Here you will find a Wuthering Heights summary (Emily Brontë's book).
We begin with a summary of the entire book, and then you can read each individual chapter's summary by visiting the links on the "Chapters" section.
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In the frosty winter season of 1801, a gentleman named Lockwood rents a grand estate, Thrushcross Grange, located in the secluded moorland of England. He encounters his stern landlord, Heathcliff, a prosperous gentleman residing in the nearby old manor, Wuthering Heights. Lockwood solicits his housekeeper, Nelly Dean, to relate the intriguing tale of Heathcliff and the peculiar inhabitants of the Heights. As a young servant at the Heights, Nelly recalls the owner, Mr. Earnshaw, bringing home an orphan boy, Heathcliff, who is initially detested by Earnshaw's children, Hindley and Catherine. However, Catherine soon forms a close bond with Heathcliff, leading to her father favoring Heathcliff over Hindley, who is sent away for education. With Mr. Earnshaw's passing, Hindley inherits the Heights, returning with a wife, Frances, and an intent of retribution on Heathcliff, who finds himself reduced to the position of a common worker. Despite this, Heathcliff and Catherine maintain their relationship until a visit to the Grange leads to Catherine being bitten by a dog and staying at Grange to recover. During her stay, Mrs. Linton grooms Catherine into a proper young lady, which results in Catherine's infatuation with Edgar Linton. Following Frances's death and Hindley's descent into alcoholism and abusive behavior towards Heathcliff, Catherine chooses social status over love and becomes engaged to Edgar, prompting Heathcliff to leave. Heathcliff, now wealthy, returns after three years to exact revenge on those who wronged him. He cunningly lends money to the alcoholic Hindley, leading him further into debt and despondency. After Hindley's demise, Heathcliff inherits the Heights and also targets the Grange by marrying Isabella Linton. Following Catherine's death after childbirth, Heathcliff's obsession with her grows, while Isabella escapes to London with their son, Linton. Years later, Heathcliff forces Catherine's daughter, Cathy, to marry Linton. Heathcliff's devious plan comes to fruition as he gains control of both the Heights and the Grange after the death of Edgar and Linton. The tale ends with Cathy falling in love with Hareton, Heathcliff's obsession with Catherine's memory leading to his death, and Cathy and Hareton inheriting both estates and planning to marry.
Despite the bleak surroundings of his residence, Mr. Heathcliff exudes an unusual charm. He appears as a dark gypsy yet carries himself as a gentleman. Depicted through Lockwood's 1801 journal entry, the first few days at Thrushcross Grange, a secluded manor in scarcely populated Yorkshire, are narrated. Not long after settling in, he decides to visit his landlord, Mr. Heathcliff, who resides in the gloomy manor known as Wuthering Heights. The name 'Wuthering' is indicative of the strong, aggressive winds that rage across the moors during storms. During this visit, Heathcliff's suspicious demeanor towards Lockwood is evident. Heathcliff even leaves him alone with a bunch of aggressive dogs. A rosy-faced housekeeper comes to Lockwood's rescue from these dogs. On Heathcliff's return, Lockwood feels a surge of anger but gradually starts developing a liking towards his reticent host. Despite not feeling entirely welcome at Wuthering Heights, he offers to return the following day.
Lockwood visits Wuthering Heights again on a cold day, as his study is being cleaned. He arrives amidst a light snowfall and is ignored at the door. Joseph, an old servant with a strong accent, informs him that Heathcliff is out. Shortly afterward, a rough boy welcomes him inside. In the living room, Lockwood meets a pretty girl by the fireplace and mistakes her for Heathcliff's wife. She gives him cold responses. When Heathcliff returns, he corrects Lockwood's assumption. The girl is his daughter-in-law, and the boy who let him in, Hareton Earnshaw, is not his son but his late son's widow. The light snow turns into a blizzard, and when Lockwood decides to head home, he realizes he needs guidance to navigate through the snow back to Thrushcross Grange. No one volunteers to assist him. He picks up a lantern and assures everyone he'd return it by morning. Joseph believes Lockwood is stealing the lantern, and he sets the dogs on him. Lockwood is trapped by the dogs and his anger results in a nosebleed, forcing him to stay at Wuthering Heights. The housekeeper, Zillah, escorts him to his room.
