This book was written by Emily Bronte in the mid 1800's. It's a story of passion and love and hate and all that fun stuff. Nobody knows how Emily Bronte wrote all this because she was pretty reclusive and never really dated or had any friends. This book is so confusing because everyone is somehow related to everyone else. It is like a backwoods trailer community. You know, where everybody is "cousins". Anyway the story is told to us through the diaries of this guy who is not related to anyone. He gets all his information from the housekeeper, who is also not related to the family but may as well be. So, basically we just read about the family history of the Earnshaws and the Lintons and the weird stuff that goes on between them.
Mr.Lockwood: He is the narrator of the book. Through his diaries and experiences with these two families, we learn about them.
Heathcliff: He was adopted by the Earnshaws as a little boy, he was homeless and the dad took him in. He is a miserable guy, consumed by his love for Cathy and his mission to make Hindley’s life hell.
Catherine(#1) Earnshaw/ aka Cathy: This is the first Catherine, the second one is her daughter. She and Heathcliff grew up together and loved each other but she marries Edgar Linton and then dies when her daughter is born. Her ghost haunts Heathcliff.
Hindley Earnshaw: Catherine #1’s older brother. He was around when Heathcliff and Cathy were younger, but he was really mean to Heathcliff. Heathcliff hates him. He dies from drinking too much.
Frances: Hindley’s wife. She dies shortly after they are married.
Hareton: Hindley and Frances’ kid.
Edgar Linton: Son of the Linton’s. His family is a little classier than the Earnshaws. He marries Catherine and they have a daughter, Catherine #2. He dies while his daughter is still pretty young.
Isabella Linton: Edgar’s sister. She marries Heathcliff and they have a son, Linton. She dies.
Ellen Dean/ aka Nellie: She is the housekeeper for the Earnshaws. She has lived with them all her life because her mother was their housekeeper before her. She knows all the good stuff about these people and tells Mr.Lockwood, who tells us.
Joseph: He works for the Earnshaws doing all the outside stuff, like with the garden and the horses, etc. He is really religious and very creepy. He is kind of a funny character (or at least is supposed to be) because all he does is complain and tell the kids they are all going to hell.
The book starts with Lockwood’s story about the first time he goes to Wuthering Heights, the Earnshaws’ house, and sees Heathcliff. He is renting Thrushcross Grange, the Lintons’ old house now in Heathcliff’s posession, from Heathcliff. He gets sick from travelling there and when he returns to his place he has to be taken care of. Nellie is working at that house at this time and so she tells him the story of the Earnshaws and the Lintons. It basically breaks down like this.....
Mr. & Mrs Earnshaw were these nice people with two kids, Catherine #1 and Hindley, living at Wuthering Heights. Wuthering Heights was this nice happy home and everything was hunky dory. (Nellie knows all this because she grew up there too). Mr Earnshaw goes to Liverpool one day, (which is a major trip since they live in the boonies, on the moors in England). He comes home with Heathcliff who he saw just wandering the streets alone (although it could be possible Heathcliff was Mr. Earnshaw’s son with a mistress and he lies so he doesn’t get in trouble). They adopt Heathcliff. Heathcliff and Catherine #1 arelike the same age so they play together all the time and are best friends. Hindley is always mean to Heathcliff, like throwing rocks at him and stuff. Heathcliff swears he will get him back someday. Mr. and Mrs. Earnshaw die and Hindley is left to care for Catherine #1 and Heathcliff. He is all bummed out because his wife just died and he is stuck raising his own kid plus Catherine and Heathcliff. He basically hands over his son, Hareton, to Nellie. He starts drinking a lot. Heathcliff takes off for awhile and makes some money doing something in the city (It is most likely through criminal activity or shady dealings Heathcliff makes his money). Heathcliff comes back from the city with some money and starts in on his mission to make Hindley miserable. Hindley drinks a lot and Heathcliff takes advantage of that to win all his property and posessions through playing cards and gambling. Hindley is a jerk anyway, he is really mean to his kid, Hareton, and is miserable all the time. Meanwhile, Catherine #1 starts seeing Edgar Linton and is impressed by his manners and wealth. She eventually marries him and Heathcliff is all freaked out. They still see each other every now and then, but Edgar doesn’t like it. Catherine #1 eventually realizes her love for Heathcliff, but by this time she is already married. Edgar’s sister Isabella marries Heathcliff, basically to piss her brother off because he doe not like Heathcliff. This also pisses Catherine #1 off because she feels like Heathcliff is hers.
