SparkNotes Blog

Blogging Wuthering Heights: Part 10

Coffinmaker had a bit of trouble this week, but he pulled it together in the end. —Sparkitors


It is a terrible thing, ladies and gentlemen, and I will come right out and say that it was hard to write this post. Yes, it was difficult to cantilever my soggy-marshmallow-filled body over to the computer and pound this out.

But then I remembered all of your wonderful comments, and I took strength. I flexed my fingers (which, between typing and eight years of piano playing, are incredibly sexy) and wrote this post.

Well, I mean, I’m writing it now.





Pull yourself together, Coffinmaker! You can do this. Maybe the knife-gun will come in during this chapter. Better yet, maybe it’ll shoot Cathy right between the eyes.

(Glances at page.)

Oh Lord. Not Lockwood again! I think I may have lost what little resolve I had left. I know! I’ll speed read.

(Commences speed reading.)

Nelly says that life at Wuthering Heights seems fine for a few months, but doesn’t last. (Which deserves a real dun-dun-DUN, don’t you think, Nelly? I could use Lockwood’s head as the drum! And when I’m done, I’ll shove the drumsticks in his ears and impale his brain and then throw his brain over a cliff and send him running after it MWAHAHAHA. Sorry.)

You see, Heathcliff has returned. Nelly is coming back into the house one night when she hears a deep voice from the porch. She turns and finds Heathcliff, who is incredibly changed from a hunched, ignorant teenager to a tall, stern soldier-like man. Oh, and he has whiskers. Nelly says she doesn’t know what he did while he was away that made him stern and intelligent, but she imagines he might have been in the army. I bet he went in for a high school production of Cats. When I did that in 9th Grade it made me stern and intelligent in no time. And this would explain the whiskers.

Nelly tells Cathy that “a visitor” has arrived, and she goes downstairs. It doesn’t say what their conversation is upon meeting each other again for the first time in three years, but I imagine it goes something like this:

Heathcliff: So…I heard you aren’t gonna marry me after all.
Cathy: Yeah.
Heathcliff: Well, why not?
Cathy: Because I love you.
Heathcliff: Wow. Deep.
Cathy: Oh, Heathcliff, you dunce! I should have expected that you wouldn’t understand!
Heathcliff: I guess I should have expected that I wouldn’t understand too.
Cathy: Don’t you see? If I marry Edgar, I can save you!
Heathcliff: And then what are you going to do? I’ll be free, but I won’t be married to you. And neither of us will be happy.
Cathy: And that’s why I’ve been looking into polygamy. First I’ll marry Edgar, then I’ll—
(Heathcliff runs.)
Cathy: HEY! I’ll get us a king-size bed, I promise! Oooh, he would get cold feet. (Stamps foot.)

Edgar Linton asks Nelly who the visitor is, and she tells him it’s Heathcliff. He gets angry and won’t come down to see Heathcliff. Eventually, Catherine comes up and persuades him to be cordial.

Catherine blabs about how she had never hoped to see Heathcliff again, and the only bit of information that’s important during this whole part is that Heathcliff went to see Hindley Earnshaw, and they don’t seem to be at odds any longer. This makes Nelly suspicious of Heathcliff’s return, and when he says that he will have revenge on Hindley, she is…er, confirmed suspicious.

See, Hindley has found his new pastime in gambling, and is falling into debt. When he found that Heathcliff has a suitable amount of money from…dancing at the Jellicle Ball?…he asked him to stay at Wuthering Heights.

Anyway, Heath Crunch leaves and Linty Fresh goes to bed sulky because Catherine keeps singing Heathcliff’s praises. Nelly tells Cathy that she shouldn’t talk to Edgar about Heathcliff too much, and at first Cathy laughs, saying, “No! I tell you, I have such faith in Linton’s love, that I believe I might kill him, and he wouldn’t wish to retaliate.”

For once, I agree with Cathy.

Heathcliff establishes a routine where he comes to Thrushcross Grange and goes walking with Cathy and Isabella, Linty Fresh’s sister, who is about to become a more important character in the story and NO I DIDN’T LOOK AHEAD. Shhhhh.

Oh fine, I’ll tell you. So Isabella falls in love with Heathcliff. I guess after a life filled with weak, applesauce-fearing men, she likes a strong, tall one. I don’t know what she sees in him, but maybe the only other choice is Haskell “Neanderthal” Broadbottom across the street.

But anyway, Isabella starts acting “cross” and “peevish” and maybe just a bit “vexed” (and we ALL remember what THAT means) and the rest of the household thinks she’s getting sick. When Cathy threatens to call the local doctor, Kenneth, (who everyone seems to be afraid of, for some reason) Isabella says that she isn’t sick, she just wishes that Cathy weren’t so harsh.

