Wuthering Heights

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Catherine/Cathy Linton Heathcliff Earnshaw Character Analysis

Daughter of Edgar and Catherine; wife of Linton Heathcliff and Hareton Earnshaw (both her cousins). Young, beautiful, and good-hearted, Cathy has the gumption and passion of her mother and the calm and blonde beauty of her father. She is a complicated teenager who is frequently kind and compassionate but often selfish and inconsiderate, too. Ultimately, she shows the capacity to see past superficial things to the nobility and beauty beneath, a trait her mother lacked.

Catherine/Cathy Linton Heathcliff Earnshaw Quotes in Wuthering Heights

The Wuthering Heights quotes below are all either spoken by Catherine/Cathy Linton Heathcliff Earnshaw or refer to Catherine/Cathy Linton Heathcliff Earnshaw. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Gothic Literature and the Supernatural Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Vintage edition of Wuthering Heights published in 2009.
Chapter 24 Quotes
One time, however, we were near quarrelling. He said the pleasantest manner of spending a hot July day was lying from morning till evening on a bank of heath in the middle of the moors, with the bees humming dreamily about among the bloom, and the larks singing high up overhead, and the blue sky and bright sun shining steadily and cloudlessly. That was his most perfect idea of heaven's happiness: mine was rocking in a rustling green tree, with a west wind blowing, and bright white clouds flitting rapidly above; and not only larks, but throstles, and blackbirds, and linnets, and cuckoos pouring out music on every side, and the moors seen at a distance, broken into cool dusky dells; but close by great swells of long grass undulating in waves to the breeze; and woods and sounding water, and the whole world awake and wild with joy. He wanted all to lie in an ecstasy of peace; I wanted all to sparkle and dance in a glorious jubilee. I said his heaven would be only half alive; and he said mine would be drunk: I said I should fall asleep in his; and he said he could not breathe in mine.
Related Characters: Catherine/Cathy Linton Heathcliff Earnshaw (speaker), Linton Heathcliff
Related Symbols: The Weather
Page Number: 283
Explanation and Analysis:

Cathy has confessed to Nelly that she secretly spends time with Linton and enjoys his company; in contrast to the bitter hatred between their parents, they get along well. She describes a mild disagreement they had over their respective visions of heaven: Linton dreams of a peaceful, summery day, while Cathy prefers the idea of a lively, blustery scene, similar to the Yorkshire moors. Once again, Bronte represents her characters' personalities through descriptions of the natural landscape. Linton is shown to be serene and quiet, reflective of his non-threatening, shy, feminine character. Cathy, on the other hand, resembles her mother in her love of the harsh Yorkshire outdoors, representative of her inner wildness. 

This depiction of Cathy is also reminiscent of her mother Catherine's contrary beliefs about happiness and the afterlife. Earlier in the novel, Catherine tells Nelly that she has "no business being in heaven," with the parallel implication that she has "no business" marrying Edgar and adopting his pleasant, refined lifestyle. Instead, Catherine believes she ultimately belongs with Heathcliff; her version of heaven (like her daughter's) resembles the rugged, stormy moors, and indeed that is where she ends up after death––haunting Wuthering Heights and Heathcliff. 

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Chapter 27 Quotes
Catherine's face was just like the landscape—shadows and sunshine flitting over it in rapid succession; but the shadows rested longer, and the sunshine was more transient.
Related Characters: Ellen "Nelly" Dean (speaker), Catherine/Cathy Linton Heathcliff Earnshaw
Related Symbols: The Weather
Page Number: 303
Explanation and Analysis:

It is August, and Nelly and Cathy have ventured out onto the moors to meet Linton. Nelly describes the vibrant summer landscape before immediately moving on to describe Cathy's face, which matches the natural scene. Once again, Bronte draws a parallel between the weather and Cathy's personality, and the strong affinity between Cathy and the moors links her to her mother, Catherine. Additionally, this description echoes Cathy's description of heaven, which she envisions as a wild, lively, blustery climate.

Note also that Nelly describes the sunshine as resting only a moment on Cathy's face, while the shadows last longer. This seems to be a description not only of Cathy's personality but also life and happiness in general. Wuthering Heights is a novel filled with conflict and suffering, which in many ways contains a rather dark, disturbing view of life. Cathy and Linton symbolize the best we can hope for in life, which is not––as Linton hopes––an entirely peaceful, pleasant existence, but rather moments of freedom and happiness within an otherwise turbulent world. 