Zillah shows Lockwood a room that Heathcliff has declared off-limits to guests. In this room, Lockwood discovers names etched into the paint of a window ledge: Catherine Earnshaw, Catherine Linton, and Catherine Heathcliff. He comes across an old diary, around 25 years old, belonging to Catherine Earnshaw. Upon reading, Lockwood discovers a recount of a day at Wuthering Heights shortly after her father's death. This entry talks about her heartless elder brother, Hindley, making her and Heathcliff listen to Joseph's long-winded sermons. It becomes clear that Catherine and Heathcliff shared a close bond, while Hindley detested Heathcliff. The diary also reveals how Hindley instructed his wife, Frances, to pull Heathcliff's hair. Lockwood dozes off and experiences dreadful nightmares. He is jolted awake by a fir cone tapping on his window. Half-asleep, he tries breaking a branch reaching through the window glass, only to grasp a phantom hand. A voice wails the name Catherine Linton, pleading to be let in. In desperation, Lockwood scrapes the specter's wrist on the shattered glass, staining the bed sheets with blood. After the ghost lets go, Lockwood tries to block the window hole with books, but they start tumbling, causing him to scream out fearfully. Heathcliff storms in upon hearing the commotion. Lockwood exclaims that the room is haunted, to which Heathcliff responds with anger. As Lockwood rushes out, Heathcliff pleads to Catherine to come back, though there is no evidence of the ghost's presence. Come morning, Heathcliff is harsh towards his daughter-in-law. He later brings Lockwood home, much to the relief of the servants who had feared their master was lost in the storm. Rather than celebrate his return, Lockwood withdraws to his study, seeking solitude.
Lockwood, feeling isolated, is eager for company. He asks his housekeeper, Nelly Dean, to join him for dinner and explain the family ties at Wuthering Heights. Nelly tells him that the young Catherine (also known as Cathy) he met at the Heights is the daughter of her first employer, Catherine. Cathy's cousin, Hareton Earnshaw, is the nephew of Nelly's first mistress. Cathy is now the final member of the Lintons, and Hareton is the last of the Earnshaws. Nelly grew up serving at Wuthering Heights, alongside Catherine and her brother Hindley, the children of the late Mr. Earnshaw. Nelly proceeds to share tales of her early life at Wuthering Heights. During Catherine and Hindley's childhood, Mr. Earnshaw returned from a trip to Liverpool with an orphan boy named Heathcliff. Despite initial resistance from Catherine and Hindley, Heathcliff was brought up as one of the family. Catherine soon formed a close bond with Heathcliff, while Hindley treated him with disdain and became estranged from his family. Mrs. Earnshaw remained suspicious of Heathcliff, but he became Mr. Earnshaw's favorite. After Mrs. Earnshaw's death, two years post Heathcliff's arrival, Hindley was left with no allies.
As Mr. Earnshaw becomes weaker, he's fed up with the continuous strife between Heathcliff and Hindley and decides to send Hindley off to university. During his final days, Mr. Earnshaw becomes increasingly influenced by Joseph's fervent religious convictions. After Mr. Earnshaw passes away, Catherine and Heathcliff seek solace in spiritual beliefs. They ponder on the concept of afterlife while waiting for Hindley, who is set to become the new lord of Wuthering Heights.
Hindley and his superficial wife, Frances, come back to Wuthering Heights for Mr. Earnshaw’s burial. Hindley quickly seeks vengeance on Heathcliff by denying him education and assigning him fieldwork. Nevertheless, Catherine and Heathcliff manage to elude Hindley's attention most times, spending their free moments on the moors. A peculiar night sees Catherine and Heathcliff gone missing, prompting Hindley to lock the doors against them. Nelly, however, waits for their return but is taken aback when only Heathcliff comes back. He reveals their failed attempt to prank Edgar and Isabella Linton at Thrushcross Grange, which ended with Catherine's ankle bitten by the Linton's guard dog, Skulker. Catherine was ushered into the Grange due to her injury, but the Lintons, disgusted by Heathcliff’s crude look, refused him entry. The next day, Mr. Linton visits Wuthering Heights, chiding Hindley for his poor handling of Catherine. Post his visit, a disgraced Hindley forbids Heathcliff from seeing Catherine again.
