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Wuthering Heights Chapters 27-30 Summaries

Instructor: Ian Matthews

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

Things get dark in Chapters 27-30 of Emily Bronte's novel 'Wuthering Heights.' We start with Heathcliff locking Cathy, Nelly, and Linton in the Heights while Edgar is on his deathbed, and everything spirals from there. Here's how it happens.

Chapter 27: Linton's Proposal

When Nelly picks up her narrative at the beginning of Chapter 27, Edgar's condition deteriorates steadily over the course of a week. Cathy is in a bad state, faced with the possibility of losing her father and being left alone on the moors with Heathcliff and Linton.

One day, Linton shows up unexpectedly. Catherine berates him for standing around creepily, and he breaks down and reveals the truth: Heathcliff is going to kill Linton if he can't get Catherine to marry him. Heathcliff himself shows up and asks Cathy for help getting Linton up to the Heights, as the boy has collapsed in fear. She says Edgar won't let her, but Linton can't go without her, so she accepts.

Locked In

When Cathy, Nelly, Linton, and Heathcliff get back to Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff locks the door. He tells Nelly, 'Had I been born where laws are less strict and tastes less dainty, I should treat myself to a slow vivisection of those two, as an evening's amusement.' Creepy. Cathy tries to battle Heathcliff for the key, but he slaps her and locks her and Nelly in a bedroom, promising that he'll be Cathy's father-in-law by morning. Linton is no help, and in the morning Heathcliff takes Cathy away, leaving Nelly locked in the room by herself.

Chapter 28: Four Days Later

Four days later, Zillah, the servant at the Heights, lets Nelly out of the room. Everybody's surprised to see her -- they thought she was dead and sunk to the bottom of the moors. Downstairs, Nelly finds Linton laying around. He tells her that Cathy is locked away upstairs, and he doesn't care. Heathcliff has told Linton that Cathy only wants his money now that they're married, and Linton hates her for it.

Heathcliff is outside talking to the doctor during all this, and Nelly goes out to find them. The doctor tells her that Edgar doesn't have long to live, so she rushes to his side.

The Death of Edgar

Edgar realizes that he needs to make sure his will lets Catherine inherit his property, keeping the houses, money, and land out of Linton and Heathcliff's hands. He sends Nelly to get the lawyer, Mr. Green, but he can't come until morning. With Linton's help, Cathy finally escapes the Heights. She comes down to see Edgar, and he dies peacefully.

Green only shows up after Edgar is dead -- too late to change anything. Linton will inherit everything. Green fires all the servants at Thrushcross Grange except Nelly.

Chapter 29: Heathcliff Takes Over

The day after Edgar's funeral, Cathy and Nelly are in the library at Thrushcross Grange. Cathy hopes she can stay there to tend to the house with Nelly, but in roars Heathcliff. He establishes himself as the new master of both houses and says Cathy has to stay at Wuthering Heights instead, because he wants to rent out the Grange.

Heathcliff and Cathy have an argument about this idea, and he tells her that Linton wishes he could be an abusive husband. If only he were stronger, he'd be just as bad as Heathcliff, he thinks. Cathy tells Heathcliff that nobody loves him and nobody will cry when he dies, and he takes over the narrative to tell Nelly a story about Catherine, his one love.

The Ghost of Catherine

The day before this confrontation, Heathcliff bribed the sexton (an old term for a gravedigger or church custodian) to dig up Catherine's body, so he could see her again. He also bribed the sexton to bury him next to Catherine in the grave upon his own death. He's not afraid of disturbing the dead, because Catherine has been haunting him since the day she died.

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