So, Catherine #1 is pregnant but has this breakdown from seeing Heathcliff and being overcome by emotion for him. She dies from this, although her baby survives. Catherine #2 is born on the day that Catherine #1 dies. This serves as a constant reminder to Healthcliff of Catherine #1. Heathcliff is so upset about her death. He does some weird stuff, like moving her body and making a place where they both can be buried together.
Meanwhile, Isabella leaves Heathcliff because he is so mean to her and she is afraid of him. while she is gone she gives birth to Linton, their son. Isabella eventually dies and sends Linton to live with her brother Edgar and his daughter Catherine #2. He does not stay there long because Heathcliff demands that LInton be moved into his house. This is not because Heathcliff loves his son, it is because he has the major power issue and just wants what belongs to him in his posession.
Catherine #2 is all bummed out that Linton had to leave and sneaks to see him and sends letters and stuff. Her dad finds out and is really pissed because he doesn’t want her to have anything to do with Heathcliff or his household. She keeps doing it anyway. Then , she eventually marries him. When she moves into Wuthering Heights after marrying Linton, Heathcliff takes control over her. She cannot go home to see her sick father or her friend Nellie, (Nellie moved to Thrushcross Grange when Catherine #1 married Edgar).
Catherine #2 is pissed off and is starting to regret her life. Her husband is a big baby, he is always sick and whining. He eventually dies and she is trapped living at Wuthering Heights because her father has died, and Heathcliff now owns everything, basically including her. So she becomes miserable along with everyone else at Wuthering Heights.
After being there and learning to accept her place, Catherine #2 starts to give her life a chance. She becomes friends with Hareton. She teaches him to read and they spend a lot of time together. They end up getting married. Heathcliff dies, after he has come to peace with his mission for revenge against Hindley and Edgar. He does not want to be a dick anymore and be consumed by hate, he wants to die in peace.
- Lockwood goes to visit Heathcliff to introduce himself as the tenant at Thrushcross Grange. He notes how lonely and unfriendly Wuthering Heights is.
- Lockwood goes back the next day because he doesn’t really have anything to do. He is not welcomed and made to feel like a pain in the ass for being there.
- He meets Joseph, Catherine #2 and Hareton and none of them smile or are very pleasant.
- Lockwood is forced to stay at Wuthering Heights for the night because it has gotten dark and there is a snow storm and he could not walk the 4 miles back to Thrushcross Grange.
- They put Lockwood in an old bedroom that the housekeeper says Heathcliff has a strange feeling about.
- He finds a diary belonging to Catherine #1 and begins reading it.
- He falls asleep reading the diary and starts dreaming. He has a nightmare that Catherine #1 is calling to hime from outside the window saying, "let me in." He feels her ice cold hand and sees a little girl’s face outside of the window. He gets freaked out and starts screaming.
- Heathcliff comes to see what is happening and is shocked by the words that Lockwood is yelling in a one sidedconversation with Catherine #1.
- Heathcliff is all fired up about this and sends Lockwood out of the room. He opens the window and yells for Catherine, his love, to come in, to come back to him!
- Heathcliff walks Lockwood home to show him the way through the snow.
- Lockwood aska Nellie about everyone at Wuthering Heights and their connections to eachother and Thrushcross Grange. (Hindley, Heathcliff and Catherine all grew up together. They had Hareton, Linton, and Catherine respectively. Catherine #2 first marries Linton and then Hareton, both her cousins).
- Nellie starts to tell the history of everyone.
- She grew up at Wuthering Heights because her mother was nursemaid to Hindley. She recalls the time that Mr.Earnshaw had gone off to Liverpool and came home with a little boy, Heathcliff. Cathy(#1) loved him and Hindley hated him. Hindley was really mean to him and he always took it which led Nellie to believe that he was not vindictive or revengeful. Something she would loater realize she was wrong about.
- Nellie tells the story of when Mr.Earnshaw died and the way that Heathcliff and Cathy were able to console eachother.
- Hindley comes home (from being away at college) for the funeral, and suprisingly brings with him a wife!
