Wuthering Heights

Foster son of Mr. Earnshaw; foster brother of Hindley and Catherine; husband of Isabella; father of Linton. Heathcliff is the conflicted villain/hero of the novel. Mr. Earnshaw finds him on the street and brings him home to Wuthering Heights, where he and Catherine become soul mates. He is the ultimate outsider, with his dark "gypsy" looks and mysterious background. Though he eventually comes to own Wuthering Heights, he never seems as fully home in the house as he does on the moors. His love for Catherine is gigantic and untamed and matters to him more than anything else, but it is never easy— it leads him to control and belittle and manipulate nearly everyone around him. Despite his many horrible deeds, Heathcliff is not a straight-out bad guy; he is a poor orphan who finds material success but not what he really wants— the love of Catherine.

Heathcliff Quotes in Wuthering Heights

The Wuthering Heights quotes below are all either spoken by Heathcliff or refer to Heathcliff. 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 numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of Wuthering Heights published in 2009.
Chapter 1 Quotes
But Mr. Heathcliff forms a singular contrast to his abode and style of living. He is a dark-skinned gypsy in aspect, in dress and manners a gentleman, that is, as much a gentleman as many a country squire.
Related Characters: Mr. Lockwood (speaker), Heathcliff
Related Symbols: Wuthering Heights
Page Number: 4
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 3 Quotes
The ledge, where I placed my candle, had a few mildewed books piled up in one corner; and it was covered with writing scratched on the paint. This writing, however, was nothing but a name repeated in all kinds of characters, large and small—Catherine Earnshaw, here and there varied to Catherine Heathcliff, and then again to Catherine Linton.
Related Characters: Mr. Lockwood (speaker), Catherine Earnshaw Linton, Heathcliff, Edgar Linton
Related Symbols: Wuthering Heights
Page Number: 21
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 8 Quotes
Doubtless Catherine marked the difference between her friends, as one came in and the other went out. The contrast resembled what you see in exchanging a bleak, hilly, coal country for a beautiful fertile valley; and his voice and greeting were as opposite as his aspect.
Related Characters: Ellen "Nelly" Dean (speaker), Catherine Earnshaw Linton, Heathcliff, Edgar Linton
Related Symbols: The Weather
Page Number: 79
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 9 Quotes
I've no more business to marry Edgar Linton than I have to be in heaven; and if the wicked man in there had not brought Heathcliff so low, I shouldn't have thought of it. It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now; so he shall never know how I love him; and that, not because he's handsome, Nelly, but because he's more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same, and [Edgar's] is as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire.
Related Characters: Catherine Earnshaw Linton (speaker), Heathcliff, Edgar Linton
Related Symbols: The Weather
Page Number: 91
Explanation and Analysis:

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Nelly, I see now, you think me a selfish wretch; but did it never strike you that if Heathcliff and I married we should be beggars? whereas, if I marry Linton, I can aid Heathcliff to rise, and place him out of my brother's power?
Related Characters: Catherine Earnshaw Linton (speaker), Ellen "Nelly" Dean, Hindley Earnshaw, Heathcliff, Edgar Linton
Page Number: 93
Explanation and Analysis:

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My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods; time will change it, I'm well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath—a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff!
Related Characters: Catherine Earnshaw Linton (speaker), Ellen "Nelly" Dean, Heathcliff, Edgar Linton
Related Symbols: The Weather
Page Number: 93
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 11 Quotes
Well, if I cannot keep Heathcliff for my friend—if Edgar will be mean and jealous, I'll try to break their hearts by breaking my own. That will be a prompt way of finishing all, when I am pushed to extremity!
Related Characters: Catherine Earnshaw Linton (speaker), Heathcliff, Edgar Linton
Page Number: 133
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 15 Quotes
You teach me how cruel you've been—cruel and false. Why do you despise me? Why did you betray your own heart, Cathy? I have not one word of comfort. You deserve this. You have killed yourself. Yes, you may kiss me, and cry, and wring out my kisses and tears; they'll blight you—they'll damn you. You loved me—then what right had you to leave me? What right—answer me—for the poor fancy you felt for Linton? Because misery, and degradation and death, and nothing that God or Satan could inflict would have parted us, you, of your own will, did it. I have not broken your heart—you have broken it; and in breaking it, you have broken mine.
