Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Length: 750 pgs.
Genre: Classics
Rating: 4 stars

There are some books that I just have to sit with after reading them before I write about them in order to think about what I thought of the book. Anna Karenina was definitely one of those books. Admittedly though, this is a book that is hard to write about without giving spoilers. The format for this review will be a little different. First are some little tidbits about the book and then after that I will share some of my thoughts.

📚 Anna Karenina has been called the psychological novel of the 19th century. After reading it, I can see why it has been described as such.

📚 Anna Karenina and War and Peace are considered Tolstoy’s masterpieces.

📚 Doestoyevsky called it “a perfect creation.”

📚 This novel is primarily focused on two love stories: one an adulterous affair and the other a love story characterized by mutual, growing love and understanding.

📚 The opening line says a lot and sets the stage for what is to come. It says: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” (p. 5)

At times frustrating, at times moving, at times shocking, at times immensely sad…this novel can take you through a gamut of emotions as you get lost into the lives of the characters. Tolstoy crafted some very complex characters in two sweeping love story story-lines that captivate you and keep you reading. Admittedly, there were a couple of sections that were slower for me to get through, such as pages of political discussions amongst his characters and such. But that in no way detracted from the story. This is definitely a book to discuss with other readers; which means it makes a great book club pick.

War and Peace by Tolstoy – Volume 1, Part 1

Yesterday, I was thinking that I might sort of blog my way through my reading of War and Peace. Sort of like a more in-depth journaling but in digital form. I found that I had quite a few thoughts on Part I this week, and to try to handwrite all that out in my reading journal was, well….. let’s just say it was a bit overwhelming to be honest. For some reason, typing things out seems less daunting. I also thought others might like to share this journey, adding their thoughts and comments along the way if they’ve already read War and Peace. Or if you want to read it, feel free to join me! So I created this little graphic above and plan to journal my thoughts here as I go.

This is my second time reading Tolstoy’s masterpiece War and Peace and I am reading it with a lovely group of people over on Instagram. I shared in a previous post how the first time I read it, I found it to just be okay. But that now, I feel like I am able to really soak in Tolstoy’s beautiful writing in this book. And that is totally panning out to be true. Part I draws you right into the story. Yes, there are a TON of characters introduced. But I am finding that my annotation of the characters this time around helps with that (I’m doing it a bit differently this time around since I’ve already read the book before and had a character list then). I am going to be completely honest with you. I don’t remember a lot about the storyline from my first time reading this book. I remember some of these characters to some extent, but I don’t really remember much of what happens. So it really is kind of like reading it for the first time, just with some memory of things here and there.

I already have some reactions to some of the characters.

Pierre – Ok. I’m a Pierre fan already. There is just something about him that I love. I hope this continues to remain true throughout the book!

Prince Andrey – Yeah. No. I can’t stand him. Sorry. He has this mix of arrogance with his clear disdain for his wife that just utterly rubs me the wrong way. Now, I will preface this by saying that I hope his character will evolve and change as the novel progresses. I can’t remember if it does.

Princess Anna Mikhaylovna – I find my feelings to be a bit mixed about her. She is doing what she feels she needs to do to make sure her son gets a better place in society, in a job, etc. But I also can see how she was probably somewhat annoying to those around her. So I guess my feelings are a mix between sympathy, annoyance, yet also seeing her to be a strong woman. Pretty complicated…..

Vera Rostov– What is up with Vera? I think the jury is out on her right now. She initially seems to be pretty haughty and not very nice. But I have a sneaky suspicion there’s more to her than we might think.

Princess Marya Bolkonsky – I think she is an interesting character. At times, she feels very much like she has this religiously holier-than-thou attitude. And that’s something that is off putting. But then as you read, there is a humbleness to her. And she is very forgiving and gracious and kind. I really appreciated how she approached her brother Prince Andrey about how he was with his wife and tried to help him understand what it must be like for his wife. So I’m thinking she might turn out to be a character I am going to really like.

If you notice, Tolstoy does not write one-dimensional characters. We see how these characters are multi-faceted. That’s what I’m noticing about how Tolstoy writes his characters….very layered and complex. Very realistic. Isn’t that true of all people? Aren’t we all layered and multi-dimensional? Tolstoy captures this SO well.

Some friendships I took note of:

Pierre and Prince Andrey – They seem to have a good friendship. Pierre obviously holds Prince Andrey in high regard. I will be watching to see if any more is revealed about their friendship.

Princess Anna Mikhaylovna and Countess Rostov – I thought there was such a touching scene that showed the bond these two women had. In Ch. 15 it says: “Anna Mikhaylovna’s arms were round her. She was weeping, and the countess wept too. They wept for their friendship, their kindheartedness and the unfortunate need for lifelong friends to soil their hands with anything as sordid as money, and they wept also for their lost youth…But the tears of both women were sweet…” (p. 61)

By the end of Part I, I was completely swept up into the story. But I am not so sure about entering Part II and feeling the same way. Because Part II switches to the war and the battlefield. I didn’t particularly care for those portions of the book my first time reading it and they quickly became a slog for me to read through. It will be interesting to see how it will be this time around!

My Classics Club TBR

I just went through my Classics List page here on the blog to update it. I have read a number of them on my list this year but hadn’t marked them off. I also need to do some book reviews as well. Anyhoo, as I went through and got those marked, I noticed that I have actually read a lot of them on my list now. Yay! But I have also added many more to my classics TBR in my reading journal. So I set about to organize my classics page.

