Why do Catherine and Heathcliff develop such a strong bond?

Catherine Earnshaw is a willful and high-spirited child; she doesn’t like Heathcliff immediately, but Nelly explains that within a few days “Miss Cathy and he were now very thick.” Catherine enjoys being with Heathcliff because he is a brave and independent playmate, and he does not expect her to behave in a lady-like manner. After Catherine's father’s death, Heathcliff and Catherine become even closer because they can share their grief. Nelly describes how “the little souls were comforting each other.” 

How does Heathcliff die?

As Hareton and Cathy Linton become closer, Heathcliff starts eating very little and wandering the moors at night. He tells Nelly that “there is a strange change approaching.” As Heathcliff’s behavior becomes more erratic, Nelly grows more alarmed, and the morning after a violent storm, she finds Heathcliff dead in bed with a strange smile on his face. The doctor is “perplexed to pronounce of what disorder the master died,” but Nelly believes it was Heathcliff’s intense emotional distress that led him to stop eating and, eventually, die. 

Why is Lockwood initially interested in Cathy Linton?

When Lockwood first visits Wuthering Heights, he is struck by Cathy Linton’s youth and beauty. He notes that she has “the most exquisite little face that I have ever had the pleasure of beholding.” Lockwood also presumes that Cathy is an ignorant and sheltered country girl, which makes him feel wise and sophisticated in contrast. When he presumes that Cathy is married to Hareton, he thinks to himself “She has thrown herself away upon that boor, from sheer ignorance that better individuals existed.” 

Why does Isabella Linton leave Heathcliff?

After Catherine's death, Hindley and Heathcliff have a violent confrontation in which Hindley unsuccessfully attempts to kill his enemy. Terrified, Isabella taunts Heathcliff, and he throws a knife at her. As Hindley and Heathcliff struggle, Isabella takes advantage of the opportunity to run, and “blest as a soul escaped from purgatory, I bounded, leaped and flew down the steep road.” She flees first to Thrushcross Grange and then leaves Yorkshire, never to return. The news that Isabella “had a son born, a few months after her escape” makes clear that she is pregnant when the fight occurs and is potentially fleeing to protect both herself and her unborn child. 

How do Cathy and Linton get to know each other?

After his mother’s death, Linton briefly stays with Edgar and Cathy but is then forced to go and live at Wuthering Heights with Heathcliff. On Cathy’s sixteenth birthday, she runs into Heathcliff on the moors, and he invites her back to the Heights to get to know Linton. After this meeting, Edgar forbids Cathy from visiting Linton, but the two write letters to each other. Then, when Nelly falls ill and can’t supervise Cathy properly, Cathy starts to sneak off to Wuthering Heights to visit Linton almost every evening. 

What is the framing device used in the book?

The book covers two primary timelines: it begins with Lockwood’s account, following his arrival at Thrushcross Grange and his meeting with Heathcliff and Cathy. After reading Catherine’s diary and having a nightmare of her ghost, he returns to Thrushcross Grange, where Nelly Dean takes over the narration and relays the events of thirty years prior, including the romantic saga of Catherine and Heathcliff. Once Nelly completes her story, Lockwood resumes narrating and leaves the moors, taking instead to London. Six months later, he visits Nelly once more for further information, and ends by visiting Catherine and Heathcliff’s graves.

Where does Mr. Earnshaw find Heathcliff?

The reader doesn’t learn too much about Heathcliff and his origins; even his introduction to Wuthering Heights is cloaked in vagaries. Upon visiting Liverpool one day, Mr. Earnshaw returns to his estate with the orphaned Heathcliff, and adopts the boy as his own. Despite Heathcliff’s mysterious nature and unknown background, Mr. Earnshaw takes a liking to him, treating his adopted son with the utmost affection. This, especially, fuels Hindley’s hatred of Heathcliff.

Where does the story take place?

The novel is set in Northern England at Yorkshire. Much of the book takes place at either of two primary estates: Wuthering Heights, or Thrushcross Grange. The isolated setting serves as the catalyst, and an escalating factor, in many of the novel’s events. The plot covers two primary timelines, the “present” being the beginning of the 19th century, with Nelly Dean’s recollections covering events from thirty years prior.

Why does Catherine marry Edgar?

Despite her adoration of and devotion to Heathcliff, Catherine knows that Edgar has the social status that will bring her the life she wants. Though she’s attracted to Heathcliff and her relationship with Edgar lacks passion, she chooses Edgar because he has been raised with the gentlemanly qualities that men of his time, and of his station, were expected to uphold. Catherine tells Nelly Dean in Chapter IX that she loves Heathcliff more than anyone, but ultimately her desire for a genteel and socially prominent lifestyle is stronger.

How does Catherine die?

Edgar finds himself frustrated and angry at Heathcliff’s return to Thrushcross Grange and thus ceases contact with him. In retaliation, a pregnant Catherine isolates herself and refuses to eat. This spells her doom, as she falls into increasingly poor health. Two hours after she gives birth prematurely to Cathy, she dies. Heathcliff curses this, and pleads for Catherine’s ghost to continue haunting him for all of his days.

How did Heathcliff earn his fortune?

Much of Heathcliff’s life is left vague by design, adding further intrigue and mystery to his brooding character. Having grown up an orphan, Heathcliff’s origin story is as mysterious as his return to Wuthering Heights later on in the novel. Though he is now an inexplicably wealthy man, the reader is never given clear information as to where his wealth came from.

How does Heathcliff gain control of Wuthering Heights?

Due to Hindley’s perpetual drunkenness and issues with gambling, Heathcliff identifies a way to gain control of the estate. By lending Hindley large sums of money to supply his gambling habits, Heathcliff ensures that he will be set to inherit the property, despite their tense relationship. As Hindley’s circumstances worsen following Catherine’s death, he locks Heathcliff out of the estate with plans to kill him. Heathcliff and Hindley engage in a fight, in which Hindley is injured. Six months after the funeral, when Hindley dies, Heathcliff inherits Wuthering Heights.

What is the significance of weather in the story?

The weather on the moors oscillates between rampant extremes. Characters remark on the cruel nature of the Yorkshire winters, while praising the serenity of its summers. Like the constant emotional back-and-forth in which the characters engage, the weather becomes a nearly operatic character in its own right and symbolizes the passion and turbulence experienced by the characters.

What is Cathy's relationship to Catherine and Heathcliff?

Cathy is the daughter of Catherine and Edgar. Two hours after Catherine gives birth, she dies, leaving Cathy without a mother. In the years that pass, Heathcliff’s son Linton returns to stay with him at Wuthering Heights. Thanks to Heathcliff’s machinations, Cathy and Linton begin a relationship that ends in their marriage. After Linton dies, Heathcliff forces Cathy to remain at Wuthering Heights as a servant.

In what ways is Heathcliff viewed as an outsider?

As an orphan, Heathcliff lacks familial associations that could better clarify his origins or social status, rendering him an outsider. Physically, he is vaguely described as having dark eyes and skin, suggesting he might not be white. Ultimately, however, his ethnicity is left an open question, deepening the mystery of his parentage. In a time period and location where names are so crucial to defining and limiting one’s class, it is notable that Heathcliff remains the only character who is given a single name. On the one hand, this allows him to exist on his own terms, while every other character has first and last names that can define or condemn them with the baggage of familial status. On the other, this only serves to further his outsider status; he is never referred to as an Earnshaw, and thus remains adrift, belonging to nothing and no one.