After recovering at the Grange for five weeks, Catherine is transformed into a young lady by Mrs. Linton, who teaches her proper etiquette. Upon her return to Wuthering Heights during Christmas, Catherine appears refined and elegant. Hindley instructs Heathcliff to treat Catherine like a servant, which she echoes by comparing him unfavorably to the polished Linton children. Upset, Heathcliff resolves to remain unrefined, much to Catherine's dismay. The following day, the Linton children dine at Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff cleans up at Nelly's urging to prove he can behave, but Mrs. Linton insists he be kept away from Edgar and Isabella. Hindley enforces this by confining Heathcliff to the attic during dinner. However, an altercation ensues when Edgar mocks Heathcliff's hair, resulting in hot applesauce thrown in Edgar's face. Catherine is visibly upset by Hindley's harsh treatment of Heathcliff and pays him a visit post-dinner. Nelly releases Heathcliff, feeding him in the kitchen where he shares his vengeful plans against Hindley. Nelly then decides to pause her account due to the late hour. Despite this, Lockwood expresses a desire to stay up and encourages Nelly to continue her story in full.
Nelly fast-forwards her tale to summer 1778, months post the Lintons' visit and years before Lockwood's arrival. Frances delivers Hareton, her son, but didn't survive long due to childbirth complications and her chronic ailment. Hindley, burdened by grief, neglects the child, leaving Nelly to raise him. He drowns his sorrow in alcohol and vents his anger on servants, especially Heathcliff who rejoices in Hindley's misery. Catherine maintains her time with Edgar Linton, showcasing ladylike behavior. However, around Heathcliff, she remains her usual self. One day, in Hindley's absence, Heathcliff opts to spend his day with Catherine instead of working in the fields. Catherine, however, informs him about Edgar and Isabella's upcoming visit. When Heathcliff accuses her for investing too much time with Edgar, she calls him unsophisticated and boring. As Edgar arrives sans Isabella, Heathcliff leaves in a huff. Nelly's presence is unwelcome by Catherine who wishes to be left alone with Edgar. When Nelly remains adamant, Catherine physically assults her. Edgar witnesses Catherine's wild behavior and tries to intervene, only to be hit by her. He flees, unable to bear Catherine's temper, but is soon entranced by her beauty and returns. Nelly, leaving the lovebirds alone, only interrupts their privacy to inform about Hindley's drunken return. From their demeanor, Nelly deduces that Catherine and Edgar have confessed their love. Edgar quickly leaves to escape Hindley while Catherine withdraws to her room. Nelly, fearful of Hindley's unstable nature, hides Hareton and disables Hindley's gun.
While trying to protect Hareton from his father Hindley, Nelly is interrupted when Hindley barges in, drunkenly grabs, and accidentally drops Hareton. Fortunately, Heathcliff is present and catches Hareton. Later that night, Catherine confesses to Nelly in the kitchen that she has accepted Edgar's marriage proposal. Heathcliff, hidden from view, overhears their conversation. He listens as Catherine admits she can't marry Heathcliff due to his low social status. Overwhelmed by humiliation and anger, Heathcliff storms off, missing Catherine's confession of her profound love for him. Despite declaring that her connection with Heathcliff is more profound, she maintains her decision to marry Edgar. That same night, Heathcliff disappears from Wuthering Heights. A distraught Catherine spends the night in the rain looking for him, subsequently catching a fever and nearing death. The Lintons take her to Thrushcross Grange to recover, but both Mr. and Mrs. Linton contract the illness and die. Catherine recovers, and marries Edgar three years later. Nelly moves to Thrushcross Grange to work for Catherine, leaving Hareton with his alcoholic father and the lone servant, Joseph, at Wuthering Heights. Nelly concludes her story, noting the late hour and her need for sleep. Lockwood, who's been recording Nelly's tale in his diary, decides to retire for the night as well.
Lockwood falls ill following his harrowing ordeal at Wuthering Heights, spending a month in distress. When Heathcliff comes to see him, he impels Nelly Dean to tell him more about Heathcliff's history. Lockwood wants to understand how Heathcliff, once a scorned underdog, amassed his wealth and became the owner of both Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. Nelly admits she's clueless about the three-year period when Heathcliff was away and apparently accrued his fortune. She, however, consents to proceed with her narrative. Half a year into Catherine's wedlock with Edgar Linton, Heathcliff returns, stunning Nelly at Thrushcross Grange. Catherine is overjoyed to see him, causing Edgar to feel uneasy and envious. Heathcliff has matured into a refined, well-mannered man with an attractive physique, but his eyes still hint at his wild past. He reveals that Hindley invited him to reside at Wuthering Heights, which astonishes both Catherine and Nelly. Heathcliff explains how earlier that day he found Hindley playing cards with some unruly friends at Wuthering Heights. He joined the game and Hindley, impressed by his apparent wealth, invited him to come back. Catherine and Isabella start frequently visiting Wuthering Heights and Heathcliff reciprocates by going to the Grange. Isabella falls for Heathcliff who, despite clearly still loving Catherine, does nothing to dissuade her. Nelly, suspecting Heathcliff of harboring malicious intentions, decides to keep a close eye on him.
