her of Cathy‘s illness, promises to make her Edgar’s proxy in suffering until he can get hold of Edgar himself. Isabella’s letter reveals that Heathcliff has devised every method to hurt her feelings and she now feels that Heathcliff is either mad or a devil.
Wuthering Heights Summary: CHAPTER 14
Nelly tells Edgar of Isabella’s return and begs forgiveness for her, but he insists there shall be no communication between the two houses. however, he allows Nelly o go to Wuthering Heights. Nelly finds the house dirty and cheerless. Isabella herself is wan and listless, untidy and neglected. She looks a slattern. She is bitterly disappointed at receiving no letter from Edgar.
Nelly informs Heathcliff that Cathy is recovering though she would never be her old self. Nelly praises Edgar’s devotion and love for Cathy and the way he has nursed her during her long illness.
Heathcliff is not impressed by Nelly’s praise of Edgar and mocks his humanity and sense of duty. He believes that Cathy can never forget him and that their love for each other is deeper than anything Edgar can experience. When Isabella tries to defend her brother, Heathcliff scorns her and derides Isabella’s passion for him. He calls her an abject thing, a disgrace even to the name of Linton, and boasts of all he has made her endure: “The more the worms writhe, the more I yearn to crush out their entrails”.
Desiring to talk to Nelly privately, he brutally pushes Isabella out of the room. He refuses to allow Nelly to leave until she has promised to carry a letter for Cathy and to try to arrange a meeting between them.
Wuthering Heights Summary: CHAPTER 15
Nelly gives Heathcliff’s letter to Cathy four days after her visit on a Sunday when all the others are at Church. Catherine seems not to comprehend the letter. Meanwhile, Heathcliff who has been hanging around the Grange waiting for some reply is unable to bear the suspense any longer and bursts into Cathy’s room clasping her in his arms. On seeing her wasted state, he is distraught and tears and words of agony are wrung from him. He realizes there is no chance of her recovery and both accuse each other of torture. Both are tormented and broken-hearted. Heathcliff reminds her that she is responsible for her misery because she has married Edgar in spite of being in love with him. (Heathcliff)
Edgar is seen returning from the Church and Heathcliff tries to leave but Catherine clings to him crying, “It is the last time. I shall die.” Edgar is furious at finding them together but Cathy collapses and it is sometime before she can be revived. However, she recognizes nobody and continues to sigh and moan. Heathcliff leaves telling Nelly that he would keep a watch from the garden.
Wuthering Heights Summary: CHAPTER 16
In this short chapter, Cathy dies after giving birth to a daughter, who is also named Catherine. Edgar is distracted with grief. Nelly philosophically says that Catherine has gone to perfect peace, ‘divine rest’ but does not really believe that Catherine can be happy in the other world. She goes into the garden to tell Heathcliff of the night’s events but he knows already that Catherine is dead. Nelly is distressed to see Heathcliff’s agony and realizes that, despite his wildness, he shares a common humanity. Her pious remarks about Catherine, however, rouse him to fury. He calls on Cathy to haunt him for as long as he lives and dashes his head against a tree, howling like a savage beast. Nelly leaves him, knowing she cannot help him.
Cathy’s funeral does not take place until Friday and her coffin remains uncovered in the drawing-room, where Edgar spends his days and nights, while Heathcliff watches from the garden. On Tuesday when Edgar goes to rest for a couple of hours, Nelly opens the window to give Heathcliff the chance of a last farewell. Heathcliff enters the room opens Cathy’s locket, throws Out Edgar’s hair, and places his own inside. Nelly sees what has happened and twines the two together inside the locket.
Cathy is buried, as per her wish in a green slope in the corner of the churchyard—away from the tombs of both the Lintons and the Earnshaw’s in a spot – where the wildness of heath and moor have encroached.
Wuthering Heights Summary: CHAPTER 17
The bright, cheerful weather of the preceding three weeks breaks on the evening of the funeral, and storm and wind and snow set in. The next day Nelly turns the parlor into a nursery and as she is sitting with the crying baby in her arms, Isabella rushes in, breathless and hysterical. She is dripping wet, her face is scratched and bruised and she has a deep cut under one ear. She throws her wedding ring on the floor and then drops it into the fire. Changing into fresh clothes and over a cup of tea, she tells Nelly of her escape from Heathcliff and the Heights.
