Wuthering Heights: Chapter 34 - Summary & Analysis

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      For several days after the angry scene with Cathy, Heathcliff behaves strangely. He avoids all company and is unable to eat the food Nelly serves him. His odd behavior makes Nelly nervous.

      One night Heathcliff remains absent from home turning up only in the morning with a strange, joyful glitter in his eyes. Looking at his eyes Nelly wonders if he is a ghoul or a vampire.

      Nelly attempts to turn Heathcliff's mind to religion, reminding him. that he has lived a selfish, un-Christian life. He tells her how he wishes to be buried. He is to be taken to the churchyard in the evening. Though Nelly and Hareton may be present, no Minister is to be present and no service is to be held. The coffin he says, should be placed next to Cathy's as arranged with the sexton. He tells Nelly, "I have already attained my heaven; and that of others is altogether unwanted by me."

      Then the bright April weather changes. After a night of pouring rain, Nelly finds Heathcliff dead beside the open window of the room that had once been Catherine's. The rain had beaten in upon him and the bed clothes are soaking; his hair and face are wet. Nelly shuts the window.

      To the shock of the neighborhood, they bury him as he had wished. The country folk around believe that Heathcliff still walks the moors. Joseph affirms that he has seen both Catherine and Heathcliff on every rainy night since Heathcliff's death.

      Nelly does not care to live at the Heights anymore. Cathy and Hareton are to be married on New Year's day 1803 and move to Thrushcross Grange with Nelly. Joseph is to remain the caretaker of Wuthering Heights. Lockwood leaves, wishing Nelly good-bye but avoiding the young couple. He then walks home past the churchyard, lingering for a time beside the peaceful graves of Heathcliff, Catherine and Edgar.

Critical Analysis

      The last chapter brings to close the story of Heathcliff's passionate love and hate. In death he is united forever with his beloved Catherine. The novel ends thus, not on a depressing note but on a happy one. Hareton and Catherine are also to be married; thus the legacy of love triumphs over the legacy of hate and revenge.

      The last chapter picks up many of the themes which occur earlier in the book— the references to eyes and teeth, the emphasis on heaven and hell, the idea of Heathcliff as a goblin.

      The supernatural element is predominant with references to the strange glitter in Heathcliff's eyes and the ghosts of Catherine and Heathcliff which the village folk say, they see.

      Windows are once again referred to. Heathcliff's death at the window of Catherine's room vividly recalls the earlier scene of Lockwood's nightmare, beside that same window (Chapter 3). The window is now open, no longer a separator. Heathcliff is at last free to go to his Catherine. The novel has come full circle; it begins with Lockwood's first visit to Heathcliff at Wuthering Heights; it ends with his last visit to the Heights.

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