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Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte - Barron's Booknotes
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In this chapter you learn the meaning of thwarted love in the
passionate world of Wuthering Heights. Soon after Hindley's
son Hareton is born, his wife dies of consumption. Hindley
takes to drink, cursing God and man alike. Tortured himself, he
in turn treats Heathcliff in a way that would "make a fiend of a
saint." (This "passing on" of suffering will be explored more
fully in chapters 17 and 30.)

Catherine's conflicting feelings for Edgar and Heathcliff
become increasingly apparent. She's cordial in the social world
of Thrushcross Grange, but unruly in the dissipated atmosphere
of Wuthering Heights. Ellen, whose dislike for her has become
stronger, attributes Cathy's feeling for Edgar to ambition.

One afternoon when Hindley is gone from the house, Cathy
quarrels with Heathcliff. She is still upset when Edgar arrives.
In a fit of bad temper she pinches Ellen, slaps her then shakes
baby Hareton, and strikes Edgar. When Edgar protests, Cathy
tells him that she did not mean to be violent, and that she'll cry
herself sick. Edgar thinks he should leave, but can't force
himself to. Ellen can see that the passions unleashed that
afternoon have made the two more open with each other-so
open that they declare themselves in love.

Ellen has let you know many times that she doesn't like Cathy.
Certainly, Cathy has behaved badly. Cathy admits that she can't
hide or control her feelings, that her impulsiveness is part of
her "Wuthering Heights" nature. But can you excuse her for
her behavior, just because she can't control it?

NOTE: Hindley's dreadful mixing of love and cruelty at the
beginning of the chapter is matched by Cathy's behavior later
on. Love and cruelty-do the two emotions have anything in
common? The two are so often related in Wuthering Heights
that you have to wonder if they spring from the same source.

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Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte - Barron's Booknotes

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