For the past week, she tells Nelly, Heathcliff has almost been a stranger at the Heights. Hindley intending to go to Catherine’s funeral has remained sober overnight but begins to drink heavily in the morning and is thus unable to go to the church. He and Isabella stay at home all day. When Heathcliff returns at midnight he finds the backdoor locked. Hindley locks the front door too and plans to kill him as he tries to get in. Isabella however warns Heathcliff that Hindley is ready with a knife and loaded gun. Just as Heathcliff breaks through the window Hindley tries unsuccessfully to kill him and is himself injured. Heathcliff continues to kick and beat his unconscious adversary. He silences Joseph who makes a fuss about 1-Lindley’s condition and shakes Isabella till her teeth rattles.
The next morning Hindley looks very weak and sick. Heathcliff is stunned with grief. Isabella sympathizes with Hindley and taunts Heathcliff and goads him into throwing a knife at her. It cuts her beneath the ear, but she flees from the room and manages to escape across the moor to the Grange.
Now that her tale is told she wants Nelly to arrange for a carriage to drive her away to the village of Gimmerton- from where she intends to go somewhere else. Isabella then leaves by the coach which Nelly has ordered for her kissing her brother Edgar’s and Cathy’s portraits. She makes her way to London where a few months later she gives birth to a son who is named Linton. Heathcliff takes no immediate steps but tells Nelly that he will take his son’s custody whenever it pleases him.
Nelly explains that this time does not arrive until Linton is twelve years old and after Isabella’s death. Six months after the death of Catherine, Hindley too dies, following a night of drinking. Heathcliff is now master of Wuthering Heights as Hindley has gambled everything away and Heathcliff holds the mortgage. Hindley is left destitute and Heathcliff’s intention is to keep Hareton and see if one tree won’t grow as crooked as another’.
Wuthering Heights Summary: CHAPTER 18
Twelve years pass quickly and happily for Nelly who has full charge of Catherine’s daughter also named Catherine. Catherine is now twelve years old, charming and beautiful though a spoilt child. Edgar teaches her himself and she has not gone beyond the range of the park even once. She has no knowledge of Wuthering Heights or of Heathcliff though she often begs to go as far as Penistone Crags.
When Isabella realizes she is dying she writes to Edgar asking him to visit her and to take Linton home with him. Edgar goes to see her and stays away for three weeks. During his absence, Catherine tricks Nelly and makes her way to Penistone Crag, some five and a half miles away, on a pony and accompanied by several dogs.
Nelly is worried by evening and goes out in search of Catherine. When she reaches Wuthering Heights, which is between Thrushcross Grange and the Crags, she sees one of the dogs outside and realizes that Cathy is there. Catherine has met Hareton and the housekeeper at the Heights. However, Heathcliff and Joseph are away for the day. Hareton had gone with her to Penistone Crags and the two of them are on the best of terms.
When Nelly arrives at Wuthering Heights she is angry and Catherine becomes defiant. Catherine learns that Hareton is not the owner’s son and orders him about like a servant. But she bursts into tears when she realizes that he is her cousin. Hareton tries to befriend Catherine by giving her a puppy but she would not accept it. Meanwhile, Hareton and the housekeeper learn that Edgar has gone to fetch Linton. Nelly admonishes Catherine as they return to Thrushcross Grange and is afraid that Edgar might even dismiss her for negligence. Catherine, therefore, agrees to keep her visit to Wuthering Heights, a secret from her father.
Wuthering Heights Summary: CHAPTER 19
After Isabella’s death, Edgar brings his nephew Linton Heathcliff back with him. He is a pale, sickly, peevish boy. Catherine is wildly excited to see her cousin. Linton however, is gloomy and tearful to find himself in a strange place. Catherine lovingly soothes him and he soon cheers up under her care. As soon as Linton has gone to bed Joseph arrives at the Grange and insists that he must take Linton back to Wuthering Heights. Edgar realizes that Linton will have to be sent to his father’s house but refuses to wake him up and send him in the night. He sends Joseph away telling him that Linton can be taken the next morning.
