Chapter Summaries for Wuthering Heights

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Chapters 1-4

This summary of Wuthering Heights has been written with love. Please read it carefully as a review for class discussion and further insight.

Chapter 1: Mr. Lockwood at Thrushcross Grange visits his landlord, Heathcliff, at Wuthering Heights. He plans to return the next day despite his rude treatment.

Chapter 2: Mr. Lockwood returns to Wuthering Heights. He meets Catherine Linton and Hareton Earnshaw, who with Heathcliff, treat him rudely. Because it’s snowy and dark, Lockwood asks for a guide home. Heathcliff refuses. Lockwood takes a lamp to guide him home. Joseph the servant suspects thievery and sicks the dogs on Lockwood. He is forced to spend the night.

Chapter 3: Zillah, a servant at Wuthering Heights, shows Mr. Lockwood to a “forbidden” room where he is to sleep. He reads a 25-year old diary entry about Heathcliff, Catherine Earnshaw, and her cruel brother Hindley. Lockwood awakes from a nightmare. He is greeted by the ghost of Catherine Linton who clings to Lockwood’s arm, who scrapes it with glass to set himself free. Lockwood screams. Heathcliff enters and scolds his guest. There is no physical evidence of a break in. Lockwood goes to the study. Heathcliff goes to the window and cries for Catherine’s ghost to return.

Chapters 4-7

Chapter 4: Back home, Lockwood asks his servant, Nelly Dean, about the history of the Wuthering Heights' inhabitants. The Catherine at Wuthering Heights is the daughter of Nelly’s first mistress, also named Catherine. Hareton is young Catherine’s cousin. Hareton, Hindley, and the first Catherine are the children of Mr. Earnshaw. Mr. Earnshaw on a trip to Liverpool brings back an orphan, Heathcliff, whom he raises and cares for more than the other children. Hindley treats Heathcliff poorly. Catherine and Heathcliff become inseparable.

Chapter 5: Mr. Earnshaw sends Hindley to college. Mr. Earnshaw dies.

Chapter 6: Hindley returns from college with his new wife. He exacts revenge on Heathcliff immediately, denying him an education and forcing him to be a common laborer. Catherine and Heathcliff spend their free time together playing on the moors. Heathcliff returns late one evening, without Catherine, who sustained an injury and stayed at the Linton house at Thrushcross Grange. Catherine and Heathcliff are prohibited from seeing each other.

Chapter 7: Catherine spends five weeks at Thrushcross Grange where Mrs. Linton teaches her to be a lady. Hindley turns Heathcliff in to a dirty servant. Catherine insults Heathcliff’s appearance. The Lintons come to Wuthering Heights for Christmas. Heathcliff flicks applesauce in Edgar Linton’s face. Hindley locks Heathcliff in the attic. Catherine is upset.

Chapters 8-10

Chapter 8: Hindley’s wife dies giving birth to Hareton. Nelly takes care of him. Hindley becomes a drunk. Hindley leaves for the day and Heathcliff takes the day off from work to question Catherine about all the time she spends with Edgar Linton. She reports that Edgar is visiting later that day. Edgar witnesses a Catherine temper tantrum, receiving a portion of it himself. He leaves. He returns and the two declare their love for one another.

Chapter 9: Hindley arrives home drunk. He drops his son from the bannister. Heathcliff catches him. Catherine tells Nelly that she will marry Edgar because Heathcliff is not worthy. Heathclif overhears and leaves Wuthering Heights. Catherine searches for him, catches cold, is taken to Thruschcross Grange, and infects Mr. and Mrs. Linton. Edgar and Catherine marry three years later.

Chapter 10: Heathcliff returns shortly after Catherine’s marriage, looking like a gentleman and having acquired wealth. Hindley, to the surprise of all, allows Heathcliff to stay at Wuthering Heights. Catherine and Isabella visit Heathcliff often. Isabella falls in love with Heathcliff. Heathcliff does not discourage it.

Chapters 11-15

Chapter 11: Heathcliff feigns love for Isabella. Heathcliff and Edgar get in a fight, with Edgar being humiliated. In anger, Edgar demands his wife choose him or Heathcliff.

Chapter 12: Catherine throws a fit and becomes very ill. She speaks of death and rambling on the moors. Heathcliff and Isabella elope after Heathcliff hangs her puppy.

Chapter 13: Nelly and Edgar nurse Catherine, who has become pregnant, but will never fully recover. Isabella sends a letter to Edgar begging for his forgiveness. He refuses. Nelly receives a letter from Isabella recounting her rude treatment and horrible living conditions. Heathcliff has chosen to get his revenge on Edgar by mistreating Isabella.

Chapter 14: Nelly visits Isabella at the Heights. Heathcliff forces Nelly to deliver Catherine a letter.

