Wuthering Heights Chapters 23-26 Summaries

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

As Linton and Edgar both become more sickly, Heathcliff grows more insistent on encouraging a relationship between Cathy and Linton. In this lesson, we will learn more about Chapters 23-26 of 'Wuthering Heights' by Emily Bronte.

Obsession and Revenge

At this point in the story, we are learning about the second generation that Nelly, the servant, has cared for at Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. Nelly grew up with Catherine, Heathcliff, and Hindley at Wuthering Heights, but transferred to Thrushcross Grange after Catherine married Edgar. Heathcliff, Catherine's adopted brother, and Catherine loved each other, but she chose to marry Edgar for his social standing, resulting in Heathcliff's heartbreak, obsession, and desire for revenge. After Catherine dies, Heathcliff wishes for Catherine's daughter, Cathy, to be with his son, Linton . However, Cathy's father, Edgar, hates Heathcliff because he recognizes that Heathcliff has gotten his vengeance against Edgar by hurting the people Edgar loves, such as his sister Isabella, Linton's mother. At the end of Chapter 22, Cathy convinces Nelly to take her to Wuthering Heights to visit Linton after Heathcliff claims he is dying of heartbreak. Let's find out what happens in Chapters 23-26 of Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.

Chapter 23

What do you think Cathy will find when she arrives at Wuthering Heights? Nelly and Cathy travel to Wuthering Heights in the rain to visit Linton, assured that Heathcliff is not there. Linton appears ill and is temperamental. Although he is happy to see Cathy, Linton spends a great deal of time complaining that Hareton, Joseph, and Zillah are not taking proper care of him. Linton admits to missing Cathy, but whines that she hasn't visited him sooner: '…And papa swore it was owing to me: he called me a pitiful, shuffling, worthless thing; and said you despised me…'

Cathy says she loves Linton as a brother. Linton would prefer that she love him as her husband. Cathy claims that the love of a sibling is better than marriage, using Heathcliff's treatment of Isabella as an example. This begins an argument over what each of their fathers have said about the other. When Linton claims that Cathy's mother loved Heathcliff, Cathy pushes him. Her shove begins a long, frightening coughing fit. Linton claims that it is Cathy who hurt him. Using the incident to play at Cathy's guilt, Linton begs Cathy to return to visit him.

By the next morning, Nelly has become ill. Cathy cares for Nelly and Edgar during the day, but then begins running off to Wuthering Heights to care for Linton in the evening.

Chapter 24

Nelly is bedridden for three weeks before she feels well enough to move around the house. For the next three nights, Nelly asks Cathy to read to her and keep her company in the evening. She is surprised by Cathy's impatience and how each evening she finds reasons to excuse herself. Why doesn't Cathy want to be with Nelly? On the third night, Nelly goes to check on her and finds her missing.

When Nelly catches Cathy arriving on a horse, the confrontation reveals that Cathy has been traveling to Wuthering Heights to tend to Linton each evening. Some of the visits are fun and pleasant, while other visits are tense, mostly because Cathy is more adventurous, while Linton is more serious.

On one visit, Cathy has a confrontation with Hareton, Hindley's son who has been poorly raised by Heathcliff since his father's death. Hareton is proud to show her that he can read, but when he can't identify numbers, Cathy calls him a 'dunce.' Out of anger towards Cathy, Hareton bursts into the room where Linton is resting and knocks him off the couch, ordering him to go to his own room. In Linton's anger, he begins to cough blood.

As Cathy leaves, Hareton grabs Cathy's horse and tries to apologize, but out of fear, she hits Hareton with her whip and gallops home. As a result, Cathy stays home for the next couple of nights. When she returns to Wuthering Heights the third night, Linton won't speak to her. When he does speak, Linton blames Cathy for the entire incident with Hareton. After staying home for a night, Cathy returns to Linton to tell him goodbye, but he apologizes and they reconcile.

Nelly decides to tell Edgar about Cathy's secret meetings with Linton. Edgar forbids Cathy from returning to Wuthering Heights, but writes Linton to let him know he is welcome to visit Cathy at the Grange. Will Linton come to Cathy?

Chapter 25

There is a break in the story as Nelly returns to the present to explain to Lockwood that all of this happened last year. She inquires as to Lockwood's feelings for Cathy. Lockwood admits that he is attracted to Cathy, but does not think she could feel the same about him.

When she returns to the story, Nelly narrates that Edgar asks her for her honest opinion of Linton. She admits that he is unlike his father and weak enough that Cathy could control him, but he is so sickly that he will likely never make it to adulthood. Edgar laments that he knows he himself is dying and is concerned that he prefers to leave Cathy alone rather than have her used by Heathcliff through Linton, a man who is not strong enough to care for her. Nelly promises to care for Cathy if Edgar dies.

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