Wuthering Heights Summary: CHAPTER 20
Edgar instructs Nelly to deliver Linton to Heathcliff the next morning as he does not want Heathcliff to come to the Grange to personally claim his son. Linton is displeased to be woken up at five in the morning and does not want to go to a father he has never heard of before. However, he has no choice and set off on Cathy’s pony accompanied by Nelly. Since Isabella had kept him in total ignorance about his father, Linton is inquisitive and questions Nelly about him. Nelly describes Heathcliff and tries to convince Linton that his father w1ll love him, though she herself does not believe. When they arrive at the Heights, Heathcliff is shocked at Linton’s sickly appearance and mocks him cruelly, “what a lovely, charming thing! Have not they reared it on snails and sour milk, Nelly?” But nevertheless, Heathcliff claims ownership of him—”he‘s mine”—for he plans to use Linton to acquire the property of the Grange. Linton is terrified of him and when Nelly leaves he cries to be taken back with her.
Wuthering Heights Summary: CHAPTER 21
Catherine is disappointed to find that her cousin has gone when she wakes up.
Two years pass. Nelly keeps receiving news of life at Wuthering Heights from the housekeeper. The accounts of Linton are uncomplimentary. His weakness and selfishness make him unpopular at the Heights. He is constantly sick with colds, coughs, aches, and pains and spends a great deal of time in bed. There is now a new housekeeper at the Heights—Zillah—Whom Lockwood has met on his visit to the Heights.
Catherine we are told is to celebrate her sixteenth birthday on March 20th but it being also the anniversary of her mother’s death, Edgar very rarely indulges in celebrations. He invariably spends the day alone in the library or walks to his wife’s grave at Gimmerton.
On the day she is sixteen, Catherine is given permission to go with Nelly for a walk on the moor. Running ahead, she meets Heathcliff and Hareton who invite her to the house despite Nelly’s objections.
At the Heights, Catherine sees Linton again now a tall youth of fifteen. She realizes then that Heathcliff is her uncle and he tells her that the two families have been separated because of his quarrel with Edgar in the past.
Heathcliff frankly admits to Nelly, his desire to see Catherine and Linton married so that on Linton’s death he (Heathcliff) can inherit the Thrushcross Grange. Linton however, seems at first to be disinterested in Catherine and it is Hareton who proceeds with her to the garden. Hareton is as clumsy and boorish as ever and Heathcliff rejoices in it. Yet he compares him very favorably with his own son; gold put to the use of paving stones’, whilst Linton is ‘tin polished to ape a service of silver’. Linton is finally, persuaded to follow Hareton and Cathy outside where Cathy is asking about the inscription over the door. Catherine and Linton then cruelly mock Hareton for being unable to read his own name inscribed over the front door.
It is indeed strange, that though the boy is only twelve years old, Heathcliff After much urging from Nelly, Cathy and Nelly return home in the afternoon. The next day Cathy tells her father of the visit. Greatly distressed, he tries to explain to her Heathcliff’s diabolical nature, but Catherine brought up in gentle and loving circumstances cannot comprehend such cruelty and she refuses to believe her father. Edgar warns her to cut off all ties with the Heights.
As the weeks pass Cathy becomes very secretive and one day Nelly discovers a bunch of letters from Linton in a drawer. A milk boy has been acting as a go-between carrying letters from one to another. Nelly, though very angry at the deceit, is persuaded by Cathy not to tell Edgar. Nelly burns the letters and sends a note to Linton asking him to refrain from sending further letters.
Wuthering Heights Summary: CHAPTER 22
Summer passes and in autumn Edgar catches a severe cold that affects his lungs and he is confined indoors. Cathy is sad and lonely.
