Wuthering Heights


Plot Summary

Mr. Earnshaw introduces a homeless young gypsy, whom he names Heathcliff, into Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff is somewhat withdrawn and reticent, but soon proves to be the favorite companion of young Catherine. Her brother Hindley, however, despises him. Heathcliff does not necessarily care enough to hate Hindley, but when he is offended by him, he will exact his revenge.

The same goes for anyone else who tries to deprive Heathcliff of what he truly cares for, which is Catherine. Edgar Linton is such a person. He is introduced into the story one day when Heathcliff and Catherine push beyond the boundaries of Wuthering Heights and come across Thrushcross Grange. Catherine is bitten by a dog and forced to stay for some weeks with the Lintons, with whom she becomes fast friends, never evincing the kind of ill will she shows at home at Wuthering Heights. Because of this, the Lintons adore her and she becomes haughty. Her haughtiness offends Heathcliff, and he turns his back to her; she, in turn, is upset. They eventually reconcile, but Catherine cannot keep Edgar from becoming a part of her life. She chooses to wed Edgar in the hope that he will permit her to retain Heathcliff as a friend. Heathcliff, however, senses only that she is rejecting him for Edgar, and departs from Wuthering Heights for a period of three years.

Catherine and Edgar are married and situated at the Grange. They are happy for a time, but gradually Catherine begins to pine for something—life at Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff—it is never stated and only observed by Nelly, the caretaker and narrator of events (to Lockwood, the journalist), in retrospect. One day, Heathcliff reappears, throwing Catherine into a fit of ecstasy and Edgar into a state of mild alarm. Heathcliff acts with propriety, however, and calmly asserts that he is staying at Wuthering Heights at Hindley’s request. Hindley, the new master of the Heights, is given to drinking and gambling, and it is this latter vice that Heathcliff manipulates to gain control of Hindley and his estate.

Heathcliff and...

Sign up to continue reading Plot Summary >

Essays About Wuthering Heights