As I set about to organize my classics TBR list, I decided to join The Classics Club. You make a list of at least 50 classics that you’d like to read and set a time frame to read them in. I have certainly read a number of classics in the last few years so I think this challenge is do-able for me. This will be a goal – goal to get these books read in the time frame, goal to write a review of each one. But I have learned to say this is a goal – not an absolute. So I will be do my best to read each book and write about each one.

My classics list is longer than 50 books since this is my ever-evolving list of classics I’d like to read. I know I will likely continue to add to this list. AND I imagine I will start to read some and not like them and so set them aside. I want to leave room for the list to flex. As that list flexes, my goal for The Classics Club will be to read 50 of the classics from this list in 5 years.

I will be making this post a page on the menu bar above and that will be my landing page for this Classics Club challenge. I will come link my reviews of each book once each one is read.

Ok. So first, a few notes about my list.

  • What deems a book a classic in regards to how old it is seems to be inconclusive. For me, I usually consider anything 50 years or older a classic. However, my understanding is that as long as it’s 25 years or older, it can be considered classic. So my list will have titles that are at least 25 years old.
  • When I finish reading a title, I will write the finish date next to the title.
  • When I finish reading a title, I will link my review of it here. Each linked review will also be added to my new Book Reviews page.
  • If I give the book a star rating, I will put that star rating next to the title as well as in the review post. (See my Star Rating Explained page for how I use star ratings.)
  • If I DNF (do not finish) a book, I will strike through the title on the list. I may still do a post about why I DNF’d it. If so, instead of striking through it, I will link it and write “DNF” next to the title.
  • Some books are books I want to re-read. They are listed separately.

For now, I am just listing the books so I can this post posted. I plan to come back and work on organizing this list more as I have time. 🙂 Without further ado, here we go!

Date Started: November 1, 2021 (Yes, I’m a couple days late getting my post up!)

Date to Finish By: November 1, 2026

1 – The Innocence of Father Brown by G. K. Chesterton

2 – Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

3 – The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

4 – The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde (play)

5 – The War of the World by H. G. Wells

6 – Our Town by Thornton Wilder (play)

7 – My Antonia by Willa Cather

8 – O Pioneers by Willa Cather

9 – My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell

10 – The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

11 – Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

12 – Mama’s Bank Account by Kathryn Forbes

13 – Cold Comfort Farm by Stell Gibbons

14 – Paradise Lost by John Milton

15 – 1984 by George Orwell

16 – I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

17 – The Pearl by John Steinbeck

18 – The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain

19 – The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

20 – The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

21 – The Odyssey by Homer

22 – Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia by Samuel Johnson

23 – The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

24 – Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

25 – Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

26 – Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

27 – A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

28 – The Warden by Anthony Trollope

29 – The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope

30 – A Room with a View by E. M. Forster

31 – Our Friend Manso by Benito Pérez Galdos

32 – Middlemarch by George Eliot

33 – The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo

34 – Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

35 – Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev

36 – The Wonderful O by James Thurber

37 – The Makioka Sisters by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki

38 – A Lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich

39 – Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset

40 – The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

41 – Under the Net by Iris Murdoch

42 – The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë

43 – Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë

44 – Vera by Elizabeth von Arnim

45 – Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier

46 – The Birds by Daphne Du Maurier

47 – The Glimpses of the Moon by Edith Wharton

48 – Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

49 – Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

50 – Far from the Maddening Crowd by Thomas Hardy

51 – La Reine Margot by Alexandre Dumas

52 – The Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas

53 – The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

54 – Resurrection by Leo Tolstoy

55 – A Dog’s Heart by Mikhail Bulgakov

56 – Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome

57 – Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens

58 – Lorna Doone by R. D. Blackmore

59 – A Man for All Seasons by Robert Bolt

60 – One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Isaevich Solzhenitsyn

61 – Good Morning, Miss Dove by Frances Gray Patton

62 – The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton

63 – All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

64 – The School for Scandal by Richard Sheridan

65 – Faust, Book I by Johann Wolfgang Goethe

66 – Everyman, a Morality Play

67 – The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni

68 – Kon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl

69 – In Freedom’s Cause by G. A. Henty

70 – The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emmuska Orczy

71 – Out of the Silent Planet by C. S. Lewis

72 – Perelandra by C. S. Lewis

73 – That Hideous Strength by C. S. Lewis

74 – The House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne

75 – Greenmantle by John Buchan

76 – Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Alexander Brown

77 – Silas Marner by George Eliot

78 – Isaac Bickerstaff by Richard Steele

79 – Days with Sir Roger Coverley by Richard Steele

80 – Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

81 – A Tale of a Tub by Jonathan Swift

82 – Battle of the Books by Jonathan Swift

83 – The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith

84 – The Age of Revolution by Winston Churchill

85 – The Great Democracies by Winston Churchill

Short Stories

1 – My Kinsman, Major Molineux by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1832)

2 – Young Goodman Brown by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1835)

3 – The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allen Poe (1839)

4 – The Overcoat by Nikolai Gogol (1842)

5 – A Simple Heart by Gustave Flaubert (1877)

6 – The Grand Inquisitor by Fyodor Dostoevsky (1880)

7 – The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant (1884)

