CliffsNotes on Brontë's Wuthering Heights

By Richard P. Wasowski | Go to book overview

Chapter 9

Summary

In a drunken rage, Hindley accidentally drops Hareton over the banister, but luckily, Heathcliff is present and catches the baby. Later, in the kitchen, Catherine speaks to Nelly. Thinking they are alone, Catherine tells Nelly that Edgar asked her to marry him and that she accepted. Catherine explains that she cannot marry Heathcliff because Hindley has degraded him so much; however, she expresses her love for Heathcliff. She prefaces her remarks with “It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff,” and these are the words he overhears. Catherine continues, that Heathcliff will never know how much she loves him and that “he’s more myself than I am.”

Heathcliff leaves Wuthering Heights that night and disappears for three years. Catherine spends the entire night outdoors in the rain. She comes down with a bad chill, catches a fever, and almost dies. The Lintons allow her to recuperate at the Grange, but both Mr. and Mrs. Linton take the fever and die.

Three years after his parents’ deaths, Edgar marries Catherine. They convince Nelly to leave Hareton and Wuthering Heights and move to Thrushcross Grange. When Nelly tries to refuse to go, both Edgar and Hindley force her to move.


Analysis

Catherine’s dual nature reveals itself most fully in this chapter. In one breath she is able to declare her love for Heathcliff while simultaneously stating she cannot marry him. She agrees to marry Edgar yet naively thinks this marriage will not affect her relationship with Heathcliff. Catherine, like most of Victorian society, views marriage as a social contract and not the ultimate commitment between lovers. In her eyes, she and Heathcliff are one; therefore, her marriage to Edgar could not possibly affect the spiritual connection she has with Heathcliff.

In addition to their spiritual connection, a symbolic connection between Catherine and Heathcliff also exists. When Catherine arrives at Thrushcross Grange, she is as much an outsider there as Heathcliff was when he arrived at Wuthering Heights. Upon their arrivals, both wreak havoc and turmoil on the inhabitants. Although Catherine chooses to marry and live with Edgar, she is out of her element.


Glossary

wisht hush.

shilling a former monetary unit of the United Kingdom, equal to 1/20 of a pound.

perdition [Archaic] complete and irreparable loss; ruin.

blasphemer one who speaks irreverently or profanely of or to God.

bairnies grat children wept.

mools earth of a grave.

Milo a famous Greek athlete who, caught by the tree he was trying to split, was eaten up by wild beasts; here, Catherine suggests that anyone who attempts to split Heathcliff and herself will end up destroyed.

settle a long wooden bench with a back, armrests, and sometimes a chest beneath the seat.

supplication a humble request, prayer, or petition.

vociferate to utter or shout loudly or vehemently.

-22-

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CliffsNotes on Brontë's Wuthering Heights
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Table of Contents 1
  • Wuthering Heights at a Glance 2
  • Book Summary 4
  • About Wuthering Heights 5
  • Character List 7
  • Summary and Analysis 8
  • Chapter 1 9
  • Chapter 2 11
  • Chapter 3 13
  • Chapter 4 15
  • Chapter 5 17
  • Chapter 6 18
  • Chapter 7 20
  • Chapter 8 21
  • Chapter 9 22
  • Chapter 10 23
  • Chapter 11 24
  • Chapter 12 25
  • Chapter 13 26
  • Chapter 14 27
  • Chapter 15 28
  • Chapter 16 29
  • Chapter 17 30
  • Chapter 18 32
  • Chapter 19 34
  • Chapter 20 35
  • Chapter 21 36
  • Chapter 22 38
  • Chapter 23 39
  • Chapter 24 40
  • Chapter 25 41
  • Chapter 26 42
  • Chapter 27 43
  • Chapter 28 44
  • Chapter 29 45
  • Chapter 30 46
  • Chapter 31 47
  • Chapter 32 48
  • Chapter 33 49
  • Chapter 34 50
  • Character Analysis 51
  • Heathcliff 52
  • Catherine Earnshaw 53
  • Edgar Linton 54
  • Cathy Linton 55
  • Hareton Earnshaw 56
  • Ellen (Nelly) Dean 57
  • Character Genealogy 58
  • Emily Brontë Biography 59
  • Critical Essays 61
  • Major Themes 62
  • The Narrative Structure 63
  • Class Structure 64
  • Heathcliff’s Obsession 65
  • Study Help 66
  • Full Glossary 67
  • Essay Questions 75
  • Practice Project 76
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