however, which you may suppose the most potent to arrest my imagination,
is actually the least, for what is not connected with her to me?
and what does not recall her? I cannot look down to this floor,
but her features are shaped on the flags! In every cloud, in every
tree—filling the air at night, and caught by glimpses in every object
by day, I am surrounded with her image! The most ordinary faces
of men and women—my own features—mock me with a resemblance. The
entire world is a dreadful collection of memoranda that she did
exist, and that I have lost her!
In this passage from Chapter XXXIII,
Heathcliff confesses to Nelly his inner state. What Nelly calls
Heathcliff’s “monomania on the subject of his departed idol” has
now reached its final stage of development. In the passage in which
Heathcliff describes his excavation of Catherine’s grave, the reader
gains insight into Heathcliff’s frustration regarding the double
nature of all of Catherine’s “memoranda.” While Catherine’s corpse
recalls her presence, it fails to substitute fully for it, and thus
recalls her absence. Heathcliff’s perception of this doubling comes
through in his language. The many signs of Catherine show that “she
did exist” but that “I have lost her.” In the end, because his whole
being is bound up with Catherine, Heathcliff’s total set of perceptions
of the world is permeated by her presence. Consequently, he finds
signs of Catherine in the “entire world,” and not just in localized
figures such as her daughter or a portrait of Catherine.