8 – How Much Land Does a Man Need? by Leo Tolstoy (1886)

9 – The Open Boat by Stephen Crane (1897)

Re-Reads

1 – War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

2 – Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

3 – At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon

4 – The Giver by Lois Lowry

5 – North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

6 – Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

7 – The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

8 – The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Doestoevsky

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Dracula by Bram Stoker
Length: 336 pgs.
Genre: Classics, Gothic Literature
Rating: 4 stars

Dracula was a book that took me by surprise when I first read it several years ago. At that time, I didn’t have a whole lot of interest in it or in vampire literature or vampire movies in general. However, my hubby and another friend said they were surprised how much they liked the novel Dracula; and my husband even described it as frighteningly good. So I decided to read it and was surprised at how much I liked it! My husband was right….it was frighteningly good! After reading Dracula that first time, I went on to watch the Twilight movies and have read the first three books in that series. My husband and I now watch the Twilight movies every October. 🙂 And I have also read The Vampyre by John Polidori. I credit my first reading of Dracula as springing me forward into the whole vampire genre.

This October, I re-read Dracula again and found that it definitely stood up to a re-reading. In fact, I liked it even more this second time around.

The book is yes, about a vampire. But it is also about themes such as sin and redemption. It is also very classically gothic. You have the dark, deteriorating castle. The ominous, foggy, atmosphere outside. The supernatural in the form of the vampire. The coffin. The creepy crypt. The woman in distress. The mystery, suspense, horror, fear of the unknown, entrapment, isolation. All of these are present in this novel.

The novel is written in the epistolary format – written in the form of diary entries and letters. I love the epistolary style of writing and I think it works really well in this novel. In my opinion, it helps give the story a more believable feel by using that first person writing from the various characters. Some may feel that the story kind of lulls about halfway through. While I can see how it feels like it slows down a bit for a time, for me personally I don’t think that detracts from the story in general. To me, the hunt for the vampire is quite riveting. But that’s just me. 🙂

Have you read Dracula? What did you think? Great read all the way through or did you feel it fizzled out?

The Vampyre by John Polidori

The Vampyre by John Polidori
Length: 74 pgs.
Genre: Classics, Gothic Literature
Rating: 4 stars

Most people are familiar with the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer. And many know what you’re talking about when you mention Bram Stoker’s Dracula. But did you know there were other vampire stories that pre-date the famous Dracula? One of those stories is The Vampyre by John Polidori.

The Vampyre
by John Polidori has been historically influential in literature. It was actually the first published vampire story. It was considered the first full work of fiction written about a vampire that was published in English. And it’s my understanding that Polidori is even credited with creating the vampire genre in fantasy fiction and that his vampire became a model for future depictions of vampires.

The story behind this tale is very interesting. One evening, several people had gathered together and were trying to find something entertaining to do. Who were these people? Lord Byron, John Polidori, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (who would later become a Shelley) and her stepsister Claire Clairmont. As they were all sitting around hanging out, Lord Byron issued a challenge for them to each write a ghost story. And from this challenge came not only Polidori’s tale The Vampyre, but also Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

In Polidori’s story, he changed the way vampires were viewed. Whereas before they were seen as revolting, foul, depraved, and barbarous, Polidori portayed Lord Ruthven (the vampire in his story) as good looking, debonair, mysterious, wealthy, and of high rank. He was alluring on the outside but horrific and devilish on the inside.

The Vampyre is an engrossing read! It is atmospheric and very classically gothic. I didn’t like the ending but that doesn’t detract from the fact that it is a well-told story in my opinion. It is a quick read and can easily be read in one sitting.

Tips for Reading Classic Russian Literature

When I read my first Russian classic, I didn’t know anything about Russian literature. I just had been told that The Brothers Karamazov was a must read and was the favorite of some people I knew at the time. So I just dove right into that novel. Unfortunately, I found myself quickly getting confused with names and getting bogged down with the book. I ended up setting it aside and not coming back to finish it until probably a good year later. Since that time, I have gone on to read more Russian literature; and I’ve learned a few things that have helped me enjoy it more. Here are just a few tips I’ve learned from my experience reading the handful of novels I’ve read so far.

*My small but growing collection of classic Russian literature*

*Keep a Character List.*

As weird as it might sound, when I started reading The Brothers Karamazov, the confusion of the names really detracted from my reading experience. When reading Russian literature, know that a character will likely have multiple names. Keep a character list. Grab an index card or a notebook or even a post-it note that you can stick in the front of the book. Each time a character is introduced, write down their name. As you continue to read, write down each different name a character is given. Then refer to that list as often as needed as you continue to read. Eventually, you will probably get used to who is who with all their different names and not need the list. But until then, that character list you make will be invaluable!

*Expect philosophical-type tangents.*

I think there has been at least one philosophical-type tangent (usually more than one!) in every book I’ve read. If that is not your thing, then you can quickly read over it and move on with the story. If it is, you can deep dive into the author’s view(s) that is being expressed as a way to enhance the reading of the book and learn more about the author and/or characters, events, etc. in the book.

*A lot of these novels are very layered and complex.*

I have found that all the Russian novels I’ve read so far are very somber, deep, and contemplative. This makes them very layered and complex. I wouldn’t go into reading them expecting a typical happily-ever-after story. Because they are layered and complex, because they are deep and contemplative, Russian novels lend themselves to multiple readings. In fact, I venture to say that they require multiple readings to really grasp all that the novels contain.