Chapter 15: Edgar goes to church. Heathcliff arrives. Catherine declares her love for Heathcliff. Catherine collapses into Heathcliff’s arms as Edgar arrives. Nelly hurries him out of the room and promises to send word on Catherine’s condition.

Chapters 16-20

Chapter 16: Catherine gives birth prematurely and dies two hours later. Heathcliff wishes to be haunted by Catherine in any form possible as long as she stay close to him. Edgar holds a vigil over her dead body and calls for her to be buried overlooking the moors.

Chapter 17: Isabella escapes Wuthering Heights and asks Nelly for assistance. Isabella runs off to London and gives birth to a son, Linton Heathcliff. Nelly and Isabella correspond regularly until Isabella’s death 12 years later. Hindley dies shortly after Catherine. Heathcliff becomes owner of Wuthering Heights on account of Hindley’s gambling debts. Heathcliff decides to raise Hareton on his own, making him a dirty servant just as Hindley did to him.

Chapter 18: Catherine grows up and is forbidden to wander far from home. Edgar is called to London to retrieve Linton. Catherine takes advantage and escapes to Penistone Crags where she meets Hareton.

Chapter 19: Edgar brings Linton to Thrushcross Grange. Joseph arrives to inform Edgar that he is to get him.

Chapter 20: Nelly takes Linton to his father in the morning, who openly scoffs at his son. Linton begs Nelly to stay.

Chapters 21-29

Chapter 21: Catherine is upset by Linton’s disappearance. When she turns 16, Nelly spots Catherine speaking with Hareton and Heathcliff on the moors. Heathcliff invites her to the house to visit his son, who Catherine does not realize is Linton. Linton is too weak and whiny to show Catherine around, so Hareton takes her, who insults him the entire time for his ignorance. Heathcliff forces Linton to go and tells Nelly his desire for Linton and Catherine to marry. Linton and Catherine correspond regularly until forced to stop.

Chapter 22: Edgar becomes very ill. Catherine comes across Heathcliff, who chastises Catherine for her poor treatment of Linton, who is dying from a broken heart. Catherine convinces Nelly to take her to Wuthering Heights.

Chapter 23: Linton whines. Catherine shoves him. Linton whines more and begs Catherine to visit more often. Nelly becomes ill. Catherine takes care of Nelly and her father during the day and rides to Wuthering Heights to visit Linton in the evening.

Chapter 24: Nelly learns of Catherine’s visits and tells Edgar. Edgar prohibits further visits.

Chapter 25: Edgar nears death. He allows Catherine to visit Linton on the moors, not realizing that Linton is just as sick as he.

Chapter 26: Nelly and Catherine meet Linton near Wuthering Heights. Linton appears very ill and fearfully looks over his shoulder frequently.

Chapter 27: Catherine and Nelly are duped by Linton and forced by Heathcliff to enter the house, at which time he locks them in and refuses to release them until Linton and Catherine are married. Catherine is permitted to leave. Nelly is locked in a room for five days.

Chapter 28: Nelly is freed. She confronts Linton who claims Catherine is locked up and that he now owns everything on account of their marriage. Nelly returns to Thrushcross Grange, to the delight of the other servants who thought she was dead. Catherine returns shortly before her father’s death.

Chapter 29: After Edgar’s death, Heathcliff arrives to retrieve Catherine. He tells Nelly that he had the sexton remove old Catherine’s coffin so he could look at her and that he paid the sexton to remove the side of her coffin not facing Edgar. Heathcliff puts in his will that he wishes to be buried next to Catherine and have the side of his coffin removed so the two can mingle.

Chapters 30-34

Chapter 30: Nelly has not seen Catherine since her departure. She gets news from Zillah who reports that all inhabitants are ordered to show no kindness to Catherine. Linton dies, having only Catherine to take care of him.

Chapter 31: Lockwood visits Wuthering Heights to deliver a letter to Catherine from Nelly and to terminate his lease. They all treat him rudely. Catherine ridicules Hareton for his ignorance.

Chapter 32: Six months later, Lockwood returns to Thrushcross Grange and discovers that Nelly has replaced Zillah at Wuthering Heights. He visits her and receives an update: Hareton and Catherine are soon to be married; Heathcliff is dead.

Chapter 33: Nelly relates that Catherine and Hareton’s resemblance to his Catherine had driven him crazy and that he no longer desired revenge.

Chapter 34: Nelly relates Heathcliff’s last days. Lockwood leaves as Hareton and Catherine return.

This post is part of the series: Wuthering Heights Study Guide

Tired of strangling puppies on your literature tests. Rise to new heights with the Wuthering Heights study guide.

  1. Wuthering Heights Chapter Summaries
  2. An Analysis of Wuthering Heights Characters
  3. Wuthering Heights Quotes with Analysis
  4. Understanding Symbolism in Wuthering Heights