A Brief Summary
Many people, generally those who have never read the book, consider Wuthering Heights to be a straightforward, if intense, love story — Romeo and Juliet on the Yorkshire Moors. But this is a mistake. Really the story is one of revenge. It follows the life of Heathcliff, a mysterious gypsy-like person, from childhood (about seven years old) to his death in his late thirties. Heathcliff rises in his adopted family and then is reduced to the status of a servant, running away when the young woman he loves decides to marry another. He returns later, rich and educated, and sets about gaining his revenge on the two families that he believed ruined his life.
(chapters 1 to 3)
Mr Lockwood, a rich man from the south, has rented Thrushcross Grange in the north of England for peace and recuperation. Soon after arrival, he visits his landlord, Mr Heathcliff, who lives in the remote moorland farmhouse called "Wuthering Heights". He finds the inhabitants of Wuthering Heights to be a strange group: Mr Heathcliff appears a gentleman but his manners and speech suggest otherwise; the mistress of the house is in her late teens, an attractive but reserved, even rude woman; and there is a young man who appears to be one of the family although he dresses and talks like a servant. Being snowed in, he has to stay the night and is shown to an unused chamber where he finds books and graffiti from a former inhabitant of the farmhouse called "Catherine". When he falls asleep, his dreams are prompted by this person and he has a nightmare where he sees her as a ghost trying to get in through the window. He wakes and is unable to return to sleep so, as soon as the sun rises, he is escorted back to Thrushcross Grange by Heathcliff. There he asks his housekeeper, Ellen Dean, to tell him the story of the family from the Heights.
The Childhood of Heathcliff
(chapters 4 to 17)
The story begins thirty years before when the Earnshaw family lived...