*Annotate. And annotate some more.*

If you follow me on Instagram, then you know I am a fan of annotating books. I love my book darts, and post-it notes…my different colored pens and my little notebooks. I won’t go into a gushing of my love of annotation right now. Aren’t you glad? LOL But I will say, that annotating a book really helps me engage even more with it. Do I annotate every single book I read? No. But these deep, contemplative classics? They are perfect candidates for annotation. I think I will do a post soon on how I annotate books. But for the purposes of this post, I’ll share just a couple of things you can annotate. I would keep it simple starting out.

  • Characters – This is separate from your character list. Choose one color of a book dart or post-it of choice. You can mark a variety of things from introduction of new characters to character development to things you want to remember about characters.
  • Historical events and references – This comes in especially handy if you like to research and deep dive into things mentioned in the book. But this is also handy to mark if the book is set in an historical time or if certain events in history happen as part of the backdrop of the story.
  • Things that stand out – This really is just a general annotation where you use a book dart or sticky tab of some sort and mark anything that stands out to you and things you want to remember.

There is so much more you can annotate. But I’ll save that for a different post. In the meantime, these three above are a great starting place.

*Keep a notebook.*

If you don’t like using sticky tabs or post-its in your books, keeping a small notebook is a perfect option. One of our local stores has these small notebooks that are very inexpensive (less than $1) and I find them to be perfect for this! Even though I annotate, I still sometimes keep a small notebook for additional notes and things I want to write down. Here is a sample from my notebook for Anna Karenina:

And here is a sample from a different type of notebook I started keeping at one point with War and Peace. I found a statement to write down for each chapter I read or for whatever the reading was for that day (in other words, if I read several chapters that day, I still just picked one statement unless several stood out to me) and wrote them in a notebook. I actually enjoyed this and found that it helped me engage even more with the book.

*Start with a short work.*

As I mentioned before, my first Russian novel I read was The Brothers Karamazov. A friend told me later on that I really picked a hard book to start with. Leave it to me to do that! LOL Because my reading experience with The Brothers Karamazov wasn’t the greatest, it kind of put me off wanting to read any more Russian literature. Finally a LONG time after that, I attempted a short story by Chekhov and found that I really liked it! I also found myself wishing I had started with that first. I thought, if I had started with a shorter work like that first, it would have most likely panned out to be a much better reading experience. There are a number of short works you can choose from. I have only read a handful of short stories by Chekhov so far. But I have a copy of A Dog’s Heart by Bulgakov on my shelf that I really want to get to!

I hope that these handful of tips I’ve learned from my own reading of Russian literature is helpful. Are there any other tips you have found helpful?

Wuthering Heights Read-Along – Wrap-up Discussion Post

Bookish Moment

While I’ve been reading Wuthering Heights, I have also been reading The Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. I love the Twilight movies but have yet to read the books. So for October, I decided to read through the series. During this last section of reading for Wuthering Heights, I was in book 3 of the the Twilight series called Eclipse and the characters Edward and Bella are discussing Wuthering Heights. Here is part of their conversation:

‘Photographic memory or not, I don’t understand why you like it. The characters are ghastly people who ruin each others’ lives. I don’t know how Heathcliff and Cathy ended up being ranked with couples like Romeo and Juliet or Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. It isn’t a love story, it’s a hate story.’” (p. 28)

And then later in their conversation, there’s this:

“His face was thoughtful as he considered my words. After a moment he smiled a teasing smile. ‘I still think it would be a better story if either of them had one redeeming quality.’

‘I think that may be the point,’ I disagreed. ‘Their love is their only redeeming quality.'” (p. 29)

Just curious, what do you think about this point of redemption? Do you think their love is their only redeeming quality?

Edward says he doesn’t know how Heathcliff and Catherine got ranked with couples such as Romeo and Juliet. Consider a comparison of these two couples. Romeo and Juliet were kept apart by family and the society of their time. On the other hand, Heathcliff and Catherine were, by and large, the ones that kept themselves apart from one another.

Wrap-Up Discussion

All the questions below are taken from the discussion guide I provided at the beginning of the read-along. You can find the link to download the free discussion guide HERE.

  1. Who is the main narrator of the story and what are the advantages/disadvantages of this point of view for the reader?

The main narrator of the story is Nelly. Lockwood is the other narrator but I would consider him a secondary narrator since Nelly does the bulk of narrating. Nelly narrating the story is an advantage because she is an eye witness to a lot of what she talks about. However, having a narrator means you are likely getting the story from his/her perspective. Is Nelly then an unreliable narrator? Likely. Could the story have had a different take if it had been told from a different character’s perspective? Very likely.

2. What can be observed about Heathcliff and Catherine at the beginning of the novel that might give the reader insight into these characters later in the story (characteristics, actions, responses, etc.)?

If you notice, their relationship started out antagonistic when Catherine’s father brought Heathcliff home. But then Catherine and Heathcliff began to grow closer to one another. How would you consider their love? Do you think it was more obsessive than anything?

3. Emily Brontë did an excellent job creating unlikable characters. Were these characters completely unlikable or did any have at least one redeeming moment at some point in the novel?