Nelly visits Wuthering Heights intending to speak to Hindley, but encounters Hareton instead who greets her with thrown stones and curse words. She learns from Hareton that Heathcliff has been teaching him to disrespect his father and has barred the curate, who wished to educate Hareton, from entering the premises. Heathcliff shows up and Nelly quickly leaves. The following day at the Grange, she sees Heathcliff embracing Isabella. Catherine interrogates Heathcliff about his feelings for Isabella in the kitchen, even offering to persuade Edgar to allow their marriage if Heathcliff genuinely loves Isabella. Heathcliff rejects this, blaming Catherine for his woes because she married Edgar and vows to seek revenge. Nelly alerts Edgar about the clash between Catherine and Heathcliff in the kitchen, causing Edgar to demand Heathcliff's departure from his property. When Heathcliff refuses, Edgar calls upon his servants for reinforcement. Catherine, however, locks herself, Heathcliff and Edgar in the kitchen, tossing the key into the fire, leaving Edgar to face Heathcliff without backup. Overwhelmed by fear and embarrassment, Edgar strikes Heathcliff in the throat and escapes through the garden. Fearing the physically superior Heathcliff, he hurries to get help, leading Heathcliff to retreat as he can't face three armed servants. Enraged, Edgar tells Catherine to make a choice between him and Heathcliff. Catherine doesn't respond, locks herself away, and stops eating for two days. Edgar also warns Isabella that if she continues to pursue Heathcliff, he will disown her from the Linton family.
Finally, Catherine allows the household staff to feed her. Seemingly delirious, she declares that she is on her deathbed and can't fathom why Edgar hasn't visited. Her ramblings revolve around her youthful days with Heathcliff at the moors and an evident fixation on death. Nelly, fearing that Catherine could fall sick due to the cold, doesn't permit her to open the window. However, Catherine musters the strength to open it, and from here, she imagines viewing Wuthering Heights. She declares that even post-death, her soul won't find peace until she reunites with Heathcliff. Edgar shows up and is taken aback by Catherine's frail appearance. Nelly goes to summon a doctor, who expresses reserved hope for her recovery. The same night, Isabella and Heathcliff run away together. Enraged, Edgar asserts that Isabella is his sister merely by title. However, he doesn't disinherit her, saying instead that she has estranged herself from him.
Catherine's illness leaves Edgar and Nelly nursing her for two months. Her health doesn't fully return, but she discovers her pregnancy. Six weeks into Isabella's marriage with Heathcliff, she writes Edgar a letter pleading for forgiveness. Edgar, however, turns a blind eye to her request. Consequently, she writes to Nelly, sharing the abuse she's suffering at Wuthering Heights, from Hindley, Joseph, and Hareton, and how Heathcliff is using her as a substitute for punishing Edgar, who he blames for Catherine's condition. Further in the letter, Isabella reveals Hindley's twisted fascination with Heathcliff, who is now in control of Wuthering Heights. Hindley is scheming to seize Heathcliff's riches. He even shows Isabella a gun with a blade attached, his intended weapon to kill Heathcliff. Realizing the gravity of her actions, she admits her huge mistake to Nelly and implores Nelly to come to Wuthering Heights where she resides with Heathcliff.
Nelly acquiesces to Isabella's plea and visits the mansion, but Edgar remains obstinate, rejecting his sibling's pleas for pardoning. Upon her arrival, Heathcliff urgently asks Nelly for updates about Catherine and inquires if he could visit her. Nelly firmly denies him entry to the Grange, leading to an infuriated Heathcliff threatening to confine Nelly at Wuthering Heights and visit Catherine unaccompanied. The fear of this scenario forces Nelly to agree to deliver a letter from Heathcliff to Catherine.
