Wuthering Heights | Study Guide

Emily Brontë

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Course Hero. "Wuthering Heights Study Guide." Course Hero. 29 Sep. 2016. Web. 15 Nov. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Wuthering-Heights/>.

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Course Hero. "Wuthering Heights Study Guide." September 29, 2016. Accessed November 15, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Wuthering-Heights/.

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Course Hero, "Wuthering Heights Study Guide," September 29, 2016, accessed November 15, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Wuthering-Heights/.

Wuthering Heights | Chapter 29 | Summary

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Summary

The night after Edgar's funeral, Heathcliff comes to Thrushcross Grange to bring Catherine back to Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff says his presence is "as potent on [Linton's] nerves as a ghost." Mrs. Dean asks if Catherine and Linton may move to Thrushcross Grange, but Heathcliff says no because he plans to rent it to a tenant. Catherine agrees to return to Wuthering Heights, declaring Linton is all she has left to love in the world now. Heathcliff calls her a "boastful champion," then laughs at her because he heard Linton telling Zillah how he would treat Catherine if he were as strong as Heathcliff. "I know he has a bad nature." Catherine says. "He's your son." But she can forgive Linton and love him.

When Catherine leaves to pack her things, Heathcliff tells Mrs. Dean he dug up Cathy's grave last night, and she has not decomposed yet. He plans to be buried in the same casket with her when he dies. He also tells Mrs. Dean about the time he tried to dig up Cathy's grave right after she died. He stopped digging because he heard Cathy's spirit sighing in his ear. Her ghost has haunted him ever since; but he can only hear and feel her, and he longs to see her. That night, he says, "I ought to have sweat blood then, from the anguish of my yearning—from the fervor of my supplications to have but one glimpse." Heathcliff says Cathy has been a devil to him in death as she was in life; she has killed him "not by inches, but by fractions of hairbreadths."

When Catherine is ready to leave, she says goodbye, and Heathcliff tells Mrs. Dean not to visit her at Wuthering Heights.

Analysis

Heathcliff calls Catherine a "boastful champion," reinforcing the idea of Catherine being the romantic hero of the story-within-the-story.

Linton, a failed hero in Chapter 27, villainous in Chapter 28, has transformed into a nervous wreck that "wakes and shrieks in the night by the hour." It is significant that Heathcliff tells Mrs. Dean his "presence is as potent on [Linton's] nerves as a ghost" moments before revealing Cathy's ghost is haunting him. This introduces the symbol of ghosts in the chapter. Linton is following in his father's footsteps, yet, mirroring Heathcliff's fate at a much faster clip. Linton, unlike Heathcliff in some ways, has little concern for anything besides his own comfort, and it makes a powerful difference in the kind of cruelty each inflicts on others. Ultimately, Linton is just a sick little boy being tormented by his father while he is dying; his cruelty to Catherine is lessened in the face of his mortality and unhappiness.

Neither Mrs. Dean nor the reader has been privy to Heathcliff's emotional interior since the death of Cathy; he has simply functioned as an antagonist and villain. All at once, the reader discovers the extent to which Cathy has been haunting Heathcliff. The reader will wonder if he has gone mad. The passion that seemed like love when Cathy was alive will now look like obsession or insanity. The biblical reference to Jesus's experience in the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus yearns for God's comfort so strongly he sweats blood, connects to Heathcliff's intensity in the chapter, perhaps to show how troubled and obsessed Heathcliff is.

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