Cathy indignantly asks how she’s been harsh, and Isabella says she felt angry when, the other day, as the two were walking with Heathcliff, Catherine told Isabella to leave them alone. The Big C defends herself by telling Isabella (whose nickname should probably be Isn’tabella, but it depends on if she starts asking Heathcliff to bite her or not) that she thought the girl would be bored with their company. Isabella asks Cathy if she ever thought that she might like Heathcliff’s company, and after a lot of useless Woman Talk (which is like Woman Violence, but less speedy and more painful) basically Isabella tells Cathy that she’s in love with Heathcliff.

Cathy laughs, as if the idea of Heathcliff and Isabella getting together is utterly ridiculous. She says, “It is deplorable ignorance of his character, child, and nothing else, which makes that dream enter your head. Pray, don’t imagine that he conceals depths of benevolence and affection beneath a stern exterior! He’s not a rough diamond—a pearl-containing oyster of a rustic: he’s a fierce, pitiless, wolfish man. I never say to him, ‘Let this or that enemy alone, because it would be ungenerous or cruel to harm them;’ I say, ‘Let them alone, because I should hate them to be wronged:’ and he’d crush you like a sparrow’s egg, Isabella, if he found you a troublesome charge. I know he couldn’t love a Linton; and yet he’d be quite capable of marrying your fortune and expectations: avarice is growing with him a besetting sin.”

…And then, she says that she is his friend, so she knows him. So WHY is she his friend, again? These aren’t usually the traits I look for in a friend, though they ARE the traits I look for in a plumber. Plumbers are no good unless they’re cursing your very existence the whole time they plunge your toilets.

Nelly sides, for once, with Cathy, and tells Isabella to keep Heathcliff out of her mind. She says he is a bird of bad omen, and that Hindley has been worse and worse since he came to stay at Wuthering Heights. She says that not a week ago she met Joseph in Gimmerton and he said…

…Well, I don’t know what he said, ’cause I don’t read Gibberish—I mean, Yorkshire accents. Anyway, I’m too puzzled to decipher this, because I’m having a hard time seeing Nelly relating Joseph’s exact words, in his exact accent, to Isabella. Saying things like, “One on ’em ‘s a’most getten his finger cut off wi’ hauding t’ other fro’ stickin’ hisseln loike a cawlf” is just silly, and why does Nelly take the time and the trouble to relate it this way?

Cathy takes this information and gets downright nasty with it. You know that friend in seventh grade who immediately, once you shared your secret with her, went and told that cute guy/girl that you liked him/her? That’s Cathy, except she doesn’t have an excuse since she’s not in seventh grade.

The next afternoon, as Isabella and Catherine are sitting and letting the anger simmer between them, Heathcliff enters. Before Isabella can go, Cathy grabs her.

Cathy holds on to Isabella and proceeds to tell Heathcliff about how Isabella is pining away for him. Heathcliff, hearing that Isabella feels affection for him, looks at her as if she were repulsive, which makes Isabella so uncomfortable that she applies her nails to Cathy’s arm.

Cathy calls her a tigress as she escapes, which is funny, because the other day, during their first confrontation, Cathy called Izzy a monkey. She might as well call her a whole zoo and save herself the breath. (Z…ing?)

Cathy says Heathcliff had better beware of those claws Isabella showed, and Heathcliff replies calmly that he would wrench them off her fingers if she ever attacked him. Cathy says she likes Isabella too much to have Heathcliff gobble her up, and he says he likes her too little to do so except in a very ghoulish fashion.

And, I’m sorry, but the rest of this conversation sounds like something that went on after Sauron and the Wicked Witch of the West hooked up.

Cathy: I love Izzy’s eyes. They look so much like her brother’s.
Heathcliff: I’d eat her eyes, except they probably taste like pickle relish.
Cathy: Oh, Heathcliff, you’re obviously not feeling your best. When was the last time you skewered a peasant’s head?
Heathcliff: Well…oh, God, it’s been…days!
Cathy: That’s your whole problem. Here, don’t get up. I’ll make you some soup out of live infants. That always cheers you up.
Heathcliff: You’re a dear, Cathy, a real dear.

Smeyer’s thoughts after reading this chapter: Smeyer is looking for a plumber. She tries to write her own Craigslist ad, but it is so full of angst and bad similes that no one applies. She rips Catherine’s description of Heathcliff from Chapter Ten and uses it to wipe up water from her leaky sink. As she does, she rereads the passage many times, and gets the idea to make her male protagonist a jerk.

My thoughts after reading this chapter: OMG LOLCATS.

In Chapter XI: Cathy decides to test out her hypothesis that Linton wouldn’t retaliate if she killed him. She finds that she was incorrect. The story is continued in Withering Heights, the action-packed sequel where Linton rises from the grave as a creature of the undead!

If you would like to read Coffinmaker‘s past Wuthering Heights blogs, go here!