- She is so happy to be there and take over the homeat first. Then she gets sketchy about Heathcliff, and this is all that Hindley needs to renew his childhood hatred of him. He sends Heathcliff to live in the servants quarters and stops sending him to school, making him do labor for his keep.
- Cathy and Heathcliff are very troublesome together and are allowed to go crazy because Hindley does not discipline them, he basically ignores them.
- One night Cathy and Heathcliff go down to Thrushcross Grange to spy on the Lintons. They are laughing at how ridiculous the children are and get caught by the parenst. Mr.Liinton is disgusted that Cathy and Heathcliff are allowed to roam around like they do. He yells at Hindley and Hindley gets pissed. Heathcliff is not allowed to speak to Catherine anymore.
- Cathy had stayed at Thrushcross Grange for five weeks because she had injured her ankle and could not get back home.
- Cathy is reformed into wearing fine clothes and acting like a lady.
- Heathcliff is pissed and upset because now there is a barrier between them. He is treated as a servant, and her his mistress.
- The Linton’s come for Christmas dinner. Heathcliff is again embarrassed.
- Heathcliff swears his revenge on Hindley before he dies.
- Hareton is born and his rearing is left to Nellie because soon after his birth his mother dies.
- Hindley ignores his son and is so angry at God and life for taking away his wife. He becomes really mean to the servants and all of them leave except for Nellie and Joseph.
- Nellie recalls Catherine #1’s great beauty, but questions her character. She was extremely pleasant and charming in the presence of the Linton’s, but her mischievous self at home at Wuthering Heights.
- Heathcliff gets upset that Catherine #1 spends more time with the Lintons than him.
- Catherine has a temper tantrum in the presence of Edgar and he tries to get away from Catherine. He comes back and they confess themselves lovers. He has to leave in a hurry because Hindley comes home drunk.
- Nellie hides little Hareton and takes the bullets out of Hindley’s gun for fear that he might kill someone in his drunkeness and rage.
- Hindley attacks Nellie with a knife and scares Hareton.
- Heathcliff wishes Hindley would drink himself to death.
- Catherine admits to Nellie that she has told Edgar Linton she will marry him. She says she loves him because he is handsome, rich, and he loves her.
- She tells Nellie about a dream that she has died but does not belong in heaven. She weeped and tried to come back to earth, and the angels threw her on top of Wuthering Heights and she awoke weeping for joy. (this is kind of what happens, similiar to what Lockwood experiences of her ghost).
- She also tells Nellie that she knows she should not marry Edgar Linton, that she should marry Heathcliff but it would be degrading if she did because heathcliff is so low.
- Heathcliff over hears the part about him being too low to marry Cathy and takes off before he hears the rest of her talk where he says she loves him.
- No one hears from him or knows where he went.
- Catherine marries Edgar Linton and moves to Thrushcross Grange.
- Nellie goes with her and is forced to leave little Hareton, five years old, with his gruff father.
- Nellie gets Catherine settled at Thrushcross Grange and notes that Catherine’s attitude improves.
- Almost a year later Heathcliff shows up at their doorstep. He asks for Catherine to come out and see him.
- Catherine is so happy that Heathcliff is back, and Edgar is kind of pissed about it. He never like Heathclliff, he thinks he is poor and nasty.
- Heathcliff comes to visit often and Isabella, Edgar’s sister, develops a strong atraction to him. Her brother is really mad and upset about this. Catherine is jealous.
- Heathcliff learns of Isabella’s crush on him and is only interested when he learns that she is her brother’s heir.
- Nellie goes to Wuthering Heights to visit and little Hareton throws a rock at her. In less than one year since she left he has become devilish.
- Heathcliff goes down to the Grange and kisses Isabella, against Catherine’s wishes. Catherine gets all pissed. She goes nuts and has an enormous tantrum, then stays in bed for days following.
- Catherine is really sick. She has not eaten or been fully aware of her surroundings for days. She has made herself this way being so upset about Heathcliff.
- Isabella runs off with Heathcliff to marry him.
- Edgar will no longer acknowledge his sister, he just sends her stuff up to Wuthering Heights.
- Catherine is still sick and out of it. Edgar spends all of his time taking careof her, he loves her so much. Catherine is pregnant.
- Isabella sends a note after about 2 months. She writes to Nellie and expresses her unhappiness and fear of living at Wuthering Heights. She hates Heathcliff and begs Nellie to come see her.
