Wuthering Heights Summary 📖

Emily Brontë, in ‘Wuthering Heights,’ masterminds a unique narrative style by creatively merging flashback and backstory techniques to effectively cover the four ends of her book.

Wuthering Heights

Emily Brontë

Emily Brontë uses two prominent characters in ‘Wuthering Heights’ – Nelly and Lockwood – to unveil the timelines of her book’s plots, which are not only interesting and captivating but also a bit scary for the reader. 

‘Spoiler Free’ Wuthering Heights Summary

A generous farmer goes on a trip to Liverpool and returns home with an innocent little dark-skinned boy he names Heathcliff and introduces him to his son and daughter, Hindley and Catherine. The latter loves and cherishes the boy, but the former hates him for taking his place in the family, and this begins the history of horrible treatment, violence, and extreme dehumanization that goes on for the rest of the book.

Once the generous farmer dies, Heathcliff is reduced to a servant level by Hindley, deprived of education, and assigned the most difficult chores, like a prisoner on hard labor. As if that isn’t enough, Edgar Linton shows up and steals Catherine away from him, the one person that gives meaning to his miserable existence. Heathcliff comes to rage, vowing to exert revenge on all who have hurt him, whether that includes their innocent children; he doesn’t care. 

Wuthering Heights Summary 

Spoiler alert: important details of the novel are revealed below

The plot is introduced with Lockwood’s visit to ‘Wuthering Heights‘ as he looks to rent Thrushcross Grange, one of Heathcliff’s mansions. Lockwood is fascinated by Heathcliff after their first meeting and finds his landowner a bit odd and unusual. On a later visit to ‘Wuthering Heights,’ Lockwood has weird encounters; attacks by dogs, and scared by spooky presence.

He returns to Thrushcross and talks about his encounter with Nelly (Ellen Dean), a long-serving maid at the Thrushcross. Lockwood asks Nelly to tell him about Heathcliff and ‘Wuthering Heights.’ Nelly tells the story. 

Many years ago, Mr. Earnshaw, a successful farmer and owner of ‘Wuthering Heights,’ returns from Liverpool with Heathcliff, a youthful, destitute kid, to live with him and his two youngsters, Hindley and Catherine. While Catherine cherishes and acknowledges Heathcliff, Hindley disdains him for having his spot in his dad’s eyes. Misunderstandings and quarrels brew based on this until Hindley is sent away to a boarding school.

Hindley returns later after the death of his father to reprise and dehumanize Heathcliff – lessening him to the situation with a worker slave. Even as this happens, Catherine loves Heathcliff and is always spending time with him in the fields. Later, things rapidly change for Heathcliff and Catherine after they find the Linton family, proprietors of Thrushcross Grange. 

One time while spying on the Lintons, Catherine is attacked by dogs and is forced to spend a few days over at the Lintons’ house recuperating. Catherine finds herself drawn to Edgar since he’s refined and well-taught and his family has a decent economic and social standing. Nonetheless, this can’t match the affection she feels for Heathcliff.

With Catherine spending more time with the Lintons, Heathcliff is jealous, and angered and thinks of several ways to win her back and reprise those who suffer him or try to steal his joy. However, he appears to have given up hope and run away when he overhears Catherine telling Nelly she can’t wed him because he’s been belittled too much by Hindley.

After Heathcliff disappears, Catherine is heartbroken and reluctantly chooses to marry Edgar, but their marriage is not a blissful one since Catherine is constantly diverted by her feelings for Heathcliff. After three years, Heathcliff returns a changed man with strange riches and stays a short while with Hindley – who now has a son, Hareton – at ‘Wuthering Heights.’ 

Heathcliff starts his revenge by marrying Isabella, Edgar’s sister, and treats her horribly so that she contemplates running away from home. Shortly after, Catherine gives birth to her daughter, Cathy, but dies afterward due to health complications. Her death greatly affects Heathcliff turning him into a meaner man. Isabella has a son, Linton, for Heathcliff and dies twelve years later. Heathcliff plans to take control of ‘Wuthering Heights’ and Thrushcross Grange.

Later, following the passing of Hindley and Edgar, Heathcliff arranges a marriage between his child Linton and Cathy while seriously mistreating Hindley’s son, Hareton, for the sins of the father. At last, the marriage between Linton and Cathy gives him full ownership of ‘Wuthering Heights‘ and Thrushcross Grange. However, his sickly child, Linton, soon dies – rendering the Grange out of his possession again. 

As Heathcliff pursues his wicked and dubious ambitions, he is tormented by Catherine’s spirit. Eventually, Heathcliff seems to have understood that retribution can give anything close to the fulfillment that he truly seeks and that the main thing that could give him harmony is reuniting with his Catherine. He dies afterward. Cathy and Hareton find passionate feelings for each other and plan marriage and relocation from ‘Wuthering Heights‘ to Thrushcross Grange.

FAQs

Is ‘Wuthering Heights’ hard to read?

Emily Brontë’s ‘Wuthering Heights’ can prove a bit hard for new readers, but it’s not all that difficult when you get deep into it in full rhythm. 

What age should you be to read ‘Wuthering Heights’?

Wuthering Heights’ is not only captivating but also a fairly strong book to read, so any reader hoping to flip through its pages should be at least thirteen years old or above. 

Who controls ‘Wuthering Heights’ and Thrushcross Grange?

Hareton and Cathy, two cousins and children of Hindley and Catherine, become the ones who inherit all properties of both families – the Lintons and the Earnshaws.

Victor Onuorah
About Victor Onuorah
Victor is as much a prolific writer as he is an avid reader. With a degree in Journalism, he goes around scouring literary storehouses and archives; picking up, dusting the dirt off, and leaving clean even the most crooked pieces of literature all with the skill of analysis.
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