Wuthering Heights | Study Guide

Emily Brontë

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Course Hero. "Wuthering Heights Study Guide." September 29, 2016. Accessed June 18, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Wuthering-Heights/.

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Course Hero, "Wuthering Heights Study Guide," September 29, 2016, accessed June 18, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Wuthering-Heights/.

Wuthering Heights | Chapter 22 | Summary

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Summary

One day in October when clouds "boding abundant rain" roll in, Mrs. Dean and Catherine go for a walk on the moors. They discuss the possibility of Edgar dying, and Mrs. Dean advises Catherine to "avoid giving him anxiety on any subject ... you might kill him if you were wild and reckless ... and cherished ... a fanciful affection for the son of a person ... glad to have him in his grave," referring to Heathcliff and Linton. Catherine promises to "never—never—oh, never ... do an act or say a word to vex him."

Catherine, "lightening into sunshine again" climbs up onto a wall to gather petals from a rose tree. Catherine's hat falls off and she has to climb the wall to get it, but she gets stuck on the other side because the ground is lower and rose trees and blackberry bushes cover the wall. Mrs. Dean tries all of her keys to the door in the wall, but none work. Then Mrs. Dean hears a horse and rider approach—it's Heathcliff. "I sha'nt speak to you ... Papa says you are wicked ... Ellen says the same," Mrs. Dean hears Catherine say. Heathcliff denies hating Catherine then swears Linton is dying because Catherine stopped writing to him. Mrs. Dean accuses Heathcliff of lying, and then she breaks through the lock to get to Catherine. Heathcliff urges Catherine to "be generous, and contrive to see him." Heathcliff leaves and it rains.

Mrs. Dean says the news made Catherine's heart "cloudy now in double darkness ... her features were so sad, they did not seem hers." Believing Heathcliff is telling the truth, Catherine convinces Mrs. Dean to travel to Wuthering Heights the next day.

Analysis

Powerful imagery is used to reveal Catherine's character and show how she is different from Cathy. Catherine is earthy and unselfish, able to empathize and think ahead, whereas Cathy was impatient and fiery, allowing momentary circumstances to make her ill. Catherine is a good listener, and she takes Mrs. Dean's advice; Cathy was sassy with Mrs. Dean. Catherine and Cathy are not exact opposites; Catherine's love of nature and animals reflects Cathy's character, and Catherine, like her mother, is spirited and emotional by nature, acting out of natural affection rather than her father's artificial mannerliness. Catherine's inherent goodness and empathy offer a potential correction to the chaos that Cathy's selfishness unleashed.

The nature imagery in the chapter is used metaphorically. Thorns and stickers represent Cathy's moral dilemma. Catherine is stuck, and Heathcliff uses guilt to make her feel more stuck and to separate her from Mrs. Dean—represented by the wall between them. In the previous chapter, Mrs. Dean describes Catherine's eyes as "radiant with cloudless pleasure." In this chapter, the meeting with Heathcliff causes Mrs. Dean to say Catherine's "heart was clouded in double darkness." A downpour of rain signals the turn in the plot toward stormier times ahead.

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