- Nellie goes to Wuthering Heights to visit Isabella. Edgar will not send a note, only his respects and sorrow that Isabella had done what she did.
- Heathcliff constantly asks about Catherine and begs nellie to set up a way for him to go and see her. He sends a note, through Nellie, to Catherine.
- Heathcliff comes to see Catherine when Edgar is out of the house.
- He proclaims his love for her, and she does also. But, she accuses him of breaking her heart and making her unhappy. She says she will not ever be at peace when she is dead.
- There is so much passion being exchanged between the two. Catherine is so weak, and clearly near death.
- Edgar returns and Heathcliff still stays on Cathy’s command. She knowsit will be the last time they will be together. She becomes extremely weak and unaware of what is going on.
- Catherine #1 gives birth to Catherine #2, and then dies.
- Nellie goes outside to find Heathcliff, because she knows he will still be there. He is so distraught and upset. Nellie cries for his pain and for the loss of Catherine.
- Isabella runs away from Wuthering Heights and moves near London. She has a baby boy that she names Linton. Heathcliff finds out about her whereabouts and the child, but he does not bother or threaten her.
- Hindley dies and Heathcliff is now owner and in control of Thrushcross Grange.
- Nellie describes the next twelve years as happy ones, watching Catherine #2 grow up.
- At about this time Isabella wrote to her brother hoping that he would come see her as she was dying and had much to settle with him. She wished him to take care of her son Linton.
- Catherine #2 gets antsy and wants the freedom to runaround outside on her own. One day she finds herself at Wuthering Heights and Nellie has to go and find her there.
- Catherine #2 meets Hareton and cannot believe that such a person is her cousin. She is confused.
- Nellie swears her to secrecy about being at Wuthering Heights because her father would be so upset.
- Linton arrives at Thrushcross Grange. Catherine is so excited to have him there.
- Joseph shows up at the door and announces that Heathcliff demands his son to be brought to Wuthering Heights.
- Linton is taken to Wuthering Heights early in the morning, without Catherine’s knowledge.
- Linton is confused about where he is going, and about the father that he has never heard of.
- Heathcliff expresses his like of Linton because he is his. He loves to own and control things.
- Linton does not want to stay there.
- Catherine wakes up to find Linton gone, and she is upset about his leaving.
- About 4 more years pass by, it is Cathy #2’s 16th birthday.
- Cathy and Nellie go out for a walk on the moors and run into Heathcliff. He makes them go back to Wuthering Heights with him because he wants Cathy to see Linton.
- She is so happy to see Linton and wants to walk up to Wutherin Heights everyday.
- She tells her father about seeing Linton and Heathcliff, he gets upset. He is worried about what Heathcliff will do to her. He forbids her to have any contact with that household.
- Nellie figures out that Cathy and Linton are secretly sending letters back and forth. Nellie makes Cathy promise to stop.
- Nellie and Cathy go out for a walk on the moors. Cathy is upset about her father’s illness.
- Cathy’s bonnet flies over a locked wall, and while they are trying to get it back Heathcliff shows up.
- Heathcliff tells Cathy that Linton misses her and needs someone kind like her in his life. She is determined to go and see him again.
- Nellie goes with Cathy so that she can see Linton and tell him it was not her fault that she stopped writing.
- Cathy and Linton fight about their parents, and if they loved each other or not.
- Cathy swears to Linton she will come to see him.
- She tricks Nellie and her father by spending all day with them and then sneaking across the moors to be with Linton at night.
- Cathy confesses to Nellie about travelling to Wuthering Heights every night.
- She and Linton fight often. Hareton, also her cousin, gets angry that she does not spend as much time with him.
- Nellie tells Edgar about what Cathy has been up to, and that puts an end to her trips.
- We get an idea of the time frame, as Nellie tells Mr.Lockwood that those last instances were only one year ago.
- Edgar allows Cathy and Linton to meet for walks on th moor under Nellie’s supervision.
- Nellie notes how awful Linton looks and can’t believe how wickedly Heathcliff treats him.
- Cathy gets mad because Linton is so ill and weak, and the only reason he has come to see her is because he is afraid of what Heathcliff would do if won’t.