Related Characters: Heathcliff (speaker), Catherine Earnshaw Linton
Page Number: 184
Explanation and Analysis:

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I forgive what you have done to me. I love my murderer—but yours! How can I?
Related Characters: Heathcliff (speaker), Catherine Earnshaw Linton
Page Number: 185
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 16 Quotes
Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living! You said I killed you—haunt me, then! The murdered do haunt their murderers. I believe—I know that ghosts have wandered on earth. Be with me always—take any form—drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh God! it is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!
Related Characters: Heathcliff (speaker), Catherine Earnshaw Linton
Page Number: 191-192
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 17 Quotes
I've recovered from my first desire to be killed by him-I'd rather he'd kill himself! He has extinguished my love effectually, and so I'm at my ease.
Related Characters: Isabella Linton (speaker), Heathcliff
Page Number: 197
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 20 Quotes
My son is prospective owner of your place, and I should not wish him to die till I was certain of being his successor. Besides he's mine, and I want the triumph of seeing my descendant fairly lord of their estates: my child hiring their children to till their father's land for wages. That is the sole consideration which can make me endure the whelp: I despise him for himself, and hate him for the memories he revives!
Related Characters: Heathcliff (speaker), Edgar Linton, Linton Heathcliff
Related Symbols: Wuthering Heights, Thrushcross Grange
Page Number: 238
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 29 Quotes
I got the sexton, who was digging Linton's grave, to remove the earth off her coffin lid, and I opened it. I thought, once, I would have stayed there, when I saw her face again—it is hers yet—he had hard work to stir me; but he said it would change, if the air blew on it, and so I struck one side of the coffin loose, and covered it up—not Linton's side, damn him! I wish he'd been soldered in lead—and I bribed the sexton to pull it away, when I'm laid there, and slide mine out too. I'll have it made so, and then, by the time Linton gets to us, he'll not know which is which!"
Related Characters: Heathcliff (speaker), Catherine Earnshaw Linton, Edgar Linton
Page Number: 329
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 33 Quotes
'It is a poor conclusion, is it not?' he observed, having brooded awhile on the scene he had just witnessed: 'an absurd termination to my violent exertions? I get levers and mattocks to demolish the two houses, and train myself to be capable of working like Hercules, and when everything is ready and in my power, I find the will to lift a slate off either roof has vanished! My old enemies have not beaten me; now would be the precise time to revenge myself on their representatives: I could do it; and none could hinder me. But where is the use? I don't care for striking: I can't take the trouble to raise my hand! That sounds as if I had been labouring the whole time only to exhibit a fine trait of magnanimity. It is far from being the case: I have lost the faculty of enjoying their destruction, and I am too idle to destroy for nothing.
Related Characters: Heathcliff (speaker)
Related Symbols: Wuthering Heights, Thrushcross Grange
Page Number: 369
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 34 Quotes
Last night, I was on the threshold of hell. To-day, I am within sight of my heaven. I have my eyes on it: hardly three feet to sever me!
Related Characters: Heathcliff (speaker), Catherine Earnshaw Linton
Page Number: 375
Explanation and Analysis:

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Heathcliff Character Timeline in Wuthering Heights

The timeline below shows where the character Heathcliff appears in Wuthering Heights. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Gothic Literature and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Nature and Civilization Theme Icon
Soon after arriving, he visits his landlord, Mr. Heathcliff, whom he describes as a gruff yet noble "dark-skinned gypsy." Heathcliff lives in a manor... (full context)
Chapter 2
Gothic Literature and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Nature and Civilization Theme Icon
...the lantern and sends the dogs after him. The dogs pin Lockwood down, which amuses Heathcliff and Hareton. Lockwood then gets a nosebleed and is forced to spend the night at... (full context)
Chapter 3
Gothic Literature and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Zillah brings Lockwood to a room that Heathcliff usually doesn't allow anyone to stay in. Left alone, Lockwood notices three names scratched into... (full context)
Gothic Literature and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Nature and Civilization Theme Icon
Love and Passion Theme Icon
...himself. She continues to beg, and he cries out. His yell carries into the real world—Heathcliff hears it and comes running. He's upset to find Lockwood in the room, while Lockwood's... (full context)
Nature and Civilization Theme Icon
The next morning Heathcliff escorts Lockwood home. The servants of Thrushcross Grange are overjoyed to see Lockwood—they feared he'd... (full context)
Chapter 4
Nature and Civilization Theme Icon
Class Theme Icon
...Grange, Lockwood starts feeling lonely and asks his housekeeper, Nelly Dean, to tell him about Heathcliff and Wuthering Heights. Nelly Dean says she grew up at Wuthering Heights with Hindley and... (full context)
Gothic Literature and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Class Theme Icon
