Chapters 8, 9 and 10
Hindley’s wife, Frances, is suffering from consumption
and she is also pregnant. Soon after giving birth to Hareton, she dies, and Nelly is expected to bring up the baby.
The death of his wife causes Hindley to become even more dominant, which causes all the servants to leave except Nelly and Joseph. Hindley treats Heathcliff more cruelly, who secretly delights in Hindley’s misfortune.
At this time Cathy has almost a split personality, being wild and free when
with Heathcliff, and a demure young lady when with the Lintons.
Heathcliff becomes jealous about the amount of time Cathy is spending with
Edgar and decides to confront her with this. Cathy responds by belittling him.
Nelly insists on being a chaperone to Cathy and Edgar, which greatly annoys
Cathy. On one occasion, Cathy pinches Nelly in order to try and get her to leave. Edgar tries to intervene, and Cathy slaps him about his ears. This is the first time that he witnesses Cathy’s wild
Meanwhile, Hindley more and more drowns his sorrow with alcohol.
During one such episode, he accidentally drops Hareton over the banister, and fortunately Heathcliff is there to catch the baby.
Heathcliff overhears a conversation between Cathy and Nelly.
Cathy states that she could never marry Heathcliff, as this would degrade her. This is not only because Heathcliff appears rough and coarse, but also because he allows Hindley to bring him down low. Heathcliff is upset at these words from Cathy and decides to leave Wuthering Heights before he has heard the rest of the conversation.
Cathy feels she must marry Edgar because she would then become a lady of
high standing in the area. Cathy goes on to tell Nelly that she loves Heathcliff more deeply than anything else in the world. They are so alike at heart that they are essentially the same person, the
On the night of his disappearance Cathy had spent the time looking for him
in the rain.
As a result she came down with a bad chill, which led to a fever from which she almost died. Once again, she recuperated at the Grange. Unfortunately, both Mr. and Mrs. Linton catch the fever and die.
Three years after his parents’ deaths, Edgar marries Cathy, and Nelly leaves
Wuthering Heights and Hareton and moves to Thrushcross Grange. She is forced to do this by both Edgar and Hindley.
Six months later, Heathcliff suddenly appears and arrives at the Grange.
Nelly to Edgar, Cathy being in the kitchen, introduces him. On learning of Heathcliff’s arrival, Cathy is excited. It is clear that Cathy and Heathcliff still love each other. Heathcliff surprises those present by saying that he is staying at Wuthering Heights.
There is much coming and going between the two houses and Isabella becomes
infatuated with Heathcliff. Heathcliff does not reciprocate her feelings, but is only interested in becoming the heir to Thrushcross Grange. This can be achieved by marriage to Isabella.
Hindley undergoes a slow degeneration after the death
of his wife. He has a drinking problem and hardly has any contact with his son, leaving Nelly to bring the child up.
Heathcliff takes pleasure in witnessing Hindley’s downfall.
The reader is also clear that Nelly dislikes Cathy, considering her to be a
The situation now sets character against character. There is hatred
between Heathcliff and Hindley, and also between Heathcliff and Edgar, and Heathcliff is bent on obtaining revenge.
Cathy wishes to have her cake and eat it, and she develops a dual
personality in order that she can be with Heathcliff and Edgar, and enjoy the best of both worlds.
She obviously thinks that she will be able to marry Edgar and yet still carry on a relationship with Heathcliff. Her plan may well have succeeded if Heathcliff had not overheard her conversation with Nelly. If he had stayed to hear the whole conversation, then this may have inspired him to improve himself and keep Cathy, but he leaves Wuthering Heights with a feeling of total rejection, unaware of the spiritual connection Cathy has for him. It was only the love that he received from Cathy that enabled Heathcliff to endure the cruelty received from Hindley.
In Chapter 10, the reader clearly sees that Cathy is bored with her life at
the Grange, and she misses Heathcliff. His unexpected arrival excites Cathy and Edgar is aware that she still holds strong feelings for Heathcliff.
Bronte introduces many questions for the reader, e.g. where has Heathcliff
obtained his wealth? Has he improved himself? Will he be able to win Cathy back from Edgar? Why is this man of status residing with the man he hates, Hindley, at Wuthering Heights?
Bronte, by introducing these posers, ensures the attention of the reader.
The reader may suspect that it is revenge that is motivating Heathcliff, and
that his transformation may only be superficial.
There is interesting duality here in that Cathy was an outsider when she
arrived at Thrushcross Grange, just as Heathcliff was an outsider when he arrived at Wuthering Heights. These insecurities will always be with our two main characters, and that is a reason why they only feel
comfortable together away from both these houses on the moors.