One day when Cathy climbs on the wall to gather some rosehips, her hat falls on the other side and she jumps down to get it but cannot climb back again. Nelly is about to run and get the key to the lock on the nearby gate when Heathcliff approaches on a horse. He tells Cathy that Linton is dying of love for her and only she could save him. Heathcliff declares that he will be away from home for a week, begs Cathy to visit Linton, and rides away. Cathy is so upset at this news that Nelly agrees to go with her to the Heights to see Linton.
Wuthering Heights Summary: CHAPTER 23
The next day, after a wet night Cathy in accordance with her wishes goes to the Heights along with Nelly.
They find Joseph smoking and drinking in the kitchen beside a roaring fire. However, Linton in the absence of Heathcliff is totally neglected by everyone. His fire is nearly out and he is coughing and feverish.
Linton is in a querulous and complaining mood. He complains against everyone at the Heights and accuses Catherine too, of neglecting him. Nelly gets no thanks, though she has made the fire for him.
Cathy is touched by his illness and tells him that next to her father and Nelly, she loves him the most. This soon leads to a quarrel between the two, regarding their parents. Cathy gets so angry that she pushes his chair violently. Linton falls into a paroxysm of coughing which frightens both Nelly and Catherine. Nelly however suspects that he is exaggerating his condition. Catherine pets and soothes him and sings for him. She believes she can save his life with her care.
On their way back Cathy and Nelly argue and Nelly forbids Cathy to return to Wuthering Heights. During the walk, Nelly’s shoes and stockings are soaked through and this brings on a chill. She is confined to bed for three weeks and Catherine divides her day between nursing her father and Nelly. Her evenings are own, however, and she rides over the moor to visit Linton at Wuthering Heights without Nelly’s knowledge.
Wuthering Heights Summary: CHAPTER 24
After three weeks, Nelly’s health improves. When she is able to sit up she asks Cathy to read to her in the evening and she does it with barely disguised impatience. She behaves in the same way the next evening too and on the third evening she complains of a headache and goes to her bedroom. Nelly goes to her room to enquire about her health, only to find Cathy missing. She waits by the window for her to return. On her return, Cathy at first lies about what she had been doing but finally confesses that she had been visiting Linton every evening at the Heights.
Cathy now takes up the narration describing her visits to the Heights. On one occasion Hareton meets her at the gate and proudly reads the name above the door but cannot manage to read the figures. So Catherine mocks him and calls him a dunce. In revenge he chases her and Linton from the room. Linton’s shrieks bring on a dreadful fit of coughing and blood gushes from his mouth. Hareton tries to speak to her as she starts for home but she cuts him with her whip. On her next visit, Linton is bad temper. But he admits to his faults saying that he is a worthless fellow, bad in temper and bad in spirit and that if she wants to leave him, she is free to say good-bye. This moves Catherine to tears and they part on friendly terms.
Edgar forbids Cathy to visit Wuthering Heights again but promises to write and give Linton permission to call at the Grange.
Wuthering Heights Summary: CHAPTER 25
As promised, Edgar writes to Linton, inviting him to visit Catherine at the Grange. However, Linton replies that he is not allowed to call at the Grange. He begs Edgar to allow Cathy to meet him on the moor and says he would have no objection if Edgar himself accompanies her. He also tries to reassure Edgar by writing that he is not like his father, Heathcliff. Edgar’s health is steadily deteriorating and hence he is concerned about Cathy’s future. Linton is heir to the estate and therefore Edgar believes that Catherine’s hope of security lies in marriage to Linton. At last, therefore, he reluctantly agrees to allow the two to meet on the moors once a week to walk or to ride together under Nelly’s surveillance.
Wuthering Heights Summary: CHAPTER 26
When Cathy goes to meet Linton on the moors, accompanied by Nelly as decided, they are shocked to see Linton in a very sick state. He is pale and ill, hardly capable of conversation. He is clearly not really pleased to see them, though he is terrified at the possibility that they will go away early. He tries to assure them that he is well.
Whilst talking he drops asleep and awakes with a start. He begins to weep when he overhears Nelly telling Catherine that Linton’s health has greatly deteriorated. Catherine is disappointed with the entire visit and especially with Linton and prepares to leave. Just then Heathcliff is seen approaching and Linton clings to Catherine’s arms and begs her not to leave him. Catherine assures him she will meet him on the following Thursday and leaves in Nelly’s company. Back at the Grange, Catherine feels a vague sense of foreboding regarding Linton’s poor physical state.