Revenge and Repetition Theme Icon
...kind man. When Nelly was little, he returned from a business trip to Liverpool with Heathcliff, an orphan boy he'd found on the street. Earnshaw's daughter, Catherine, took to her foster... (full context)
Chapter 5
Love and Passion Theme Icon
Revenge and Repetition Theme Icon
...passes. Mr. Earnshaw's health deteriorates, and he becomes even less accepting of Hindley's behavior toward Heathcliff. He sends Hindley away to college, allowing Catherine and Heathcliff to grow closer. (full context)
Gothic Literature and the Supernatural Theme Icon
Masculinity and Femininity Theme Icon
Class Theme Icon
...rigid religious beliefs. Meanwhile, to her father's dismay, Catherine is constantly going on adventures with Heathcliff and getting into trouble. Though she teases her father about this, she loves him deeply... (full context)
Nature and Civilization Theme Icon
Love and Passion Theme Icon
On the stormy night of Mr. Earnshaw's death, Catherine and Heathcliff console each other. They talk of heaven, imagining it as a beautiful place. (full context)
Chapter 6
Nature and Civilization Theme Icon
Love and Passion Theme Icon
Class Theme Icon
Revenge and Repetition Theme Icon
...makes immediate changes, such as moving the servants to the back quarters. He also forces Heathcliff to give up his education and instead to work in the fields. Yet for the... (full context)
Nature and Civilization Theme Icon
Class Theme Icon
One day, Heathcliff and Catherine don't return from one of their adventures and Hindley orders that they be... (full context)
Nature and Civilization Theme Icon
Class Theme Icon
Revenge and Repetition Theme Icon
...and insist that Catherine stay with them while she heals. But they are shocked at Heathcliff's rough clothes and language and refuse to let him stay with Catherine. Before leaving, Heathcliff... (full context)
Nature and Civilization Theme Icon
Masculinity and Femininity Theme Icon
Revenge and Repetition Theme Icon
...goes to Wuthering Heights and berates Hindley for letting Catherine run wild. Ashamed, Hindley blames Heathcliff and says that Heathcliff may no longer see or talk to Catherine. (full context)
Chapter 7
Nature and Civilization Theme Icon
Love and Passion Theme Icon
Class Theme Icon
Hindley allows Heathcliff to greet her "like the other servants." Catherine kisses Heathcliff hello, but teases that he's... (full context)
Nature and Civilization Theme Icon
Masculinity and Femininity Theme Icon
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Revenge and Repetition Theme Icon
Edgar and Isabella come to Wuthering Heights for Christmas. Heathcliff allows Nelly to make him presentable, but it turns out that Mrs. Linton allowed her... (full context)
Love and Passion Theme Icon
Revenge and Repetition Theme Icon
Catherine, though, thinks that both Edgar and Hindley mistreated Heathcliff, and after dinner she slips away from the others to visit Heathcliff. Nelly also takes... (full context)
Chapter 8
Nature and Civilization Theme Icon
Masculinity and Femininity Theme Icon
Revenge and Repetition Theme Icon
...to alcohol for comfort, and takes out his grief on the servants, Catherine, and, especially, Heathcliff. For his part, Heathcliff delights in Hindley's decline. (full context)
Nature and Civilization Theme Icon
Masculinity and Femininity Theme Icon
Class Theme Icon
...with the Lintons. When she's with them she acts like proper lady. But when with Heathcliff, she acts just as she used to. (full context)
Nature and Civilization Theme Icon
Love and Passion Theme Icon
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One day when Hindley is out, Heathcliff doesn't go to the fields and instead plans to spend the day with Catherine. But... (full context)
Chapter 9
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...from Nelly in a rage, but then accidentally drops the baby over the bannister. Luckily, Heathcliff is at the bottom of the steps to catch Hareton without harm. (full context)
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Later, Catherine goes to Nelly in the kitchen. As Heathcliff listens, she tells Nelly that she has accepted Edgar's proposal of marriage, yet isn't sure... (full context)
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Furious and ashamed, Heathcliff leaves, and therefore doesn't hear Catherine say that, though she must marry Edgar, she loves... (full context)
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That night, in a storm, Heathcliff runs away from Wuthering Heights. Catherine discovers his absence and, distraught, searches for him all... (full context)
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Three years later, Heathcliff has still not returned, and Edgar and Catherine get married. Nelly leaves Hareton with Hindley... (full context)
Chapter 10
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Heathcliff visits him once during this time, after which Lockwood asks Nelly to tell him how... (full context)
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Then one evening Heathcliff appears at the Grange. Catherine is almost frantic with excitement. Edgar is less pleased. He... (full context)
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As Heathcliff enters the parlor, Nelly notes that he looks imposing, mature, and dignified, in contrast to... (full context)
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As Edgar, Heathcliff, and Catherine talk, Heathcliff says that he returned hoping only to catch a glimpse of... (full context)
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...to tell her that she couldn't sleep from excitement. She says that she had praised Heathcliff to Edgar, but that Edgar had claimed to feel sick and even cried. Nelly advises... (full context)
