Wuthering Heights Chapter 11 Summary

Instructor: David Boyles

David has a Master's in English literature and is completing a Ph.D. He has taught college English for 6 years.

In Chapter 11 of ''Wuthering Heights'', the love square between Heathcliff, Catherine, Edgar, and Isabella starts to come to a head as Heathcliff puts the moves on Isabella and Edgar gives Catherine an ultimatum.

Chapter 11 Summary

In Chapter 11 of Wuthering Heights, the intertwined relationships between Catherine, Heathcliff, Edgar and Isabella start to get even more complicated.

But before we get there, we open with Nelly who, while out walking the moors, is overcome with dread. She fears something horrible is happening at Wuthering Heights and in particular to young Hareton. Returning to the house, she discovers that Hareton has, in fact, seemingly gone crazy. He is cursing and violent and just in general has become a demon. The fact that he calls Hindley 'Devil Daddy' might give a hint as to the cause.

Meanwhile. back down at Thrushcross Grange, Heathcliff is becoming a more frequent visitor and has started actively courting Isabella. This does not sit well with Catherine, but Heathcliff tells her off. He says Catherine has no right to object after how she has treated him. He swears nothing will get in the way of his revenge on those of who have wronged him. Though he reassures Catherine that she is not one of them.

While this conversation is going on, Edgar shows up and tells Heathcliff to get out of his house. When Heathcliff refuses, Edgar threatens to summon some men to remove him. This less than manly display causes Catherine to call Edgar a coward and say he deserves to be beaten down by Heathcliff.

Having stepped into the middle of marital trouble, Heathcliff realizes it is time to take off. After he has gone, Edgar tells Catherine she needs to choose between him and Heathcliff. Since Catherine claims to have no feelings for Heathcliff, this throws her into a rage and she locks herself in her room.

Chapter 11 Analysis

The most important element in this chapter is how Catherine is lying to herself about her feelings for Heathcliff. She claims to be angry at Heathcliff's seduction of Isabella because she is too good for him and he is only using her in his revenge plot. But it is clear that she is also upset to see his attention directed at another woman, though they have had no relationship for years (oh yeah, and she's married).

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