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Conclusion of Wuthering Heights: Chapters 31-34

Instructor: Ian Matthews

Ian teaches college writing and has a Master's in Writing and Publishing

Nelly is finally finished with her story, and Lockwood is ready to leave the moors for good in the last four chapters of Emily Bronte's 'Wuthering Heights'. Let's jump in and see how the story wraps up.

Chapter 31: Back to the Heights

Nelly is finally done talking, and it's the next day. Lockwood has heard enough to know that it's time for him to leave the moors, even though he's rented Thrushcross Grange. Like he did at the beginning of the novel, Lockwood heads up to Wuthering Heights and finds the gate locked. He gets Hareton to open it for him; Hareton tells Lockwood that Heathcliff will be back for dinner.

In the meantime, Lockwood catches up with Cathy. She doesn't remember him. He gives her a note from Nelly, but she can't write back because she doesn't have any paper. Hareton is hoarding her books and writing supplies in his room. When she makes fun of him for being dumb and illiterate, Hareton chucks the books into the fireplace. Then it's dinnertime.

After Dinner

At dinner, Lockwood tells Heathcliff that he's heading back to London, but he'll still rent the Grange for the length of his lease. On his way back to Thrushcross Grange, Lockwood fantasizes about what might have been if he and Cathy had hit it off -- romance, moving into town, the works.

Chapter 32: Some Time Later

A few months later, Lockwood is back in the area. He drops in to see what's going on at Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering Heights. He finds that Nelly has moved up to the Heights, and he goes to visit. There, he sees a house transformed: the gate is open, the house is well-lit and cheery, and Cathy is teaching Hareton to read. They look like they actually like each other as they head out for a walk. Lockwood finds Nelly next.

Nelly explains that she came to live at the Heights when Zillah, the last maid, moved away. She starts to catch him up on the news. Most importantly: Heathcliff is dead. Nelly explains, in her own roundabout way, as her narrative flashes back to Lockwood's departure from the moors a few months ago.

The Beginning of the (Happy) End

Right after Lockwood leaves the moors, Heathcliff asks Nelly to move back up to the Heights. Hareton and Cathy are still at each other's throats, but she's clearly interested in him. This is when she starts teaching him how to read. Later, an accident with his gun injures Hareton, and Cathy helps him recover. Their relationship really starts to get going at that point. Here, Nelly interrupts herself to spoil the ending: Cathy and Hareton are getting married soon! Back to the flashback.

Chapter 33: Flashback Continued

Nelly jumps back into the story of Cathy and Hareton's relationship. They dig up some of Joseph's prized plants, so he's mad at them, and he's going to tattle to Heathcliff. He does so, and Heathcliff yells at them for touching the property.

Cathy shoots right back at him -- he stole everything from her, and he stole everything from Hareton, so Joseph's plants deserve what they got and worse. Heathcliff works himself into a rage, but ultimately calms down and everybody leaves.

Heathcliff: A Changed Man

Later, Heathcliff walks in on Cathy and Hareton reading together. They brace for another meltdown, but instead Heathcliff just seems defeated. The two young people's resemblance to Catherine Earnshaw is too much for Heathcliff, and it takes the wind right out of his sails.

He admits to them that he just doesn't have the same desire for vengeance in him as he used to; right when he's about to act on his rage, he just loses his motivation. He later tells Nelly that Hareton's resemblance to Catherine sticks in his mind all the time, and he doesn't even have a desire to eat or drink anything. All he wants is for it all to be over, to be able to join Catherine in death. Talk about a downer.

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