Wuthering Heights: Chapter 13 - Summary & Analysis

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      For two months, Cathy is ill with brain fever and Edgar nurses her very tenderly and lovingly. In March, Cathy has recovered sufficiently to let Edgar carry her downstairs to the parlor. Close by, another room, the very room, in fact, which Lockwood now occupies, is fitted up as a bedroom so that Catherine does not fatigue herself by going up and down the star is. This is important as we learn that Catherine is expecting a baby.

      About six weeks after her elopement, Isabella writes a brief letter to Edgar telling him of her marriage with Heathcliff. As Edgar does not reply to her letter, Isabella writes a long letter to Nelly requesting her not to disclose the contents of the letter to Edgar but come and visit her at the Heights where she has taken up residence with Heathcliff.

      The letter takes up most of the chapter. It reveals the blunder Isabella has committed in trusting Heathcliff and marrying him. She paints a grim and dreary picture of life at the Heights; filth and neglect have taken over; Hareton is a dirty young savage, Hindley unkempt, evenly and almost mad and murderous; Joseph rude and surly. Nicely brought up, Isabella is out of place here. None of the rooms are clean enough for her and she drops to sleep in a chair beside the fire in the sitting room.

      Heathcliff has made it clear she would never share his room and after telling her of Cathy's illness, promises to make her Edgar's proxy in suffering until he can get hold of Edgar himself.

      Isabella's letter reveals that Heathcliff has devised every method to hurt her feelings and she now feels that Heathcliff is either mad or a devil.

Critical Analysis

      Here the narration is taken, over by Isabella, whose actual letter is read out by Nelly to Lockwood in the midst of the tale. Thus we see Wuthering Heights from yet another narrative perspective; that of Isabella. Heathcliff description by Isabella paints him as almost a devil. She writes of Heathcliff, "He is ingenious and unresting in seeking to gain my abhorrence..... A tiger or a venomous serpent could not rouse terror in me equal to that which he wakes." Isabella's plight is pitiable. Her comments about the eyes of both Hareton and Hindley, "the look of Catherine" is significant. It is recalled on several occasions later in the novel; for e.g. in chapter 33, Heathcliff is disconcerted to find Catherine's eyes reflected in the eyes of Hareton and the second Catherine.

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