[Spoilers for Chapters 18-26 of Wuthering Heights]
Today was gloomy and drizzly, perfect Wuthering Heights weather, and I spent a few hours this afternoon powering through this week’s chapters. Even though there was significantly less drama, we were introduced to two “new” characters, one of which I actually like! Even though Mr. Lockwood meets Cathy Linton when he first visits Wuthering Heights, we don’t immediately find out much about her, except that she’s Heathcliff’s daughter-in-law. Our section this week picks up 12 years after the deaths of Catherine Earnshaw-Linton and Hindley Earnshaw. Nelly right away describes that those were the happiest 12 years of her life, and why would that be? Because Heathcliff is absent! It was nice for me as well, I must say. But besides that, Nelly is also the nanny to little Cathy Linton, whom I really like, despite the fact that she doesn’t listen to Nelly or her Father when they tell her to stay away from Wuthering Heights (but who can blame her, honestly, when she’s forbidden from visiting without really knowing why?). She’s still a good-natured and good-tempered girl (at least compared to her mother).
Nelly narrates the happenings of the next 5 years, up until Cathy is 17 years old (which we learn was a little more than a year before Mr. Lockwood’s arrival). For the most part, Cathy’s life is rather uneventful, that is until her Aunt Isabella dies and Edgar brings home his nephew Linton Heathcliff to stay with them. Cathy is right away enraptured–she immediately loves her cousin and can hardly wait to become best friends with him. Unfortunately, nothing good lasts in this story, and Heathcliff sends Joseph (ugh) to–and I’m basically paraphrasing it here–fetch back his property to Wuthering Heights. Now, young Linton is a sickly boy with a fair complexion and a rather weak-spirit. He resembles his father in no way whatsoever, so right away we know that things are not going to end well for Linton.
Cathy, of course, is heartbroken, but she continues on her life until a few years later when her and Nelly run into Heathcliff not far from Wuthering Heights, and he
tricks persuades Cathy to come visit. Nelly, essentially powerless at this point, tries desperately to dissuade Cathy, because she knows that Heathcliff is up to no good. But once Cathy is reunited with Linton the damage is done, and unfortunately for everyone involved (including us readers), Heathcliff now has power over Cathy as well, and his vengeful plan is now all set to snowball into an avalanche and ruin everyone’s lives–*breathes*–ok, it’s clearly obvious I hate Heathcliff.
Heathcliff effortlessly persuades Cathy and Linton into falling in love, but I’m guessing that, based on all of the other romantic relationships here, it is NOT going to end happily-ever-after. My guess is that Linton is going to succumb to his illness in a matter of pages and Cathy (who may actually love him, who knows? At least she’s nice to him) will turn into the apathetic Cathy we met at the beginning of the novel.
My favorite part of this section was finally seeing a child actually being loved and cared for. Edgar, despite his cruelty towards Heathcliff during their adolescence, is actually a doting father who loves and admires his spirited daughter. Nelly is also a loving and practical nurse who does not treat Cathy wrongly, but who really wishes her to be safe and happy. Cathy turns out to be a thoughtful and agreeable young lady, her only faults being that she’s overly curious and likes to run off to tend to her sick cousin and then lie about where she’s been. In her we can see a kind heart.
I have completely forgotten how this novel ends, but right now I’m earnestly hoping that Cathy gets some type of happy ending. I think it’ll be the only thing that can redeem this novel for me.
For those reading along with me: how do you feel about Cathy Linton and Linton Heathcliff, both as individual characters and as a romantic pair? Do you agree with Cathy’s statement that her and Linton would never quarrel after they were married and used to each other (Ch. 23)?
Post your thoughts in the comments, or share the link to your own blog post :)