Nelly hands Heathcliff's letter over to a chronically ill Catherine four days after her visit to Wuthering Heights, making use of Edgar's absence during church time. Catherine's frailty prevents her from holding the letter, but the mere mention of Heathcliff's name stirs him into the room. Heathcliff and Catherine indulge in a passionate conversation where Catherine admits that both men have shattered her heart. She can't imagine dying while Heathcliff is alive and doesn't wish to separate from him. Catherine seeks his forgiveness, which he grants for the agony she inflicted on him. However, he refuses to pardon the torment she brought upon herself, accusing her of being her own murderer. The church service ends, and Edgar arrives home. Catherine implores Heathcliff not to go, and he complies, promising to stay. As Edgar rushes to Catherine's room, Nelly shrieks and Catherine collapses. Heathcliff holds her and thrusts her into Edgar's arms, insisting that Edgar address Catherine's needs before his fury. Nelly ushers Heathcliff out, assuring him of updates about Catherine's health the next day. Heathcliff intends to remain in the garden, wishing to be close to her.
Catherine prematurely gives birth to a baby girl, Cathy, at midnight and dies two hours afterwards. Nelly states that her spirit has returned to God. Heathcliff already seems aware of the tragic news when informed by Nelly. He bitterly blames Catherine for his suffering and begs her ghost to haunt him forever, in any form, even if it drives him insane, as long as she remains with him. Edgar stays by Catherine's corpse while Heathcliff prowls the garden outside. When Edgar steps away, Nelly allows Heathcliff some time alone with Catherine. Once he's gone, Nelly discovers that he's removed a lock of Edgar's hair from the locket around Catherine's neck and replaced it with his own. Nelly intertwines the two locks of hair and leaves them in the locket. Catherine's funeral is attended by everyone except Hindley, who was invited but did not show up, and Isabella, who was not invited. Contrary to village expectations, she is not buried in the Linton tomb or next to her relatives. Edgar requests that she be laid to rest in a section of the graveyard with a view of the beloved moors. Years later, Nelly informs Lockwood, Edgar is buried next to her.
Shortly after the burial, a breathless and hysterical Isabella shows up at Thrushcross Grange, looking for Nelly's assistance. She reveals the escalating violence between Hindley and Heathcliff. Hindley, who wanted to stay sober for Catherine’s burial, failed and began drinking instead. When Heathcliff was mourning by Catherine's grave, Hindley locked him out and plotted to kill him. Isabella tipped off Heathcliff about Hindley’s plot. Hindley, aiming to kill Heathcliff, was disarmed and wounded by him. Heathcliff broke into the house and seriously beat Hindley. The following day, the men clashed again fueled by Isabella reminding Hindley of Heathcliff's assault. Isabella escaped to Thrushcross Grange, seeking safety. Not long after meeting Nelly, Isabella departs for London, where she has Heathcliff’s son, Linton. Over the next twelve years, she keeps in touch with Nelly through letters. Heathcliff discovers his wife’s location and learns about his son, but chooses not to find them. Isabella passes away when Linton turns twelve. Half a year after Catherine’s passing, Hindley also dies. Nelly heads back to Wuthering Heights to arrange Hindley’s funeral and to bring Hareton to Thrushcross Grange. She finds out that Hindley died in serious debt and now Heathcliff, who had lent Hindley cash for his gambling addiction, owns Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff decides to raise Hareton himself and hints at retrieving his son Linton in the future. Therefore, Nelly informs Lockwood, Hareton’s life as a gentleman is replaced by being a humble, uneducated servant at Wuthering Heights, without friends or hope.
Cathy matures into a stunning, smart, yet stubborn and fiery 13-year-old girl at Thrushcross Grange. Her father, mindful of the nearby manor's troubled past, forbids her from leaving the Grange's grounds. Consequently, Cathy grows up oblivious about Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff, and Hareton. She yearns to explore the fairy caves at Penistone Crags, but her father prohibits it. When he learns of Isabella's impending death, he rushes to London to look after young Linton, leaving Cathy in Nelly's care. In his absence, Cathy escapes the Grange. She heads for Penistone Crags but pauses her journey at Wuthering Heights. Here, she encounters Hareton, to whom she immediately takes a liking. They spend an enchanting day by the crags. Nelly, tracking her down, tries to coax her back home, but Cathy resists. When Nelly disparages Hareton by revealing his status as not the master's son, Cathy scoffs at him. However, she's taken aback when Nelly discloses that Hareton is her cousin. Cathy disputes this, arguing that her cousin is in London, where her father has gone to fetch him. Nelly clarifies that one can have multiple cousins. Eventually, she convinces Cathy to return home, and Cathy pledges not to reveal the incident to her father, who could potentially fire Nelly out of fury for letting Cathy discover Wuthering Heights.
