That, 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.