Wuthering Heights: Chapter 5 - Summary & Analysis

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      In the course of time Heathcliff and Catherine become very close to each other. Catherine's greatest punishment is to be separated from him and he is always more willing to listen to her than to anyone else.

      Meanwhile, Mr. Earnshaw's health begins to fail and the weaker he grows the more irritable he becomes. He is convinced that because he dotes on Heathcliff, all the others hate the boy. Hindley in particular, is very much opposed to Heathcliff. There is constant strife in the household and at last, Mr. Earnshaw is persuaded by the curate to send Hindley away to college.

      Things however don't improve. The self-righteous, pious Joseph becomes more moralizing and Catherine's high spirits cause trouble. Her father's reproofs only make her provoke him more until he says, "Nay Cathy, I cannot love thee: thou'rt worse than thy brother." She is wild and haughty, but at the same time attractive and means no real harm. Mr Earnshaw becomes more feeble and one night in October 1777 (three years after Hindley's departure) when they are all sitting peacefully around the fire, Mr Earnshaw dies quietly in his chair.

Critical Analysis

      The bond between Catherine and Heathcliff continues to grow. Her high spirits which cause minor troubles now, are a reflection of her high-strung character and are eventually responsible for her death.

      The hatred between Hindley and Heathcliff also continues. Mr. Earnshaw recognizes that his favouring of Heathcliff is responsible for alienating the others, especially Hindley. But by sending away Hindley, he is to sow the seeds of further discord. With Earnshaw's death, the Earnshaw's first generation comes to an end.

      This short chapter carries the story swiftly forward over several years. An interesting feature of this novel is that the pace varies: a chapter may contain the events of a few hours or a few years.

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