Wuthering Heights: Chapter 32 - Summary & Analysis

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      Eight months later, in September 1802, Lockwood is again in the district and decides to spend the night at the Grange. He finds a new housekeeper in charge, who tells him that Nelly is now at the Heights. He decides to walk there, while the housekeeper prepares his bed and meal.

      As he approaches the Heights, he has the impression that things are much improved. The gates open to his touch and the garden yields a fragrance of flowers. It is a warm day and all the doors and windows are open, though there is a fine coal fire burning in the hearth. Near one of the windows, he sees Catherine and Hareton conversing together. Hareton looks handsome and respectably dressed. Catherine is teaching him to
read and rewarding his efforts with kisses. Lockwood makes his way round to the kitchen where he finds Nelly sewing and singing whilst Joseph moans and complains. Nelly recognizes Lockwood and invites him in. He learns that Heathcliff had died three months previously and Nelly takes up the story once again.

      A fortnight after Lockwood's departure to London, Heathcliff asks Nelly to go to Wuthering Heights. She is pleased to be with Cathy but finds life at the Heights depressing. Cathy is restless and miserable, Hareton is morose and Heathcliff shuns all society. After a while, however, Nelly notices that Catherine's behavior to Hareton is changing: she seems incapable of letting him alone, but remembering her earlier cruelty, he rebuffs her advances.

      At last, however, she charms him into forgiving her, and they are now inseparable much to Joseph's disgust and Nelly's delight.

Critical Analysis

      The whole atmosphere of this chapter is lighter. The atmosphere at the Heights is no longer one of gloom, violence and hatred. Instead, there is laughter and sunshine.

      The significance is that the doors and windows are all open. They are no longer locked and there is an air of loving companionship within the house.

      An important plot development is the intimacy that has developed between Hareton and Catherine who had previously been so hostile to one another.

      Lockwood is still the narrator, though Nelly takes over to recount the story happening during Lockwood's absence of eight months.

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