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Catherine also tells Nelly how Heathcliff wound up staying at Wuthering Heights: he'd gone to Wuthering Heights to find Nelly and... (full context)
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In the following days, Catherine and Isabella often visit the Heights, and Heathcliff regularly comes to the Grange. Isabella soon develops a crush on Heathcliff. When she confesses... (full context)
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The next day, Catherine humiliates Isabella by revealing her crush to Heathcliff when he visits. Isabella rushes from the room. Heathcliff expresses disdain for Isabella, but notes... (full context)
Chapter 11
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...charge, Hareton, who curses and throws stones at her. Hareton tells her that it was Heathcliff who taught him to curse, and that Heathcliff also refused to allow Hareton to be... (full context)
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The following day, Nelly and Catherine observe Heathcliff and Isabella embracing in the Grange's garden. Catherine confronts Heathcliff in the kitchen about his... (full context)
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Informed of the confrontation by Nelly, Edgar rushes in and orders Heathcliff to leave. Heathcliff refuses. Edgar moves to get the servants to come and help him... (full context)
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Once Heathcliff is gone, Edgar furiously demands that Catherine choose between him and Heathcliff. Catherine refuses to... (full context)
Chapter 12
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Delirious, Catherine rambles about a time she spent on the moors with Heathcliff as a child, and obsesses over death. (full context)
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...Heights and that, though she's going to die, she'll never be rest until she's with Heathcliff. (full context)
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That same night, Isabella runs off with Heathcliff. Edgar, furious, refuses to attempt to get Isabella to come back. Instead he says that... (full context)
Chapter 13
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...pregnant. Edgar hopes the child is male, so that the baby, rather than Isabella and Heathcliff, will inherit Thrushcross Grange. (full context)
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Six weeks after she ran away with and married Heathcliff, Isabella writes to Edgar, begging for forgiveness. Edgar doesn't answer the letter. (full context)
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...says that she is living at Wuthering Heights and that her experience has been awful. Heathcliff has told her that since he can't get to Edgar to punish him for Catherine's... (full context)
Chapter 14
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At Wuthering Heights, Nelly barely gets to see Isabella at all. Instead, Heathcliff asks after Catherine's condition and then asks Nelly to help him see her, adding that... (full context)
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Nelly refuses to help Heathcliff, who threatens to hold Nelly prisoner at Wuthering Heights and go to the Grange alone.... (full context)
Chapter 15
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When Edgar goes to church four days later, Nelly delivers Heathcliff's letter to Catherine, who is so weak that she can hardly hold it. Heathcliff walks... (full context)
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Heathcliff responds that he forgives her for what she has done to him, but that he... (full context)
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Just then Edgar arrives home from church. Heathcliff gets up to leave, but Catherine begs him to stay and he does. As Edgar... (full context)
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Nelly ushers Heathcliff from the room, promising to send news of Catherine's health in the morning. Heathcliff says... (full context)
Chapter 16
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...to a daughter, Cathy, two months prematurely. Catherine dies two hours later. When Nelly brings Heathcliff the news, he seems somehow to already know. He curses Catherine for the pain she's... (full context)
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Edgar keeps watch over Catherine's body, day and night, while Heathcliff stays out in the garden through the night. Eventually, exhaustion forces Edgar to leave Catherine's... (full context)
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After Heathcliff leaves, Nelly discovers that Heathcliff has replaced a lock of Edgar's hair that Catherine kept... (full context)
Chapter 17
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...Catherine's funeral, but fell apart the morning of the funeral and started drinking. Then, while Heathcliff was out standing vigil at Catherine's grave, Hindley locked the doors of Wuthering Heights to... (full context)
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When Heathcliff returned, Isabella warned him of Hindley's plans, but didn't let him into the house. Hindley... (full context)
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...live near London, where she gave birth to a sickly boy, whom she named Linton. Heathcliff eventually learned where Isabella and his son were, but did not go after them. Isabella... (full context)
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...the Grange. But Nelly is shocked to learn that Hindley died deeply in debt to Heathcliff, who now owns Wuthering Heights. In addition, Heathcliff refuses to let Hareton leave Wuthering Heights,... (full context)