Edgar introduces his son, Linton, to the Grange, only for Cathy to be let down by his frail, feeble, and petulant demeanor. Soon after their arrival, Joseph shows up, revealing Heathcliff's intent to claim his son. Edgar assures him that Linton will be taken to Wuthering Heights the next day.
Nelly gets instructions to accompany the young boy to the Heights the next day. During the journey, she attempts to pacify Linton with comforting untruths about his dad. However, upon reaching there, Heathcliff shows no fake affection to his son. He derogatorily refers to Linton’s mom and asserts that Linton is his possession. Terrified, Linton begs Nelly not to abandon him with such a beast. Yet, Nelly climbs her horse and departs rapidly.
Cathy is heartbroken over Linton's abrupt departure. Nelly attempts to stay informed about young Linton by probing the Wuthering Heights' housekeeper whenever they cross paths in Gimmerton. She discovers that Heathcliff despises his weak son and can't stand being in his company alone. She also finds out that Linton remains weak and unwell. When Cathy turns sixteen, she and Nelly embark on a bird-hunting trip on the moors. Cathy vanishes momentarily, only for Nelly to locate her chatting with Heathcliff and Hareton. Cathy questions if she's met Hareton before and asks about Heathcliff's parental relationship with him. Heathcliff denies being Hareton's father but mentions he has a son at home. He invites Cathy and Nelly to visit Wuthering Heights. Despite Nelly's misgivings, curious Cathy is eager to meet the boy who she doesn't realize is her cousin Linton. During their visit, Heathcliff expresses his hope that Cathy and his son will eventually marry. Neither cousin recognizes the other due to drastic changes over three years. As Linton is too ill and self-absorbed to show Cathy around, she ends up exploring with Hareton, mocking his lack of literacy and education. Heathcliff orders Linton to follow them. Back at Thrushcross Grange, Cathy confronts her father about her hidden relatives. Edgar attempts to justify his actions, leading Cathy to understand his contempt for Heathcliff. Despite Edgar's plea to cut off contact with Linton, Cathy continues their secret correspondence. When Nelly stumbles upon their letters, she destroys them, disappointing Cathy. She sends a note to Wuthering Heights asking Linton to cease communications, but refrains from disclosing the relationship to Edgar.
Edgar's health deteriorates, leading to fewer interactions with Cathy. Nelly tries unsuccessfully to replace the affection Cathy once received from her father. During a winter garden stroll, Cathy's hat falls over a wall as she reaches for tree fruit. Despite Nelly's permission to retrieve it, Cathy struggles to climb back. In search of the gate key, Nelly encounters Heathcliff who chides Cathy for ending her interaction with Linton. Accusing her of trifling with Linton’s feelings, he persuades her to visit Linton, claiming he's heartbroken. Cathy, trusting Heathcliff, persuades Nelly to accompany her to Wuthering Heights the following day. Nelly complies, hoping Linton’s condition would prove Heathcliff's deception.
The next day, Cathy and Nelly venture through the rain to Wuthering Heights where they encounter Linton whining as usual. He broaches the subject of marriage with Cathy, causing her to react in frustration and push his chair. This leads Linton to claim that Cathy has harmed him and worsened his frail health. He manipulates her into feeling guilty and asks her to help him recover. After their journey home, Nelly realizes she has caught a cold from the rain. Cathy takes care of both her father and Nelly in the daylight, but at night, she starts to secretly venture out to be with Linton.
Nelly, having recovered, soon realizes Cathy's odd actions and finds out she's been frequenting Wuthering Heights. Cathy shares the tales of her evening visits with Nelly, including an interaction where Hareton shows that he can read his own name, etched by an old relative, above the manor’s gate. However, when probed if he can read the year—1500—etched below, he admits his limitation, resulting in Cathy mocking him. Infuriated, Hareton disrupts her time with Linton, forcing the frail lad upstairs. He tries to apologize later, but Cathy, still angry, brushes him off and heads home. On her next visit to Wuthering Heights, Linton accuses her of causing his embarrassment. She departs but returns after a couple of days to tell him she won't see him anymore. This upsets Linton and he pleads for her forgiveness. After hearing Cathy's explanation, Nelly spills Cathy’s secret to Edgar. Immediately, Edgar instructs her not to see Linton, but offers to have Linton over at Thrushcross Grange.
