Wuthering Heights Summary

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë


Heathcliff was found by Mr. Earnshaw living on the streets of Liverpool, England. Mr. Earnshaw felt sorry for him and took him into his home. Heathcliff, who was about the same age as Mr. Earnshaw's daughter, Catherine, was not well received by the rest of the family. Hindley, Mr. Earnshaw's son, especially did not like the boy. Mr. Earnshaw named Heathcliff-- it served as both his first and last name.

Heathcliff was a sullen child, who knew how to get his own way by using Mr. Earnshaw's affection for him to thwart Hindley's actions against him. Mrs. Earnshaw died two years after Heathcliff came to live at Wuthering Heights.

The history of the occupants of Wuthering Heights is imparted to Mr. Lockwood, a tenant of Heathcliff's, by the housekeeper Mrs. Dean. Mr. Lockwood has moved into Thrushcross Grange, which Heathcliff owns, in October of 1801. He is curious about the occupants of Wuthering Height, who are Heathcliff, Hareton Earnshaw, Mrs. Catherine Heathcliff, Heathcliff's daughter-in-law, Joseph and Zillah.

After Mr. Earnshaw became ill, he was so bothered by how Hindley treated Heathcliff that he sent Hindley away to college. Mr. Earnshaw died and Hindley came home bringing with him his wife, Francis, he then became the master of the house. He made Heathcliff a servant and was severe to Catherine.

One day after Catherine and Heathcliff were out on the moor without permission, Hindley had them locked out of the house. Mrs. Dean waited up for them, when Heathcliff returned she found out they had been spying on the Linton children, and Catherine had been bitten by a dog as they tried to run away. Catherine remained at Thrushcross Grange for five weeks to recover from her wounds. Heathcliff and she had a strained relationship after that.

The Linton's came to Christmas that year, but Heathcliff was not allowed to join the family. He tried to anyway and was beaten by Hindley for his efforts. Heathcliff vowed revenge for Hindley's actions.

Hindley and Francis, in 1778, had a son named Hareton; Francis died a short time later. Her death threw Hindley into a deep depression. Catherine became more dependent on her friendship with Isabella and Edgar Linton and was soon courted by Edgar Linton.

Catherine and Heathcliff did resume their friendship, which quickly turned to love. Catherine could not marry Heathcliff, because he was a servant in the household, so she accepted a proposal from Edgar Linton. Heathcliff overheard her saying that it would be degrading for her to marry Heathcliff, and so he ran away. Catherine became ill and was sent to the Lintons to recover, but Mr. and Mrs. Linton caught her illness and died.

Hindley sent Mrs. Dean to Thrushcross Grange to live with Catherine and Edgar after their marriage. Three years later, Heathcliff returned and started to visit Catherine. Isabella fell in love with Heathcliff, which caused friction between her and Catherine. This was caused by Catherine trying to stop Isabella from making a mistake by marrying Heathcliff. After Heathcliff and Edgar had a fight, Catherine became ill. Heathcliff persuades Isabella to run away with him, so he could gain control over her and hurt her brother.

Catherine was nursed back to health by Edgar, but she was still delicate because she was pregnant. After Isabella told Edgar she had married Heathcliff, she was refused by her brother. He did allow Mrs. Dean to visit her and she saw how unhappy Isabella was. During this visit, Heathcliff told Mrs. Dean to bring a note from him to Catherine. He arrived as Mrs. Dean gave Catherine the note and the two of them had a reunion. Edgar arrived home to find his wife unconscious in Heathcliff's arms. She went into labor that night and gave birth to a daughter, Catherine. Catherine died two hours after giving birth. Both Edgar and Heathcliff were devastated by Catherine's death.

The day after Catherine's funeral, Isabella ran away from Heathcliff. She moved away and gave birth to a son, Linton. Hindley died six months after Catherine, which made Heathcliff the owner of Wuthering Heights and all its lands. He had been the person who Hindley mortgaged the land to. Heathcliff made Hareton his servant, just as Hindley had done to him.

Thirteen years later, Isabella died leaving her son to be raised by Edgar, but Heathcliff demanded custody of his son. Heathcliff planned to have his son marry Edgar's daughter, Catherine. He wanted to make Edgar miserable by having Edgar's daughter bound to his son. The two began a relationship, despite her father banning her from contact with Linton. Edgar finally allowed the two of them to see each other, if they were chaperoned by Mrs. Dean. On one visit Linton insisted, because he was sick, that Catherine help him into the house, then Heathcliff held them prisoner. He made Catherine marry Linton, then he held Mrs. Dean for four days. Catherine escaped in time to be with her father as he died.

After the funeral, Heathcliff made Catherine return to Wuthering Heights to be by Linton's side. Linton was very ill and eventually died. He had left all of his and Catherine's lands to Heathcliff.

After returning to Thrushcross Grange in 1802, Mr. Lockwood saw changes at Wuthering Heights. Catherine and Hareton, who had been enemies had become friends and were now fiancés. This was after Heathcliff became ill, with an illness which left him unable to eat or sleep. Heathcliff, after an argument with Catherine and a night spent on the moor, was changed. He could no longer eat or sleep and lost interest in Wuthering Heights. He was eventually found dead in his room. Catherine and Hareton were now in possession of what was rightfully theirs.

The tale of Wuthering Heights is one of revenge and lost love. The need of Heathcliff to take from others what he perceived was rightfully his. Heathcliff felt he was denied Catherine because Hindley made him a servant.



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