Wuthering Heights Chapters 5 - 8 Summary

Mrs. Dean continues with her story about the history of the occupants of Wuthering Heights. She relates to Mr. Lockhart the story of Mr. Earnshaw's death. He had become suddenly ill and was not a good patient. Everything seemed to aggravate him and he was most aggravated by Hindley's treatment of Heathcliff. It finally came to a head and Hindley was sent away to college.

After Hindley went to college, the hope was that the household would have some sense of normalcy. Instead, Catherine and Joseph caused disruption and stress. Joseph did this through his constant reminders to Mr. Earnshaw about the manner in which Heathcliff and Catherine behaved. Joseph felt that he was an authority on the Bible and its teachings. He also felt his interpretation should be followed by everyone in the house. He especially liked to blame Catherine for any problems which occurred at the house.

Catherine was a bit wild, she liked to have the run of the household and would cause trouble for any servant who did not do her bidding. She also seemed to gain joy from causing trouble and even enjoyed being scolded for her behavior. She did have a kind side to her, and after causing someone to cry would try to quiet them. Her father did not approve of her behavior and told her he could no longer love her because of her actions. This did cause her some sadness, but not enough for her to change her ways.

Finally, one day in October, Mr. Earnshaw died. His death caused many changes in the household. Up until this time Heathcliff was protected from the abuse of Hindley. Catherine, while not loved by her father, had the life of a country squires daughter. This all changed after Mr. Earnshaw died. Hindley Earnshaw came home with his new wife, Frances, to attend the funeral services. He also came home to take control of his sister and Heathcliff. Their lives changed dramatically, because his old hatred of Heathcliff came back and he used Heathcliff to keep Catherine in line. Heathcliff went from being favored son to servant and Catherine was for the first time punished for her actions.

Heathcliff and Catherine would slip into the moors any chance they could in order to get away from Hindley. One day they did not return and Hindley ordered the servants to lock them out of the house. Mrs. Dean, called Ellen, waited up to let them into the house anyway. After a while Heathcliff returned without Catherine, who had been injured by the Linton's dog. The Lintons were the family which resided at Thrushcross Grange. It seems the two of them were outside looking through a window spying on the Linton children and they were discovered. The dogs were set loose on them, and one of the dogs had bitten Catherine in the ankle. While they extended care to Catherine, Heathcliff was told to leave because he was seen as a ruffian. After receiving punishment from Hindley, and being separated from Catherine, Heathcliff gave up trying to get along with anyone. Catherine did come home, after a five week stay with the Lintons, but her relationship with Heathcliff was damaged.

On Christmas Day, not long after Catherine had returned home, the Lintons visited Catherine and her family. This visit did have one condition, which was Heathcliff was not allowed in the presence of the Linton children. Heathcliff decided he wanted to spend Christmas with the family, so he had Mrs. Dean help him clean up and promised to be on his best behavior. Unfortunately, Hindley saw him and told him he was not allowed to be with the family. Hindley insisted Heathcliff spend the holiday confined to his garret. Heathcliff also had a falling out with Edgar Linton, during which he threw a tureen of apple sauce on the boy. Hindley beat Heathcliff for this act. Catherine was put out by the actions of Edgar, because she told him he should not have talked to Heathcliff. Heathcliff vowed he would have revenge on Hindley no matter how long it took.

Skipping ahead in time three years, Mrs. Dean continues with her story. The year is now 1778, Frances, Hindley's wife has just given birth to their first born child, a son named Hareton. Frances is not well and dies a short time later. Mrs. Dean is put in charge of raising the baby, while Hindley goes into a state of depression. He drinks and acts in a severe manner towards everyone he comes into contact with. Heathcliff and Catherine have resumed their friendship, but she is also still friends with the Linton children. Edgar has started to call on her and Heathcliff is jealous and angered by their relationship. This all comes to a head one day when Hindley has gone into town for the day. Catherine has invited Edgar to come and visit her, not knowing that Heathcliff had given himself the day off and he intended to spend the day with her. After some harsh words, Heathcliff leaves her as Edgar appears at the door. Mrs. Dean, called Ellen, was under strict orders not to leave Catherine and Edgar alone, so she pretended to work in the room in which they were visiting. After refusing to leave them alone, Catherine pinches and slaps Ellen telling her to leave. At this point Edgar intervenes, because he does not approve of Catherine harming Ellen. Catherine in a fit shakes the baby, Hareton, who was in the room and then she hits Edgar in the ear. Edgar at this point leaves, telling her he will not be returning, but he does and the two of them become even closer.

Many changes for the occupants of Wuthering Heights occurred in these chapters, such as the death of Mr. Earnshaw and Hindley becoming the master of Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff comes upon hard times due to Hindley's treatment of him. Catherine also becomes involved with Edgar Linton.

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