Brontë created some complex characters. Even though Heathcliff is definitely our gothic villain, we feel sorry for him at least in the beginning when we see how he was treated as a child (this is why he is technically a gothic hero-villain). When I think about a character that definitely had unlikeable moments but also likeable times, I think of Little Cathy. She took care of Linton. She was mean to Hareton which were definitely moments that made her very unlikeable. But towards the end we see her being likeable again and see a redeeming moment here:

“Then she comprehended that Earnshaw took the master’s reputation home to himself; and was attached by ties stronger than reason could break – chains, forged by habit, which it would be cruel to attempt to loosen. She showed a good heart, thenceforth, in avoiding both complaints and expressions of antipathy concerning Heathcliff; and confessed to me her sorrow that she had endeavoured to raise a bad spirit between him and Hareton; indeed I don’t believe she has ever breathed a syllable, in the latter’s hearing, against her oppressor since.”

4. Wuthering Heights is often described as a love story. Do you agree or disagree and why?

When I read this novel for the first time, I didn’t see this as a classic love story. I saw it as a story about obsessive love. As I read it this second time, I did see a glimpse of more of the classic love story, but still think by and large it’s about obsessive love. I’m curious to hear what you think!

5. Do you think Wuthering Heights as a place has a strong presence in the novel?

I think Wuthering Heights has a very strong presence in the novel. It’s very much like Manderley in the novel Rebecca. What do you think? And along those same lines, what about the presence of Thrushcross Grange?

Please share your thoughts on the questions and the novel in general in the comments.

Important Notice about Great Expectations Read-Along

I have been looking forward to reading Great Expectations with others as part of our Fall Classic Gothic Literature Read-Along. However, due to some unforeseen circumstances, I need to cancel the read-along. I hope to be able to still host a read-along for this Dickens novel at some point. If there is still interest in reading this together, let’s discuss a future date that might work. Let me know in the comments. Thanks for understanding!

Wuthering Heights Read-Along – Week 4, Chapters 26-34

Ch. 26

Cathy and Linton meet up. However, Linton seems like it’s more of a chore or responsibility to meet with her. He seems as if he has gotten worse instead of better. Nelly described him as having a lack of interest in the topics of conversation, not being able to contribute to entertaining Cathy, and an overall sense of apathy. Cathy was disappointed and frustrated. But Nelly said Cathy’s displeasure “softened into a perplexed sensation of pity and regret, largely blended with vague, uneasy doubts about Linton’s actual circumstances, physical and social…” (p. 252) Nelly encouraged a second visit before saying much because a second visit with Linton might help them judge the scenario better.

Ch. 27

Cathy and Linton’s next meeting was once again a tumultuous one. Linton had expressed in both meetings how he feared his father. During this meeting, Heathcliff showed up. Heathcliff was harsh with Linton. Linton begged Cathy to not leave him. In the end, Cathy and Nelly went with Linton and Heathcliff back to Wuthering Heights. When they got there, Heathcliff bolted the door and that startled Nelly. Cathy made it clear to Heathcliff that she was not afraid of him. She insisted that her and Nelly would be leaving. A bout of violence occurred between Cathy and Heathcliff. Nelly sprung on Heathcliff and then about fainted away. It was all over in a matter of minutes. Heathcliff left to get their horses and Nelly saw it as a potential opportunity to escape; but they could find no way to get out.

They discover from Linton what Heathcliff was planning. He was planning that Cathy and Linton would be married in the morning. And as long as they did as Heathcliff wished, they would be allowed to return home the next day with Linton with them. I have to stop here and wonder – did Linton purposely put on an act before in order to get Cathy and Nelly to Wuthering Heights – whether for his own purpose or out of fear of Heathcliff?

Heathcliff returned. He claimed that their horses had “trotted off”. (p. 261) No amount of pleading on Cathy’s part to return home or at least let Nelly return home worked. In the end, they could not get out and had to stay the night. Heathcliff came and got Cathy the next morning, shutting Nelly back up in the room when they left. Heathcliff kept Nelly locked up in that room for five nights and four days. During that time she only saw Hareton once in the mornings when he brought her food for the day. About Hareton she said, “…he was a model of a jailor:  surly, and dumb, and deaf to every attempt at moving his sense of justice or compassion.” (p. 264)’

6185. sy475

Ch. 28

Zillah returned and went to Nelly. She told her the tale that was being told around the village which was that Nelly had been lost in a marsh, had been found, and Heathcliff let her stay at Wuthering Heights. Nelly was released. She went downstairs, looking for Catherine, but only found Linton. He said Cathy was upstairs, that they were married, and he spoke harshly about Cathy and had been treating her terribly. He had taken his father’s side and believed the things he said.

Nelly went back to the Grange to get help. Edgar said he needed to change his will so that Cathy’s fortune would be left in the care of trustees so she and/or her children would have access to it. Nelly sent for the lawyer. A little later, Cathy showed up at the Grange. She made it in time. She went in to see her father and shortly after he died peacefully.

The lawyer did not make it in time before Edgar died. Nelly said that the lawyer “sold himself to Mr. Heathcliff:  that was the cause of his delay in obeying my master’s summons.” (p. 271) Linton ended up helping Cathy escape from Wuthering Heights; but he suffered the consequences for helping her.

