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Free Study Guide-Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte-Free BookNotes
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Chapter 23

Summary

Nelly and Cathy go to the Heights the next day. When they enter, Linton tells his excited cousin not to kiss him, for it would take his breath away. In the conversation that follows, Cathy and Linton engage in a bitter quarrel about whether married men love their wives. The girl insists that they do not, as can be seen in the case of Linton's parents. Linton is angry and responds by saying that Cathy's parents also hated each other. Unable to contain herself, Cathy gives his chair a violent push. Linton has a fit and claims that Cathy has hit him. After a short time, they make up and are friendly again. Cathy sings him ballads until mid-day and promises that she will visit him again. Nelly's threats against such a visit are not taken seriously.

Nelly catches fever the next day and has to stay in bed for three weeks. Cathy divides her time between nursing her father and Nelly. She also finds time to secretly visit Linton every evening at Wuthering Heights.


Notes

In this chapter, the relationship between Cathy and Linton develops, even though the young man is sickly, disagreeable, and demanding. In contrast to her cousin, Cathy is tender and affectionate. It is odd that Cathy, a beautiful and healthy young girl, should fall in love with Linton, an ailing young man who probably will not live beyond the age of twenty. However, it must be remembered that she has little exposure to the world outside of the Grange and no social experience. Cathy is also a very kind person, who is accustomed to nursing ailing people. The chapter shows her waiting upon Nelly during her three- week illness and cheering her in her solitude. There is also a tradition of intense love relationships between people of opposite temperaments in romantic literature, which influenced Emily Brontë's writing.

Neither Nelly nor her father knows of Cathy's nightly visits with Linton at Wuthering Heights. Both of them have forbidden her to return there; but Cathy is determined and strong-willed enough to ignore the orders of her governess and the wishes of her father and pursues a relationship with the son of a man whom her father hates deeply.

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