Wuthering Heights: Chapter 18 - Summary & Analysis

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      Twelve years pass quickly and happily for Nelly who has full charge of Catherine's daughter also named Catherine. Catherine is now twelve years old, charming and beautiful though a spoilt child. Edgar teaches her himself and she has not gone beyond the range of the park even once. She has no knowledge of Wuthering Heights or of Heathcliff though she often begs to go as far as Penistone Crags.

      When Isabella realizes she is dying she writes to Edgar asking him to visit her and to take Linton home with him. Edgar goes to see her and stays away for three weeks. During his absence, Catherine tricks Nelly and makes her way to Penistone Crag, some five and half miles away, on a pony and accompanied by several dogs.

      Nelly is worried by evening and goes out in search of Catherine. When she reaches Wuthering Heights, which is between Thrushcross Grange and the Crags, she sees one of the dogs outside and realizes that Cathy is there. Catherine has met Hareton and the housekeeper at the Heights. However, Heathcliff and Joseph are away for the day. Hareton had gone with her to Penistone Crags and the two of them are on the best of terms.

      When Nelly arrives at Wuthering Heights she is angry and Catherine becomes defiant. Catherine learns that Hareton is not the owner's son and orders him about like a servant. But she bursts into tears when she realizes that he is her cousin. Hareton tries to befriend Catherine by giving her a puppy but she would not accept it.

      Meanwhile, Hareton and the housekeeper learn that Edgar has gone to fetch Linton.

      Nelly admonishes Catherine as they return to Thrushcross Grange and is afraid that Edgar might even dismiss her for negligence. Catherine, therefore, agrees to keep her visit to Wuthering Heights a secret from her father.

Critical Analysis

      Here we see the younger Catherine having some of the traits of her mother. She is impertinent and defiant and has a perverse will. She is irresponsible and reckless in wandering off to the Heights on her own defying Nelly's instructions. If a servant annoys her she says she will tell papa. Her attitude towards Hareton when she thinks of him as a servant is also not praiseworthy.

      However, she does differ from her mother. She is softer and milder than her high-strung mother. She has a gentle voice and her anger and love are more moderate in nature and are not like the fierce passion of her mother—the elder Catherine.

      This chapter offers us the first view of the adult Hareton. Despite his surliness, he appears in a favorable light. However, it is clear that Heathcliff has succeeded in his plans of revenge. He has brought up Hareton without any education and has made him as uncivilized as he himself (Heathcliff) was originally. Heathcliff has treated Hareton as abominably as Hindley had treated him years before.

      There is emphasis again on the Earnshaw eyes which both Cathy and Hareton possess.

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