- Linton pleads with Cathy for her love. He says that only she can save him from Heathcliff. It is obvious that Heathcliff wants Linton to marry Cathy.
- Heathcliff gets Cathy and Nellie to come into Wuthering Heights and he locks them in, not allowing them to leave. He wants Cathy and Linton to marry the following morning, because he is afraid that Linton will die soon. Cathy is to stay there all night and after she marries Linton in the morning she may return home.
- Catherine is upset because she knows this will upset her father and she loves her father more than she loves Linton.
- Heathcliff locks her up for 5 days. Three servants had come from Thrushcross Grange to find her.
- The housekeeper of Wuthering Heights comes to let Nellie out. Nellie learns that Edgar probably will only live one more day.
- They still will not let Cathy out. Heathcliff tells Linton that it is shameful that his wife hates him and wants to leave him.
- Linton is glad to hear that Edgar may be dying because then the Grange will be his, everything that is Cathy’s is his. (He is obviously been influenced by Heathcliff and his crazy need for power).
- Nellie goes back to the Grange and sends lawyers to go get Cathy.
- Cathy returns home in time to be with her father when he died.
- Heathcliff makes Catherine go to live at Wuthering Heights, so he can rent out Thrushcross Grange.
- Heathcliff digs up Catherine #1 to see her again. He convinces the local funeral guy to figure out a way to let them be buried next to eachother. He is constanly haunted by her.
- Nellie has not been able to see Cathy #2 since the day she was forced to move to Wuthering Heights.
- Linton dies. He leaves everything (which is basically all of Cathy’s stuff and property) to Heathcliff.
- Cathy becomes completely miserable and pissed off at life. She does not want anyone to pretend to be kind to her or anything.
- Nellie wanted to get a house of her own and get Catherine out of Wuthering Heights ot live with her, but she knew that Heathcliff would never permit that.
- This ends Nellie’s story to Lockwood. The rest of what we hear happens as Lockwood tells it, present tense.
- Lockwood goes over to Wuthering Heights and brings a note for Cathy from Nellie.
- Catherine gets upset, wanting to go home to the Grange. She has no books or writing supplies to write Nellie back with. Heathcliff has taken everything away from her.
- Hareton reveals his secret stash of books and offers them to Cathy.
She throws them back in his face not wanting them because they are his.
- Lockwood daydreams about marrying Catherine, something that Nellie had suggested.
- Lockwood leaves the moors for awhile.
- Months later he is traveling by and decides to stop at Thrushcross Grange, as he is still renting it. He goes there and finds that Nellie is no longer there.
- Lockwood goes to Wuthering Heights.
- Nellie tells him of how Catherine patiently tried to win Hareton’s companionship and trust. She realized her nastiness in her treatment of him, and wanted to become friends.
- She began teaching him to read and they started spending a lot of time together.
- Nellie tells Lockwood that she wants to see Catherine and Hareton married.
- Catherine and Hareton destroy some of Joseph’s trees so that they can plant a garden.
- Joseph gets pissed and tells Heathcliff.
- Catherine stands up to Heathcliff. Hareton asks her to not play the two against eachother. Catherine learns that there are strong chains of the past that bind Hareton to Heathcliff.
- Heathcliff admits to Nellie that he is tired of being so revengeful.
He is almost tired of living.
- Hethcliff is acting really weird. He is in a good mood and seems consumed by some good news.
- Heathcliff dies.
- It is understood that Catherine and Hareton will be married.
THINGS TO MAKE YOU LOOK SMART
- The power and strength of an emotion as strong as love undermines this entire novel.
- Heathcliff and Catherine #1 find their peace of self and love for each other in their after life together.
- The strength of emotions such as revenge that can consume and destroy you, as it did to Heatcliff.
- This book takes place on the moors. The vastness and mystery of the moors reflect the same charactersistics in human emotions that can be so deeply felt.
- A bit topic to discuss is whether Heathcliff is good deep deep down. He does so many nasty things to everyone…even Cathy, the woman he loves, but does he have a heart under it all? You can talk about at the end of his life, he softens up.
- The book is very dark at times, but it ends on a positive note because of the love between Hareton and Catherine.
- Love triumphs over hate and revenge.
- What do you think would have been different if Heathcliff had heard what Cathy had really said in the kitchen before running off in chapter 9? If he heard she loved him, would he have not run off and caused all the pain he did?