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Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte - Barron's Booknotes
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CHAPTER 21

- In this chapter Cathy meets Heathcliff for the first time. The
Thrushcross Grange character (Edgar) can shelter his daughter
from the Wuthering Heights side of life only so long,
especially since Cathy is a curious child who loves to wander
over the moors, much as her mother did.

The day that Heathcliff meets Cathy is her birthday, and the
anniversary of her mother's death. But you don't see Heathcliff
beating his head against a tree or throwing open a window to
cry to his beloved. It is Edgar, you are told, who stays alone for
hours by his dead wife's grave. The grief may be quiet, but it is
heart-rending.



NOTE: Heathcliff outlines his scheme to Ellen-that Cathy and
Linton will marry, thus consolidating Heathcliff's claim to the
two estates. You know from the beginning of the book that he
does in fact take possession of them, but he is not legally in the
right, despite what he says.

Thrushcross Grange-a large house, with a park and tenants-is
"entailed." This means that the possessor of the property has no
control over who will inherit it; succession has already been
worked out. In this case, the order of succession goes from the
male son (Edgar), to the son of the male son (none), to the
daughter (Isabella), to the son of the daughter (Linton). Linton
won't be able to leave the place to his father. Heathcliff will
claim it in his wife's name, but she never took possession, so
Cathy, as Edgar's daughter, has a greater legal claim to the
property.

Wuthering Heights is only a farmhouse, so inheritance is a
simpler matter. Hindley may have mortgaged every inch of
land he owned, and Heathcliff may be in possession as
mortgagee, but Hareton, as Hindley's son, is heir to the title.

So Heathcliff will be a usurper until the day he dies.

The personalities of the younger generation become
increasingly defined. When Heathcliff brings Cathy back to
Wuthering Heights, you see that Linton has become selfish and
ill-natured. The only time Linton shows any animation,
according to Ellen, is when he mocks Hareton for not knowing
how to read. Hareton may have enjoyed hanging puppies as a
boy, but he doesn't seem so bad now. He may be rude and
rough but he is sensitive, and he is more than willing to show
Cathy around the property. Cathy's reaction, when forbidden to
write to Linton, is to slap Ellen-a reaction that should remind
you of her mother. Remember how the elder Cathy resorted to
pinching and slapping in Chapter 8? Yet whatever the
similarities between the two, Cathy doesn't have her mother's
grasp of character. She writes to Linton, and when she's found
out, she announces that she's in love with him. In love? When
the elder Cathy said she was in love with Edgar, she at least
knew the boy. Her daughter's declaration of love reminds you
more of Isabella's infatuation with Heathcliff.

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Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte - Barron's Booknotes
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