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...master of Wuthering Heights, now is forced to live as a dependant and servant to Heathcliff. (full context)
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...night Joseph arrives from Wuthering Heights, demanding Linton. Edgar says he will bring Linton to Heathcliff in the morning. (full context)
Chapter 20
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...Heights the next morning. To make the fearful Linton feel better Nelly assures him of Heathcliff's goodness. But Heathcliff proves Nelly is lying from the moment he appears—he refers to Linton... (full context)
Chapter 21
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...questioning the Wuthering Heights housekeeper, and learns that Linton remains weak and whiny and that Heathcliff can't stand him. (full context)
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...Cathy runs ahead of Nelly, and when Nelly catches up she finds Catherine speaking with Heathcliff and Hareton. (full context)
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Catherine says that she thinks she's met Hareton before, and wonders if he's Heathcliff's son. Heathcliff says no, but that he does have a son whom Catherine has met... (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... (full context)
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...he can't even show Cathy around the house, so she goes off with Hareton instead. Heathcliff demands that Linton go after them. Before they move out of earshot, Nelly hears Cathy... (full context)
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...though Cathy doesn't entirely understand he does manage to get across how much he despises Heathcliff. Edgar also asks his daughter not to have any contact with Linton, but Cathy doesn't... (full context)
Chapter 22
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As 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... (full context)
Chapter 25
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...he says that if she wishes Cathy may marry Linton, even though that would mean Heathcliff would definitely inherit the Grange. (full context)
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...father is pushing him to woo Cathy. He also says that he's frightened of what Heathcliff would do to him if she doesn't marry him. (full context)
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As they talk, Heathcliff arrives. He asks Nelly that Edgar's health, and also tells her privately that he worries... (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... (full context)
Chapter 28
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...but they fail and return without her. Meanwhile, in order to keep Cathy's inheritance from Heathcliff, Edgar decides to place the inheritance in the hands of trustees. He sends for his... (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... (full context)
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Cathy responds that she and Linton love each other, while Heathcliff is loveless and alone. She adds that "however miserable you make us, we shall still... (full context)
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As Cathy packs, Nelly asks Heathcliff to let her be the housekeeper at Wuthering Heights because she wants to stay with... (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 to the Heights, and that if he needs her he'll... (full context)
Chapter 30
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...she hasn't seen Cathy since that day, and only gets news about her from Zillah. Heathcliff forbade anyone at the Heights to be kind to Cathy, and made her nurse Linton... (full context)
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...he has recovered from his illness and will soon ride to Wuthering Heights to tell Heathcliff that he will be leaving Thrushcross Grange and going to London, where he will be... (full context)
Chapter 31
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Lockwood goes to Wuthering Heights to tell Heathcliff of his decision to leave Thrushcross Grange. He also carries a letter to Cathy from... (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... (full context)
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Heathcliff returns, and says as soon as he enters that Hareton bears such a striking resemblance... (full context)
Chapter 32
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...happened after he left: Two weeks after Lockwood left, Zillah finds a new job, and Heathcliff asks Nelly to take her place. Soon after Nelly arrives, Cathy admits to her that... (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 inheritance. Hareton takes her side. Heathcliff grabs... (full context)
Chapter 34
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Heathcliff withdraws from the world and eats just one meal a day. (full context)
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Heathcliff refuses all food and demands that he be left entirely alone. The next morning, at... (full context)
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The next day Heathcliff locks himself into his room and refuses to even see the doctor. The next morning,... (full context)
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Heathcliff is buried as he wanted, next to Catherine, while Cathy and Hareton are soon to... (full context)
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Lockwood leaves Wuthering Heights and walks through the moors to the churchyard where Heathcliff, Catherine, and Edgar are buried. He writes that though the local villagers say that they... (full context)