Wuthering Heights: Chapter 16 - Summary & Analysis

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      In this short chapter, Cathy, dies after giving birth to a daughter, who is also named Catherine. Edgar is distracted with grief. Nelly philosophically says that Catherine has gone to perfect peace, 'divine rest' but does not really believe that Catherine can be happy in the other world: She goes into the garden to tell Heathcliff of the night's events but he knows already that Catherine is dead. Nelly is distressed to see Heathcliff's agony and realizes that, despite his wildness, he shares a common humanity. Her pious remarks about Catherine, however, rouse him to fury. He calls on Cathy to haunt him for as long as he lives and dashes his head against a tree, howling like a savage beast. Nelly leaves him, knowing she cannot help him.

      Cathy's funeral does not take place until Friday and her coffin remains uncovered in the drawing room, where Edgar spends his days and nights, while Heathcliff watches from the garden. On Tuesday when Edgar goes to rest for a couple of hours, Nelly opens the window to give Heathcliff the chance of a last farewell. Heathcliff enters the room opens Cathy's locket, throws out Edgar's hair and places his own inside. Nelly sees what has happened and twines the two together inside the locket.

      Cathy is buried, as per her wish in a green slope in the corner of the Churchyard — away from the tombs of both the Lintons and the Earnshaws in a spot where the wildness of the heath and moor have encroached.

Critical Analysis

      With Cathy's death, ends a significant part of Heathcliff's life. He now appears beyond redemption. He cannot live without her and believes lie has lost his soul in an anguished cry, "Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living! You said I killed you. Haunt me, then. Be with me always — take any form— drive me mad. Only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you," is proof of his great love for Cathy. He finds existence unendurable without her.

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