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Wuthering Heights Chapter 7 Summary & Analysis

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 7 of ''Wuthering Heights'', Catherine returns to Wuthering Heights as a proper young lady, and Heathcliff tries to become a gentleman, but that doesn't last long after Hindley and Edgar Linton continue to insult him.

Nature and Society

Chapter 7 of Wuthering Heights focuses on the conflict between nature and society. Catherine leaves behind her tomboyish, moor-romping ways to become a proper young lady. Heathcliff tries to do the same, but his unpolished nature and temper come through, much to the detriment of Edgar Linton, and possibly Hindley as well, sometime down the road.

'Make Me Decent'

Catherine comes back to Wuthering Heights five weeks after being attacked by the dog at Thrushcross Grange. It's been a lonely five weeks for Heathcliff, who continues to get abuse from Hindley and Frances and doesn't have Catherine to comfort him.

But Catherine has changed. She's no longer the tomboy who spent her time exploring the moors with Heathcliff. The Lintons have helped groom her into a prim and proper lady. There is now a clear contrast between her and the unkempt Heathcliff, and he continues to get treated like the servant.

The Lintons are invited to dinner at Wuthering Heights, and Nelly Dean makes it her goal to clean up Heathcliff. He fights her at first, but then relents and asks her to 'make me decent.' Nelly cleans Heathcliff up and teaches him proper manners, and warns him to be careful around Edgar Linton. Edgar is far smaller and weaker than Heathcliff.

Despite his extreme makeover, Heathcliff is still kept away from the dinner guests by Hindley, who treats him like a servant and calls him names. But when Edgar joins in the name-calling, Heathcliff throws a bowl of hot applesauce in his face (ouch!). Hindley then literally sends Heathcliff to his room without his supper.

Meanwhile, at the dinner party, Catherine seems very moody. One minute, she's joining in the conversation and showing what a witty, charming woman she has become. The next, she's sulking in the stairwell.

When Heathcliff comes out of his room, he swears to Nelly that he's going to take revenge on Hindley for humiliating him. Things are about to get interesting. At this point, Nelly, as the narrator, tries to skip ahead a few years but Lockwood, who is listening to the story, insists she tell him everything. She says she is now up to the summer of 1778, 23 years before she is telling the story in 1801.

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