Nelly halts her narrative to clarify the timeline to Lockwood: it's only been just over a year since the events she recounted took place. She muses about him possibly falling for Cathy, which he admits is possible, albeit unlikely to be reciprocated. Regardless, he's captivated by the tale and urges her to continue, even though he must soon leave the moors. Cathy concedes to her father's request and ceases her secret meetings with Linton. Linton, too fragile for visits, doesn't come to the Grange. Edgar, perturbed about his daughter's future happiness and his estate's succession, expresses that he'd allow a marriage between Cathy and Linton if it would make her happy, even if this meant Heathcliff inheriting Thrushcross Grange. Edgar's and Linton's health are both rapidly deteriorating. In the end, Edgar permits Cathy to see Linton, not at Wuthering Heights, but on the moors, unaware that Linton is as sickly as he is.
Cathy and Nelly, hoping to rendezvous with Linton, are disappointed when they fail to locate him at the predetermined place. Instead, they find him nearby Wuthering Heights, looking feeble but trying to convince them that he is on the mend. The young man seems anxious and regularly glances nervously toward his house. By the time their visit concludes, Cathy promises to see Linton the subsequent Thursday. On the return journey, the two women express concern regarding Linton's health, but choose to withhold judgement until their next encounter.
Edgar's health rapidly declines over the week, causing concern for his daughter Cathy, who is persuaded to attend her planned meet with Linton on the moors, accompanied by Nelly. At their encounter, Linton, more apprehensive than usual, discloses Heathcliff's scheme of coercing him to woo Cathy, fearing Heathcliff's wrath if Cathy spurns him. The arrival of Heathcliff leads to an inquiry about Edgar's health. He fears that Edgar's demise might precede Linton's. Heathcliff persuades the hesitant Cathy and Nelly to accompany him to Wuthering Heights, despite Cathy's father forbidding it. However, Cathy complies due to Heathcliff's intimidation. At Wuthering Heights, the furious Heathcliff directs his anger at the terrified Linton. Once Cathy and Nelly are inside, Heathcliff locks them in and declares they cannot leave until Cathy marries Linton. Although Cathy is permitted to leave the locked room, Nelly is kept captive there for five days, with Hareton assigned to oversee her.
Zillah, the housekeeper, rescues Nelly, revealing that villagers believe she and Cathy have disappeared in Blackhorse Marsh. Nelly finds Linton in the house, who discloses that Cathy, his new wife, is locked up. Linton revels in their marriage as Cathy's belongings now belong to him due to Edgar's rapid decline. Nelly quickly returns to Thrushcross Grange to avoid Heathcliff. She reassures the gravely ill Edgar that Cathy is safe and will return soon. A rescue mission for Cathy fails, leading Edgar to revise his will to protect Cathy's inheritance from Heathcliff. As he calls Mr. Green, his attorney, to the Grange, Nelly spots a new arrival, Cathy, permitting Edgar to see his daughter one last time before his death, oblivious to her perilous situation. After Edgar's death, Mr. Green shows up and fires all servants except Nelly. He attempts to bury Edgar in the chapel, but Nelly ensures Edgar's will, which specifies his wish to be laid to rest beside his wife in the churchyard, is followed.
Shortly after the funeral, Heathcliff arrives at Thrushcross Grange to collect Cathy. He informs her that he's punished Linton for aiding her escape and that she will need to earn her keep at Wuthering Heights. Cathy retorts furiously that she and Linton share a love bond, no matter Linton's petulance. She claims that Heathcliff's loneliness fuels his cruelty, giving the young couple a sense of revenge as they know his misery surpasses theirs. During the packing, Nelly pleads with Heathcliff for Zillah’s job at Wuthering Heights to stay close to Cathy. Interrupting her, Heathcliff reveals that he had Catherine’s grave opened when Edgar's grave was being dug. He describes how he gazed at a still recognizable Catherine, stating that she wouldn’t decompose until he lay with her in their shared grave. He confesses to Nelly that he ordered the removal of one side of Catherine’s coffin, the side not next to Edgar. He plans to have the corresponding side of his coffin removed when he passes away so that they could merge in the ground. Nelly scorns Heathcliff for disturbing the dead. Heathcliff mentions that he has been haunted by Catherine's spirit every night for the past eighteen years but has been unable to touch her. As they depart, Cathy requests Nelly to visit her soon. However, Heathcliff forbids Nelly from visiting Wuthering Heights, stating he will visit her at Thrushcross Grange if he wishes to see her.