Wuthering Heights Summary: CHAPTER 27
Edgar’s health deteriorates rapidly and Catherine is in no mood to leave her father and visit Linton the following Thursday.
She, however, goes for a short while during the afternoon. Lin ton is waiting for them, but he is no better than on his previous visit. He appears to be in abject terror and looks towards Catherine, half-supplicating, and half-ashamed. His cowardice prompts Catherine to scorn him. Linton himself is wretched and calls himself worthless and cowardly. While they are thus, talking together Heathcliff arrives and invites them into the house. Nelly and Catherine refuse and Linton almost collapses with fear. He whispers to Catherine that he dare not enter the house without her, so she accompanies him. Once they are inside the house, Heathcliff turns the key in the lock and they are prisoners. Cathy however, is unafraid and tries to take the key from Heathcliff who refuses to give it. She then bites his hand and Heathcliff violently slaps her head a number of times.
Nelly rushed to protect Catherine but Heathcliff knocks her out too, with a heavy blow. Amidst all the violence, Linton peevishly demands his tea. He explains then, to Catherine that Heathcliff intends to keep them there that night and force Catherine to marry Linton in the morning. Cathy is now concerned about her father who will miss her. When Heathcliff returns to the room after a few minutes of absence, she appeals to him to let her go. She promises to marry Linton and sees no reason why Heathcliff should use force when she and her father were both willing to agree to the match. However, Heathcliff is adamant and even delighted to think of Edgar’s suffering and anxiety. Since the housekeeper—Zillah is away, they are locked in her room for the night. Catherine is allowed to be taken out the next day but Nelly is kept prisoner for another four or five days. Hareton brings food for her once a day but refuses to speak to her.
Wuthering Heights Summary: CHAPTER 28
After five days of imprisonment, Nelly is set free by the housekeeper—Zillah, who tells her that the whole village thinks she has been drowned in the marsh. Nelly rushes downstairs, where she sees Linton sucking sugar candy. She asks for Catherine and he arrogantly tells her that she is now his wife. Linton is her jailer and apart from Heathcliff, he alone knows where the key to her apartment is hidden. Heathcliff has led Linton to believe that Catherine hates him and wants him (Linton) to die so that she could have all his money. Linton spitefully tells Nelly that steps have been taken that she should not get any of his money.
On the contrary, he is pleased that all her possessions are now his. Nelly learns too, that Catherine has fought to keep her locket which contained miniature portraits of her parents. Heathcliff interferes iii the quarrel—he keeps one of the portraits and crushes the other with his foot. When Nelly realizes that she is unable to free Catherine, she returns to Thrushcross Grange where she finds Edgar Linton very close to death. Four men are sent to the Heights to rescue Cathy but they come back without her and say that Catherine was too ill to leave her room. However, the very next moment there is a knock on the door and Cathy comes in, having escaped through the window of her mother’s old bedroom, the very window beside which a few months later, Lockwood experiences his nightmare. Catherine is just in time to see her father died peacefully.
At dinner time Mr. Green the lawyer arrives and takes charge of everything. He is in Hcathcliff’s pay and takes his orders from him.
Catherine is allowed to stay at the Grange only till the hour of the burial.
Wuthering Heights Summary: CHAPTER 29
The evening after the funeral, Heathcliff now master of the Grange, comes to take possession and get Catherine back to Wuthering Heights. The room which he enters is the same into which he had been escorted, as a guest eighteen years before, when he had returned to Gimmerton after his mysterious disappearance for three years. In spite of Catherine’s resistance, he orders her to behave like a dutiful daughter-in-law and sends her to pack her things. He informs Catherine that he intends to rent his property to a tenant.