Chapter 32 Quotes
The task was done, not free from further blunders; but the pupil claimed a reward, and received at least five kisses; which, however, he generously returned. Then they came to the door, and from their conversation I judged they were about to issue out and have a walk on the moors.
Related Characters: Mr. Lockwood (speaker), Catherine/Cathy Linton Heathcliff Earnshaw, Hareton Earnshaw
Page Number: 351
Explanation and Analysis:

Cathy has been taking care of Hareton while he recovers from a shooting accident, including teaching him to read. While previously Cathy has acted cruelly toward Hareton, making fun of his illiteracy, this part of the book represents a transformation in their relationship. (Indeed, the transformation is so total that at first Lockwood does not even recognize this "pupil" as Hareton, and only understands the situation once Nelly explains it to him.) The newly mature Cathy has seen that her previous behavior was unfair, and she and Hareton come to love each other in a way very unlike Catherine and Heathcliff's love; unlike the older generation, Cathy and Hareton's relationship is gentle, productive, and viable. There is, of course, still a major similarity between Cathy and Hareton's relationship and that of Catherine and Heathcliff, though: despite the stark differences between them, they are united by their love of the wild moors. 

In many ways, this union is possible because Cathy stops looking down on Hareton and comes to see him as her equal. At the same time, she nonetheless remains in an authoritative position as his teacher and caregiver, and her dominance subtly reverses the expected power dynamic between a man and woman. Note the similarity between the love born in this situation and the story of Jane Eyre, written by Emily Bronte's sister, Charlotte: in that novel, Mr. Rochester is at first cruel to Jane, but when he becomes blind and Jane has to care for him, they fall in love. 

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Catherine/Cathy Linton Heathcliff Earnshaw Character Timeline in Wuthering Heights

