The Effects of Unbridled Emotion
Quote: "I'm trying to settle how I shall pay Hindley back. I don't care how long I wait, if I can only do it, at last. I hope he will not die before I do!...I only wish I knew the best way! Let me alone, and I'll plan it out: while I'm thinking of that, I don't feel pain." (65).
Theme: The ruinous effects of revenge on both the receiver and the giver
Analysis: Nelly gives insight to the depths of Heathcliff's antipathy toward Hindley and foreshadows his impending doom. Hindley's ruin does not, however, give Heathcliff happiness or satisfaction. In fact, his vengeful acts make him only more miserable and evil.
Quote: I was very sad for Hindley's sake; he had room in his heart for only two idols--his wife and himself--he doted on both, and adored one, and I couldn't conceive how he would bear the loss (73).
Theme: The effects of obsessive love
Analysis: Most consider Heathcliff the obsessive lover, but Hindley has much in common with his nemesis. Hindley never recovers from his wife's death, becoming a drunk and a gambler. It is this loss that allows Heathcliff to gain his revenge.
Quote: At fifteen she was the queen of the country-side; she had no peer: and she did turn out a haughty, headstrong creature! I own I did not like her (75).
Theme: The effects of jealousy
Analysis: Nelly Dean's narration is extremely critical of Catherine Earnshaw, and this passage explains why. It is important to remember that Nelly and Catherine are nearly the same age, and it's quite possible Nelly is jealous of Catherine's popularity, therefore skewing the narration. It is also jealousy that causes Hindley to initially hate Heathcliff.