Ch. 29

On the evening of the funeral, Heathcliff came to the Grange and demanded Cathy return to Wuthering Heights. Nelly suggested that Cathy stay at the Grange and Linton come to her; but Heathcliff would have none of that. He had plans to rent it out. Cathy said she would go. Heathcliff talked about the bad nature of Linton and Cathy was bold in talking back to him. She said:

“‘I know he has a bad nature,’ said Catherine:  ‘he’s your son. But I’m glad I’ve a better, to forgive it; and I know he loves me, and for that reason I love him. Mr. Heathcliff, you have nobody to love you; and, however miserable you make us, we shall still have the revenge of thinking that your cruelty arises from your greater misery. You are miserable, are you not? Lonely, like the devil, and envious like him? Nobody loves you – nobody will cry for you when you die! I wouldn’t be you!’” (p. 274)

Nelly requested that she and Zillah switch places so that she could be at Wuthering Heights with Cathy; but Heathcliff refused. He saw a portrait of Catherine and said it was to be moved to Wuthering Heights. Then he talked to Nelly and told her how the night before he had the sexton uncover Catherine’s grave. He said how her face looked as it did eighteen years ago. We might find this hard to believe. But actually, I read that the peat in the soil around Haworth had kind of an embalming effect. If you go back to Chapter 3, Lockwood actually makes mention of this when talking about a chapel:

“We came to the chapel. I have passed it really in my walks, twice or thrice; it lies in a hollow, between two hills; an elevated hollow, near a swamp, whose peaty moisture is said to answer all the purposes of embalming on the few corpses deposited there.” (p. 23)

Heathcliff told the sexton to bury his body next to hers whenever he dies. Nelly was appalled at this and questioned how he wasn’t concerned for disturbing the dead. He went on to tell her of how Catherine has been haunting him now for eighteen years. He also told her of how the evening of the day she was buried, he went and dug up Catherine’s coffin. But while he was trying to get the screws out, he felt her presence. It comforted him, yet tortured him. And ever since, he felt that he could almost see her but just not quite. After he finished talking, he and Cathy left.

348914. sy475

Ch. 30

Nelly paid a visit to Wuthering Heights but Joseph wouldn’t let her see Cathy. She found out through Zillah that Cathy was in complete charge of taking care of Linton. Heathcliff didn’t care whether Linton lived or died. One night, Cathy went to Zillah and told her Linton was dying. Finally Heathcliff came in to the room, but Linton was already dead.

Cathy was ill. She stayed in her room for two weeks. Heathcliff informed her that Linton left everything to him.

“He had bequeathed the whole of his, and what had been her, moveable property, to his father:  the poor creature was threatened, or coaxed, into that act during her week’s absence, when his uncle died….Catherine, destitute of cash and friends, cannot disturb his possession.” (p. 280-281)

Zillah told Nelly that one day when Heathcliff was gone, Cathy came downstairs. She was very cold and not nice at all. She had become the unfriendly person that Lockwood met that day when he visited Wuthering Heights.

Nelly wanted to get a cottage and have Cathy live with her; but she remarked that Heathcliff would not allow that. So she could see no solution except that Cathy could marry again. However, Nelly was in no position to try to bring that about. And that’s where Nelly ended her story.

Lockwood narrates again at this point and says that he is recovering well. He says that he plans to go to Wuthering Heights and tell Heathcliff that he will be going to London for about six months; therefore, Heathcliff can look for another tenant for Thrushcross Grange. He was not about to spend another winter there.

432394. sy475

Ch. 31

Lockwood is narrating now. He went to Wuthering Heights. Cathy was unfriendly as before. Nelly had sent a letter with Lockwood for Cathy. Lockwood tried to slip the note to her in a way that Hareton wouldn’t notice; but she questioned what it was. Hareton swooped in, picked up the letter, and put it in his pocket. But he softened about it and threw it on the floor at Cathy. She read it. She and Hareton talked back and forth about books and learning. Cathy made fun at Hareton’s attempt at learning to read and it provoked him. He put some books in her lap but she continued to mock him. He slapped her, threw the books into the fire, and left.

When Hareton was leaving, Heathcliff walked in. Cathy had seen him through the window approaching and ran out to the kitchen; so Lockwood was left alone when Heathcliff came in. Lockwood explained that he would not be staying at the Grange. Heathcliff said he would still be responsible for payment for the remaining months of his contract with him to which Lockwood said he would pay it. Heathcliff invited him to stay for dinner – which he did. But he said it was a cheerless meal. Heathcliff had banished Cathy to the kitchen to eat her meal with Joseph.

When Lockwood left, he ruminated about what things were like there at Wuthering Heights. The chapter ends with him commenting, “‘What a realisation of something more romantic than a fairy tale it would have been for Mrs. Linton Heathcliff, had she and I struck up an attachment, as her good nurse desired, and migrated together into the stirring atmosphere of the town!’” (p. 290)

Ch. 32

The chapter starts with the familiar mark of time we saw in the very first chapter. 1802. Lockwood had returned to the area and decided to lodge at Thrushcross Grange. When he arrived there, Nelly was no longer there. The new person there said Nelly had gone to Wuthering Heights. He ventured to Wuthering Heights and as he approached, through one of the windows he heard and saw a young man trying to read and a young lady who looked like she was teaching him. When he did well, she rewarded him with kisses and he returned the kisses. He knew it was Hareton and thus didn’t want to be seen. He went around to the kitchen and there he saw Nelly.

Nelly recognized him and seemed glad to see him. He told her he wanted to settle his rent payments with Heathcliff but she told him Heathcliff had died about three months back. He was shocked and asked her to tell what happened.