When Catherine leaves the room to collect her things, Heathcliff talks to Nelly, the one person he has known all his life. He tells Nelly that the previous day whilst Edgar’s grave was being dug beside that of his wife, he had opened Catherine’s coffin and looked upon her face; he had then bribed the sexton to pull away from one panel of her coffin, his object being that, when his dead body should be buried, it should be close to Cathy’s dead ‘body without there being any wall between them.
Heathcliff has been haunted by Catherine for the last eighteen years. He tells Nelly that Catherine has disturbed him night and day but now he felt tranquil because he had dreamt that he was sleeping his last sleep by the side of that dead woman whom he had never ceased to love.
The story brings back to his mind, the evening of Catherine’s funeral when he had also attempted to open her coffin, only to become convinced that she was not in the grave but with him on the earth. Catherine was so real to him that he talked to her as he returned to Wuthering Heights. When he arrived there, however, he found that Hindley and Isabella had locked him out.
After narrating to Nelly these events, Heathcliff leaves the Grange taking Catherine with him. He orders Nelly to stay on at the Grange and act as the housekeeper for the tenant who would take the Grange on rent.
Wuthering Heights Summary: CHAPTER 30
Nelly is now no longer in direct contact with Cathy. The story is now taken p by Zillah, the housekeeper at Wuthering Heights. She meets Nelly on the moor and tells her of the happenings at the Heights. On reaching the Heights, Catherine shuts herself in with Linton who is seriously ill. She is given no help in nursing Linton. One evening, Catherine begs Heathcliff to send for a Doctor as Linton is dying. However, Heathcliff replies that he is not prepared to spend anything to save the worthless life of Union. Within a short time, Linton dies leaving everything to his father. Catherine is now destitute, penniless, and totally at the mercy of Heathcliff. Catherine stays in her room for a fortnight after Linton’s death, hardly eating anything. Then one Sunday afternoon, the cold weather forces her to come downstairs. Hareton tries his best to please her and be civil to her, but she rebuffs him. She is haughty, cold, and unfriendly towards the whole household. Watching her read, Hareton one day ventures to touch her curls, but she turns on him furiously and tells hint that she despises him.
At this point, the story which Nelly has been narrating to Lockwood comes to an end. Lockwood has now recovered from his illness and is able to move about. He decides to ride over to Wuthering Heights to inform Heathcliff that he would be spending the next six months in London.
Wuthering Heights Summary: CHAPTER 31
Having recovered from his illness, Lockwood rides to the Heights to tell Heathcliff, that he intends returning to London, as he has had enough of the country. To Lockwood, Catherine appears sulkier and less spirited than before. He drops Nelly’s note to her surreptitiously but, clearly believing it is a note from Lockwood himself, she throws it off her lap and remarks upon it. Lockwood then informs her it is Nelly’s note. Catherine tries to take it up again but Hareton snatches it saying he would give it to Heathcliff. However, when he sees her distress, Catherine returns the note. Catherine complains to Lockwood that she has neither books nor writing material and accuses Hareton of stealing some of her books. She also makes fun of his reading and pronunciation. Hareton then brings a bundle of books from his room and throws them in her lap. She, however, continues to mock him and finally, in a fit of rage, he hurls them in the fire and smacks Catherine on her face. As Hareton leaves, Heathcliff comes in muttering that Hareton grew more like Catherine every day. He invites Lockwood to stay for dinner and dismisses Catherine to the kitchen with Joseph.
Lockwood leaves Wuthering Heights with the wish that had he and Cathy fallen in love it would have turned into a fairy tale romance.
Wuthering Heights Summary : CHAPTER 32
Eight months later, in September 1802, Lockwood is again in the district and decides to spend the night at the Grange. He finds a new housekeeper in charge, who tells him that Nelly is now at the Heights. He decides to walk there, while the housekeeper prepares his bed and meal. As he approaches the Heights, he has the impression that things are much improved: The gates open to his touch and the garden yields a fragrance of flowers. It is a warm day and all the doors and windows are open, though there is a fine coal fire burning in the hearth. Near one of the windows, he sees Catherine and Hareton conversing together.