The timeline below shows where the character Catherine/Cathy Linton Heathcliff Earnshaw appears in Wuthering Heights. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 16
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At midnight, Catherine gives birth to a daughter, Cathy, two months prematurely. Catherine dies two hours later. When Nelly brings Heathcliff the news, he... (full context)
Chapter 17
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...room. Disheveled and laughing hysterically, Isabella tells Nelly, who is taking care of the baby Cathy, that she knows Edgar won't allow her to stay, but that she needs Nelly's help. (full context)
Chapter 18
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Cathy grows into a beautiful, smart, inquisitive, and willful thirteen-year-old. Edgar doesn't allow her to leave... (full context)
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...and rushes off to London to bring Linton back to the Grange. While he's gone, Cathy manages to escape Nelly and the grounds of the Grange. She heads off toward Penistone... (full context)
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Nelly chases after Cathy and soon finds her at Wuthering Heights. Cathy refuses to leave when Nelly tells her... (full context)
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A servant of Wuthering Heights then reveals that Hareton is actually Cathy's cousin. Catherine denies it with the argument that her father has gone to get her... (full context)
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Finally Nelly and Cathy leave. On the trip back to the Grange, Cathy agrees not to tell Edgar about... (full context)
Chapter 19
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Edgar and Linton arrive at the Grange. Linton resembles Edgar, but is weak and whiny. Cathy treats him like a pet or baby, kissing his forehead and stroking his hair. (full context)
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...if Linton is allowed to stay at Thrushcross Grange, he will get stronger because in Cathy he has a playmate his own age. But that night Joseph arrives from Wuthering Heights,... (full context)
Chapter 21
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At first, Cathy is despondent about Linton's departure. As time passes, though she asks about Linton less and... (full context)
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...Linton goes to Wuthering Heights, the sixteen-year-old Catherine and Nelly go bird-hunting on the moors. Cathy runs ahead of Nelly, and when Nelly catches up she finds Catherine speaking with Heathcliff... (full context)
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...no, but that he does have a son whom Catherine has met before and invites Cathy and Nelly to come back to Wuthering Heights with him. Nelly suspects Heathcliff's is plotting... (full context)
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At the house, Heathcliff tells Nelly that he hopes Linton and Cathy will one day marry. Yet Cathy and Linton don't even recognize each other when they... (full context)
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Linton, is now taller than Cathy. But he is still so sickly and weak that he can't even show Cathy around... (full context)
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The next day, Cathy confronts Edgar about why he has kept her relatives at Wuthering Heights a secret from... (full context)
Chapter 22
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That winter, Edgar falls ill and Nelly becomes Cathy's main companion. One day, as the two walk in the garden, Cathy climbs the wall... (full context)
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...Nelly searches for a key to the gate in the wall, Heathcliff appears. He admonishes Cathy for ending her correspondence with Linton, adding that he suspects she was cruelly playing with... (full context)
Chapter 23
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Cathy and Nelly ride to Wuthering Heights the next morning in the rain. There, they find... (full context)
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Cathy gets annoyed at this, and shoves Linton's chair, which sends Linton into a spasm of... (full context)
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Nelly and Cathy return to Thrushcross Grange, where Nelly comes down with a cold from riding to Wuthering... (full context)
Chapter 24
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When Nelly recovers, she quickly notices Cathy's suspicious behavior and soon catches Cathy sneaking into her room after a night out. After... (full context)
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Furious, Hareton later barges in on Cathy's visit with Linton, and forces the weak, sniveling Linton to go upstairs. A bit later,... (full context)
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Cathy returns to the Heights three days later, but immediately leaves when Linton blames her for... (full context)
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As soon as Cathy finishes her story, Nelly goes to Edgar and tells him everything. Edgar forbids Cathy from... (full context)
Chapter 25
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...the story to a stranger, though she wonders if Lockwood might fall in love with Cathy and thereby cease to be a stranger. Lockwood agrees that he just might fall in... (full context)
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Obeying her father's wishes, Cathy ceases to visit Linton. But Linton also does not visit the Grange because he's too... (full context)
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As he falls further into illness, Edgar agrees to let Cathy visit Linton, though he asks that she meet him not at Wuthering Heights but on... (full context)
Chapter 26
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Cathy and Nelly ride to the location on the moors where they are to meet Linton,... (full context)
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...entire visit and keeps glancing over his shoulder at Wuthering Heights. As the visit ends, Cathy promises to meet Linton in the same place the following Thursday. As they travel home,... (full context)
Chapter 27
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...fail over the following week. Though she doesn't want to leave her sick father alone, Cathy rides with Nelly to see Linton on the moors. Linton is even more nervous during... (full context)
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...her privately that he worries that Linton will die before Edgar does. Heathcliff then asks Cathy and Nelly to return to Wuthering Heights with him. Cathy tells him that she is... (full context)
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At Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff locks Nelly and Cathy inside the house and says that they won't be allowed to leave until Cathy and... (full context)
Chapter 28
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...the bedroom and tells her that the village is awash in gossip that Nelly and Cathy have been lost in the marshes. Nelly searches the house for Cathy, but instead finds... (full context)
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Nelly rushes from Wuthering Heights back to Thrushcross Grange. She tells the dying Edgar that Cathy is safe and will soon be back at the Grange. She then sends a group... (full context)
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...while later, Nelly hears someone arrive. She thinks that it's Mr. Green, but it's actually Cathy who has escaped Wuthering Heights with the help of Linton. Cathy goes to Edgar and... (full context)
Chapter 29
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After Edgar's funeral, Heathcliff comes to the Grange to bring Cathy back to Wuthering Heights. He says that he has punished Linton for helping Cathy escape,... (full context)
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Cathy responds that she and Linton love each other, while Heathcliff is loveless and alone. She... (full context)
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As Cathy packs, Nelly asks Heathcliff to let her be the housekeeper at Wuthering Heights because she... (full context)
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As they leave, Cathy asks Nelly to visit her at Wuthering Heights. But Heathcliff tells Nelly never to come... (full context)
Chapter 30
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Nelly tells Lockwood that she hasn't seen Cathy since that day, and only gets news about her from Zillah. Heathcliff forbade anyone at... (full context)
Chapter 31
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...tell Heathcliff of his decision to leave Thrushcross Grange. He also carries a letter to Cathy from Nelly, but Hareton intercepts it before he can give it to her. When Cathy... (full context)
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Lockwood also learns that Heathcliff has taken Cathy's books. Cathy adds that Hareton has gathered some of her favorite books and tries to... (full context)
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...meal, Lockwood leaves. On the way back to the Grange, he muses on how lucky Cathy would have been had she fallen in love with him and let him take her... (full context)
Chapter 32
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...a new job, and Heathcliff asks Nelly to take her place. Soon after Nelly arrives, Cathy admits to her that she feel guilty for mocking Hareton. (full context)
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One day, Hareton accidentally shoots himself while working, and Cathy has to tend to him. At first they argue often, but eventually they come to... (full context)
Chapter 33
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The morning after Cathy gives Hareton the book, she and Heathcliff get into an argument at breakfast over her... (full context)
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That same night, he sees Cathy and Hareton sitting together, and they both remind him of Catherine. All of these reminders... (full context)
Chapter 34
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...few nights later, he spends the entire night walking outside. When returns to Wuthering Heights, Cathy remarks that he is actually acting pleasantly. He tells Nelly that "Last night I was... (full context)
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Heathcliff is buried as he wanted, next to Catherine, while Cathy and Hareton are soon to be married and will move to Thrushcross Grange. (full context)