Nelly shared how a couple of weeks after Lockwood left, Heathcliff summoned her to Wuthering Heights. She went. She was happy to see Cathy but Cathy’s personality had changed some. Then she shared about a whole interchange between Cathy and Hareton that resulted in them finally becoming friends.

526390

Ch. 33

One day, Nelly found Cathy and Hareton planting a garden in the middle of Joseph’s currant bushes. She warned them that he would be mad about that. Sure enough, later when they were all eating, Joseph came in and went on about what they’d done. Hareton said he had dug some of the bushes up but was planning to re-plant them. However, Cathy said that it was all her idea. She and Heathcliff argued. Heathcliff got mad and told Hareton to throw Cathy out of the room.  Hareton quietly tried to convince Cathy to leave. Heathcliff ended up grabbing Cathy by the hair but finally released her and told all of them to go. They all left and Heathcliff was left alone until dinner. During dinner, they were all there but Heathcliff did not say anything. Afterwards, he left and intimated that he would not be back until evening. 

Later, Hareton and Cathy were talking and Hareton asked Cathy not to speak ill of Heathcliff. We see a change in Cathy here.

“Then she comprehended that Earnshaw took the master’s reputation home to himself; and was attached by ties stronger than reason could break – chains, forged by habit, which it would be cruel to attempt to loosen. She showed a good heart, thenceforth, in avoiding both complaints and expressions of antipathy concerning Heathcliff; and confessed to me her sorrow that she had endeavoured to raise a bad spirit between him and Hareton; indeed I don’t believe she has ever breathed a syllable, in the latter’s hearing, against her oppressor since.” (p. 307)

Heathcliff noticed the resemblances of Catherine in both Cathy and Hareton. He talked to Nelly about how he hardly even took interest in daily life anymore. Nelly questioned if he was ill but realized that wasn’t the case. As he went on about how Catherine haunted him in different ways, he showed why he felt the way he did about Hareton:

“…‘In the first place, his startling likeness to Catherine connected him fearfully with her…Hareton’s aspect was the ghost of my immortal love; of my wild endeavours to hold my right; my degradation, my pride, my happiness, and my anguish – But it is frenzy to repeat these thoughts to you:  only it will let you know why, with a reluctance to be always alone, his society is no benefit; rather an aggravation of the constant torment I suffer…’” (p. 309-310)

When you really think about how Heathcliff sees Catherine in everything like that, maybe this is Brontë’s way of describing a haunting. Which, by the way, fits the characteristics of gothic literature. Heathcliff may not be haunted by an actual ghost that he sees; but he is haunted by Catherine in his mind. To him, she’s everywhere he turns. This gives the scenario more a feeling of madness than an actual scary, eerie feel. Nelly even comments:

“He began to pace the room, muttering terrible things to himself, till I was inclined to believe, as he said Joseph did, that conscience had turned his heart to an earthly hell. I wondered greatly how it would end. Though he seldom before had revealed this state of mind, even by looks, it was his habitual mood, I had no doubt…” (p. 310-311)

288409
2005 Barnes & Noble Classics Hardback Edition

Ch. 34

Heathcliff began roaming outside at night and ate very little. Cathy came across him at one point and described him as being excited and wild. What was going on with Heathcliff? Nelly wondered this very thing. When she questioned him, he told her he was “‘…within sight of my heaven. I have my eyes on it:  hardly three feet to sever me!…’” (p. 314) One wonders from this statement what Heathcliff was up to.

Heathcliff began acting more and more strange and uttering things to himself.

“I distinguished Mr. Heathcliff’s step, restlessly measuring the floor, and he frequently broke the silence by a deep inspiration, resembling a groan. He muttered detached words also; the only one I could catch was the name of Catherine, coupled with some wild term of endearment or suffering; and spoken as one would speak to a person present…” (p. 317)

Heathcliff seemed to decline more and more and it appeared he was sinking into a madness of sorts. Then one morning, Nelly was taking her walk outside and noticed Heathcliff’s window open and the rain pouring into the room. She went to see if Heathcliff was in his room and she found him there dead.

They buried Heathcliff as he had requested. Nelly commented that tales would be heard that Heathcliff would be seen about the church and the moors and even at the Heights. It was said that even two could be seen sometimes. Nelly didn’t want to believe it until one time, she came across a boy tending some sheep. The sheep wouldn’t budge and Nelly asked what was the matter. The little boy said he saw Heathcliff and a woman ahead and wouldn’t dare pass. After that, Nelly didn’t like to be alone in Wuthering Heights.

As the novel comes to a close, we learn that Cathy and Hareton were engaged and that Joseph would remain to tend to Wuthering Heights. As Lockwood walked home, he noticed the bad state of disrepair the church was in. He also noticed the graves of Edgar, Catherine, and Heathcliff.

“I lingered round them, under that benign sky:  watched the moths fluttering among the heath and harebells, listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass, and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth.” (p. 323)

*********************

And that concludes our reading of Wuthering Heights. I will post a wrap-up discussion post for the whole book tomorrow as well as share a bookish moment I had that relates to our novel.

Today, let’s consider: How are the relationships between Catherine and Heathcliff and Cathy and Hareton similar and/or different?