Hareton looks handsome and respectably dressed. Catherine is teaching him to read and rewarding his efforts with kisses. Lockwood makes his way round to the kitchen where he finds Nelly sewing and singing whilst Joseph moans and complains. Nelly recognizes Lockwood and invites him in. He learns that Heathcliff had died three months previously and Nelly takes up the story once again. A fortnight after Lockwood’s departure to London, Heathcliff asks Nelly to go to Wuthering Heights. She is pleased to be with Cathy but finds life at the Heights depressing. Cathy is restless and miserable, Hareton morose and Heathdiff shuns all society. After a while, however, Nelly notices that Catherine’s behavior to Hareton is changing she seems incapable of letting him alone, but remembering her earlier cruelty, he rebuffs her advances. At last, however, she charms him into forgiving her, and they are now inseparable much to Joseph’s disgust and Nelly’s delight.
Wuthering Heights Summary: CHAPTER 33
The narrative is continued by Nelly who is filling Lockwood in, with all that has happened in the eight months he had been away. The friendship between Cathy and Hareton develops swiftly. Nelly is horrified to find Hareton uprooting some of Joseph’s black currant trees in order to plant flowers, for she knows this will cause trouble. Joseph complains to Heathcliff and an unpleasant scene follows. Cathy accuses Heathcliff of stealing both her and Hareton’s lands and money. Heathcliff furiously seizes her by the hair, but before Hareton can intervene, Heathcliff’s anger subsides, and looking intently into Cathy’s face, he pushes her from him, warning her to keep out of the way. That afternoon, whilst Heatheliff is out, Cathy and Hareton talk together. Cathy begins to criticize Heathcliff’s conduct towards Hindley, but Hareton is not prepared to hear any ill of Heathcliff. Heathcliff comes in and the two look up at him, both with the eyes of Catherine Earnshaw.
He is very disturbed and sends Cathy out of the room, Hareton follows. Heathcliff then speaks to Nelly. He tells her that though now he has both, Catherine-representative of the Lintons and Hareton-representative of the Earnshaws in his power, he has lost the desire for revenge. He feels that Hareton and Cathy are the only important things in his life. He has difficulty remembering to eat and drink, or even to breathe. Hareton especially disturbs him, for not only does he resemble Catherine Earnshaw startlingly but also personifies Heathcliff’s own youth. Heathcliff sees Catherine everywhere. His only wish is now to be one with his beloved. Nelly feels that his conscience has turned his heart to “an earthly hell”.
Wuthering Heights Summary: CHAPTER 34
For several days after the angry scene with Cathy, Heathcliff behaves strangely. He avoids all company and is unable to eat the food Nelly serves him. His odd behavior makes Nelly nervous. One night Heathcliff remains absent from home turning up only in the morning with a strange, joyful glitter in his eyes. Looking at his eyes Nelly wonders if he is a ghoul or a vampire. Nelly attempts to turn Heathcliff’s mind to religion, reminding him that he has lived a
selfish, Un-Christian life. He tells her how he wishes to be buried. He is to be taken to the churchyard in the evening. Though Nelly and Hareton may be present, no Minister is lobe present and no service is to be held. The coffin he says should be placed next to Cathy’s as arranged with the sexton. He tells Nelly, “I have already attained my heaven, and that of others is altogether unwanted by me.” Then the bright April weather changes. After a night of pouring rain, Nelly finds Heathcliff dead beside the open window of the room that had once been Catherine’s. The rain had beaten in upon him and the bedclothes are soaking; his hair and face are wet. Nelly shuts the window.
To the shock of the neighborhood, they bury him as he had wished. The country folk around believe that Heathcliff still walks the moors. Joseph affirms that he has seen both Catherine and Heathcliff on every rainy night since Heathcliff’s death. Nelly does not care to live at the Heights anymore. Cathy and Hareton are to be married on New Year’s Day 1803 and move to Thrushcross Grange with Nelly. Joseph is to remain the caretaker of Wuthering Heights. Lockwood leaves, wishing Nelly good-bye but avoiding the young couple. He then walks home past the churchyard, lingering for a time beside the peaceful graves of Heathcliff, Catherine and Edgar.
If you have any comments about the wuthering height summary, write in the comment box.