Wuthering Heights: Chapter 6 - Summary & Analysis

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      Hindley returns home for the funeral and brings with him a young delicate and excitable wife. He had married Frances secretly. Hindley takes over the household and first banishes Joseph and Nelly to the servant's quarters in the back-kitchen. Frances too takes a dislike to Heathcliff and Heathcliff is also banished to the servant's quarters. Heathcliff is no longer allowed to take lessons from the curate and he is reduced to the level of a servant and forced to work as a farm-hand.

      As Hindley and Frances care little how the young people behave, Cathy and Heathcliff appear to be growing up as uncouth savages. Careless of punishment, they often remain on the moors all day.

      One Sunday evening when Catherine and Heathcliff have been sent from the sitting room, they disappear from the house. Late in the night. Heathcliff returns alone to tell the worried Nelly what has happened. The two had escaped and gone to Thrushcross Grange where the Lintons lived. Peeping through the window into a beautifully furnished room, they find Edgar and Isabella quarreling over a little dog. Heathcliff and Cathy laugh scornfully at this silliness and are thus discovered. The Linton's bulldog is set on them. Catherine is seized by the ankle and after this both she and Heathcliff are taken into the house, the latter swearing loudly. When Catherine is recognized, the Lintons are horrified and try put matters right by bathing her ankle and making a fuss of her. Heathcliff however, is ordered out of the house because of his foul language. Peeping through the window again, Heathcliff sees that Cathy is happy and comfortable and so comes back to Wuthering Heights and explains all this to Nelly.

      The next day Mr. Linton calls on Hindley and tells him to be more responsible towards Cathy.

Critical Analysis

      We are introduced to the Linton family for the first time and it is not a very happy introduction. For all the beauty of the room, its inmates Isabella and Edgar are quarreling.

      A window again assumes importance — this time the window of Thrushcross Grange. Throughout the novel windows are separators; here the window initially separates Catherine and Heathcliff from the Lintons but by the end of the chapter it separates Catherine and Heathcliff from each other; they are never to be truly happy together again.

      The narrative perspective changes. Once again Heathcliff briefly takes over the story and we see the incident at Thrushcross Grange through his eyes whilst Nelly listens and interpolates the occasional comment.

      The reader, has had a preview of some of the events in this chapter through Catherine s diary in Chapter 3; there she had described both the misery of Sunday evenings and also the harsh treatment meted out to Heathcliff by Hindley.

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