Nelly hasn't seen Cathy since she left, getting updates only from Zillah. Zillah shares that Heathcliff has been unkind to Cathy since her arrival. Cathy was left to care for Linton alone until his passing. Since then, Cathy's kept to herself, frequently clashing with Hareton. Nelly, anxious to assist Cathy, reveals to Lockwood her plan to have Cathy move in with her in a cottage she's rented, but realizes Heathcliff won't permit it. Nelly suggests that a new marriage could be Cathy's salvation but admits she can't orchestrate that. Lockwood, recording Nelly's narrative in his diary, declares that her tale has ended and he's recovering from his sickness. He intends to visit Wuthering Heights to tell Heathcliff that he's heading to London for half a year, suggesting Heathcliff find a new renter for the Grange. He is adamant about not wanting to endure another winter amongst these peculiar people.
Lockwood visits Wuthering Heights to terminate his lease at the Grange, carrying a message for Cathy from Nelly. Hareton initially snatches the letter, but returns it when Cathy starts sobbing. Hareton is grappling with reading and learning, while Cathy yearns for books, her own having been taken by Heathcliff. When Cathy ridicules Hareton's academic difficulties, he becomes angry, even though she insists she doesn't want to discourage his studies. Feeling humiliated, Hareton carelessly tosses his books into the flames. Upon his return, Heathcliff observes how Hareton strikingly resembles his aunt Catherine, an appearance he finds hard to endure. Lockwood dines with Heathcliff and Hareton, an uncheerful experience, before leaving the mansion. As he departs, he reflects on the gloomy atmosphere of the place and its melancholic inhabitants. He wonders how different things could have been if Cathy had fallen for him and escaped Wuthering Heights for a happier setting.
Half a year later, in September 1802, Lockwood revisits the moors, intending to meet Nelly at Thrushcross Grange. He finds she has returned to Wuthering Heights and heads there to catch up. He learns that Nelly has replaced Zillah, who has left the estate, thanks to Heathcliff. Cathy confesses to Nelly her remorse about ridiculing Hareton's reading efforts. One day, Hareton unintentionally injures himself and is confined indoors to recover. Although their initial interactions are hostile, they eventually reconcile and make peace. In a display of friendship, Cathy gifts Hareton a book, pledging to help him read and not to mock him any longer. According to Nelly, a strong bond of love and trust has developed between the two youngsters, and she eagerly anticipates their marriage as a day of immense joy.
The morning after Cathy gifts Hareton a book, she finds herself locked in a dispute with Heathcliff about her inheritance and relationship with Hareton. Heathcliff, in a sudden rage, grabs her and almost hits her. However, her face triggers memories of her mother, leading him to release her abruptly. Nelly believes this increased reminiscence of Catherine might be causing a shift in Heathcliff. She reveals that Heathcliff confided in her, expressing a dwindling interest in seeking revenge against Cathy and Hareton.
Heathcliff's life starts to spiral downwards as he isolates himself and hardly eats, eventually surviving on a single meal each day. Not long after an odd breakfast episode, he spends a whole night wandering and returns home in a state of strange, high-spirited energy. He shocks Nelly by claiming that he's seen hell but is now nearing heaven. Heathcliff refuses to eat and demands solitude in Wuthering Heights. He appears to converse with a phantom that Nelly cannot see. Heathcliff's actions become even more bizarre as he starts uttering Catherine’s name and reminding Nelly about his funeral wishes. Shortly after, Nelly discovers him lifeless. She informs Lockwood that Heathcliff has been laid to rest and that Cathy and Hareton are due to marry soon. They plan to tie the knot on New Year’s Day and relocate to Thrushcross Grange. Upon their return, Lockwood is overwhelmed with a strong urge to depart. He swiftly leaves through the kitchen, tossing a gold coin to Joseph in the process. He navigates his way across the wild moors and ends up at the churchyard, where he comes upon the graves of Edgar, Catherine, and Heathcliff. Despite local rumors of sighting Heathcliff's ghost accompanied by another spirit, Lockwood questions how anyone could envision disturbed rest for those buried in such peaceful soil.