Wuthering Heights Chapter 5 Summary

Instructor: Bryan Cowing

Bryan is a freelance writer who specializes in literature. He has worked as an English instructor, editor and writer for the past 10 years.

If you're reading 'Wuthering Heights' by Emily Bronte, you may find the language and many characters challenging to follow. In this summary, we will break down the important events from Chapter 5, including how Mr. Earnshaw's failing health affects the family.

Getting Up To Speed

In Chapter 5 we are still listening to Mrs. Dean tell her version of what happened in the Wuthering Heights household and why Heathcliff is so rude and mean. We also learn how annoyingly Mr. Earnshaw played favorites between his kids and his adopted son. In the previous chapter she explained that Heathcliff was brought into the house by Hindley and Catherine's father, Mr. Earnshaw. The kids were jealous of the attention Heathcliff received, and Heathcliff often threatened to tattle on them when they called him names or were cruel to him. Because of this, there was a lot of tension and anger between the three children.

Family Dynamics

Mr. Earnshaw gets older and sicker. He stays near the fire and is easily irritated. His irritation grows especially high when someone speaks negatively of Heathcliff. He seems to believe that ''because he liked Heathcliff, all hated, and longed to do him an ill-turn.'' This causes more harm than good to Heathcliff. Because the other people in the home do not want to upset Earnshaw, they often overlook Heathcliff's transgressions. This just makes him more spoiled and prideful, explains our narrator. Hindley treats Heathcliff badly, and because of this, Earnshaw sends Hindley off to school.

Joseph, the servant at Wuthering Heights, manipulates Earnshaw by convincing him to follow a strict religious viewpoint. This includes being harsher towards his children and worrying about the destiny of his soul. Joseph also tells Earnshaw that his daughter is always up to mischief with Heathcliff. In fact, Catherine likes hanging out with Heathcliff so much that according to Mrs. Dean, ''The greatest punishment we could invent for her was to keep her separate from him''

Naughty Catherine

Regardless of the punishment, Catherine continues to get in trouble. Even when she is getting scolded, she laughs it off and seems to enjoy getting under everyone's skin. In fact, explains Mrs. Dean, ''she was never so happy as when we were all scolding her at once, and she defying us with her bold, saucy look.'' After she behaves badly, she sometimes tries to make up for it before going to bed, but her dad tells her to instead ask God for forgiveness.

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