Wuthering Heights: Chapter 29 - Summary & Analysis

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      The evening after the funeral, Heathcliff, now master of the Grange, comes to take possession and get Catherine back to Wuthering Heights. The room which he enters is the same into which he had been escorted, as a guest eighteen years before, when he had returned to Gimmerton after his mysterious disappearance for three years. In spite of Catherine's resistance, he orders her to behave as a dutiful daughter-in-law and sends her to pack her things. He informs Catherine that he intends to rent his property to a tenant.

      When Catherine leaves the room to collect her things, Heathcliff talks to Nelly, the one person he has known all his life. He tells Nelly that the previous day whilst Edgar's grave was being dug beside that of his wife, he had opened Catherine's coffin and looked upon her face; he had then bribed the sexton to away one panel of her coffin, his object being that, when his dead body should be buried, it should be close to Cathy's dead body without there being any wall between them.

      Heathcliff has been haunted by Catherine for the last eighteen years. He tells Nelly that Catherine has disturbed him night and day but now he felt tranquil because he had dreamt that he was sleeping his last sleep by the side of that dead woman whom he had never ceased to love.

      The story brings back to his mind, the evening of Catherine's funeral when he had also attempted to open her coffin, only to become convinced that she was not in the grave but with him on the earth. Catherine was so real to him that he talked to her as he returned to Wuthering Heights. When he arrived there however, he found that Hindley and Isabella had locked him out.

      After narrating to Nelly these events, Heathcliff leaves the Grange taking Catherine with him. He orders Nelly to stay on at the Grange and act as the housekeeper for the tenant who would take the Grange on rent.

Critical Analysis

      This is the last phase of the story. The first Catherine had married and moved from Wuthering Heights to Thrushcross Grange; now the second Cathy, married to Linton, is to move from Thrushcross Grange to Wuthering Heights.

      The defiant and courageous spirit of Catherine is evident here. She sums up Heathcliff's situation admirably in these lines: "Mr. Heathcliff, you have nobody to love you; and, however, miserable you make us, we shall still have the revenge of thinking that your cruelty arises from your greater misery. You are miserable are you not? Lonely like the devil— nobody will cry for you when you die. I wouldn't be you."

      There is time shift and double narration in Heathcliff recalling his torment at Catherine's death. Heathcliff seems to be haunted by Catherine just as he had wished for in Chapter 16. His passionate and moving words to Nelly revive our reluctant sympathy. His love for Catherine has an almost superhuman quality.

      There is an element of the supernatural in this chapter enhanced by Heathcliff's accounts of his visits to the graveyard and his account of having seen Catherine's spirit on many occasions.

      Heathcliff's narration also gives us a startling new perspective on the, events recounted by Isabella in Chapter 17. Catherine's presence, just beyond the threshold of reality, called to him from the Heights and he was denied the comfort of entering and being with her again.

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