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Free Study Guide-Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte-Free BookNotes
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Chapter 6


Hindley comes to his father's funeral with a young new wife, whose name is Frances. At first she shows a great affection for Catherine, but the attachment soon fades. She also expresses her dislike for Heathcliff, an animosity which serves to heat up the old hatred Hindley feels for him. He begins to treat Heathcliff like a servant, preventing him from taking lessons with the curate and insisting that he should work out in the fields. Since he can no longer go to school, Catherine teaches Heathcliff what she learns in class. Amazingly, Heathcliff seems to bear his degradation quite well. Both he and Catherine forget all their troubles the moment they are together.

One Sunday evening, Catherine and Heathcliff are turned out of the sitting room for making some mischief. Hindley orders the servants to bolt the doors and not let them back in the house during the night. Nelly, however, stays up and decides to let them in quietly when she hears them. After a long time, Heathcliff returns alone. He and Cathy have gone across the moors to Thrushcross Grange. As they watched the Linton children through a window, they were attacked by a watchdog, which bites Cathy's ankle. She is taken into the house and looked after by the servants. Heathcliff is sent away. Nelly warns him that Hindley will now take drastic action.

On the following day, Mr. Linton comes from the Grange to Wuthering Heights. He lectures Hindley for his lack of control over his sister and Heathcliff. Although he is not beaten, Heathcliff is told that the next time he speaks a word to Cathy, he will be sent away. Hindley also instructs his wife to restrain Cathy without using force; he is fully aware that force will only make it all the more impossible to control a strong-willed girl like Cathy.


The main events in this chapter are the return of Hindley to the Heights and the misadventure of Cathy and Heathcliff at the Grange. When Hindley comes to his father's funeral, he brings his wife, Frances, home with him to take up residence. She is described as thin and frail, even though she is a young, fresh- complexioned lady with sparkling eyes. She does not seem to be the kind of woman who would cause any disturbance; in fact, she at first feels delighted with everything at Wuthering Heights. Soon, however, she begins to dislike both Cathy and Heathcliff. Spurred on by his wife's feelings, Hindley immediately begins to abuse Heathcliff, refusing to let him be taught by the curate and making him work in the fields like a servant. Although Heathcliff appears to accept his degradation, he is slowly beginning to develop vengeful feelings towards his tormentor, which will be acted upon later in the novel.

One night Hindley sends Catherine and Heathcliff out of the house for being annoying. He tells the servants not to re-admit them for the whole night. As a result, the two of them walk over the moors to the Grange and spy through a window into the Lintons' drawing room. There they see Edgar and Isabella Linton fighting with each other over the possession of a lap dog. Seeing the two spying on them, the Lintons let loose a bulldog, and Catherine is bitten and must be taken into the house. The Lintons send Heathcliff away, judging him to be a wicked boy, quite unfit for a decent household. When he arrives back at Wuthering Heights, Nelly ignores Hindley's orders and admits Heathcliff, who tells her what has happened to Catherine.

It is important to note that, with the exception of Cathy and the dead Mr. Earnshaw, nobody at the Heights or at the Grange has taken kindly to this gypsy boy whom Earnshaw had brought home and on whom he used to dote. Even Nelly's opinion of Heathcliff is not favorable, although she treats him kindly.

It is also important to note the introduction of Edgar and Isabella Linton in this chapter; neither is pictured in a favorable light. Ironically, Catherine will marry Edgar, and Heathcliff will marry Isabella in spite of the fact that they will always really love one another. As a result, their respective marriages will be unhappy and tormented.

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