Wuthering Heights Read-Along – Week 3, Chapters 22-25

Ch. 22

Edgar got sick and was confined indoors all winter. This was hard for Cathy. Nelly tried to help keep her company when she had time. One day, Cathy and Nelly went out. Cathy was sitting on a wall when her hat fell off. She climbed down the other side to get her hat but could not climb back up. Nelly tried all her keys to see if she could get the gate unlocked but none worked. Then Heathcliff showed up. He said Linton was not doing well and getting worse and worse all because Cathy quit writing to him. Heathcliff said, “‘…he’s going to his grave, and none but you can save him!’” (p. 225) He admitted, “‘…I’ll own to you that I have little patience with Linton; and Hareton and Joseph have less. I’ll own that he’s with a harsh set. He pines for kindness, as well as love; and a kind word from you would be his best medicine.’” (p. 225-226)

Nelly managed to get Catherine and herself home; but she could tell Cathy’s heart was heavy. They had tea together and Cathy stretched out on the rug and cried. Nelly went on about Heathcliff, ridiculing him and his speech about his son. But Cathy would not be deterred. Nelly yielded and the next day, they were off to Wuthering Heights.

Ch. 23

Nelly and Cathy arrived at Wuthering Heights. Cathy and Linton saw one another but Linton was not very welcoming when they arrived. As they talked, they argued over their fathers. Linton was sickly; but he was also petty and acted as a spoiled child. Nelly and Cathy went home. Nelly didn’t like what she saw of Linton. She thought he was very ill-tempered and was glad that he hadn’t been at the Grange with them. Cathy felt that if she could come regularly to Wuthering Heights, she could nurse him back to health.  Nelly told Cathy that if she even tried to go back to Wuthering Heights, she would tell her father.

Nelly ended up getting sick and was confined to her room. Catherine was an excellent nurse and took care of both Nelly and her father. Her time in the day was spent taking care of the two of them; but her evenings were free. Nelly didn’t know what Cathy did with her evening time. But she noticed, “a fresh colour in her cheeks and a pinkness over her slender fingers, instead of fancying the hue borrowed from a cold ride across the moors, I laid it to the charge of a hot fire in the library.” (p. 234)

File:Walter Bertram Potter (1872-1918) - Moorland Landscape with a Tree - 642013 - National Trust.jpg
Moorland Landscape with a Tree by Walter Bertram Potter

Ch. 24

After Nelly began feeling better and could finally leave her room, she discovered that Catherine was gone one day. Catherine admitted to having been going to visit Wuthering Heights each day to help take care of Linton. She went on to describe how her visits went. There was one day when Hareton told her he could read the sign above the door but not the numbers. Cathy made fun of him, calling him a dunce. It seemed to embarrass Hareton. Nelly scolded Cathy for how she treated Hareton in that situation.

A little later, Cathy and Linton were in the house when Hareton stormed in angrily. He yanked Linton up and threw him out of the room and demanded Cathy leave the room as well. Then he slammed the door. Cathy remarked that Linton looked terrible; but he went to the door and started banging on it telling Hareton to let him in or he’d kill him. Cathy tried to stop him; but then he started coughing. Blood came out of his mouth and he fell to the floor.  Cathy went for Zillah. When she returned, Hareton was taking Linton upstairs. He forbid Cathy to enter and told her to go home. There was some arguing; and she left. On her way home, Hareton stopped her but she cut him with her whip and hurried home.

Three days later Cathy went back to Wuthering Heights to see about Linton. He was on the mend but insisted Cathy was to blame for the whole thing. Cathy left. A couple days later she went back and they reconciled. In the course of the conversation that day, Linton said the following:

“…‘Only, Catherine, do me this justice:  believe that if I might be as sweet, and as kind, and as good as you are, I would be; as willingly, and more so, than as happy and as healthy. And believe that your kindness has made me love you deeper than if I deserved your love:  and though I couldn’t, and cannot help showing my nature to you, I regret it and repent it; and shall regret and repent it till I die!’” (p. 243)

Cathy described their time together after that:  “‘About three times, I think, we have been merry and hopeful, as we were the first evening; the rest of my visits were dreary and troubled:  now with his selfishness and spite, and now with his sufferings:  but I’ve learned to endure the former with nearly as little resentment as the latter.’
(p. 243-244)

She told Nelly she had told her all but please don’t tell her father. She needed to continue going to Wuthering Heights but her father didn’t need to know and so no one would be upset. Nelly told her she would have to think about it and left. Only Nelly went directly to her father and told her all that had happened, omitting some of the details. Cathy found out that Nelly had betrayed her confidence. She was no longer allowed to go to Wuthering Heights. But her father said Linton could come to the Grange whenever he liked.

File:John Linnell (1792-1882) - Sunset over a Moorland Landscape - PD.7-1950 - Fitzwilliam Museum.jpg
Sunset Over a Moorland Landscape by John Linnell

Ch. 25

Nelly explains to Lockwood that these events she just finished talking about happened just about a year ago. Cathy was obedient to her father’s wishes. Edgar sent a letter requesting Linton to visit and Linton responded that his father forbade it. He asked Linton to ride out with Cathy so they could meet up with him somewhere in order to see each other. Edgar said he could not since he wouldn’t be able to ride with Catherine; but maybe in the summer they could do so. He asked Linton to continue to write. Linton did so but couldn’t fully write all that he might want to because Heathcliff kept a close eye on him.

“…so, instead of penning his peculiar personal sufferings and distresses, the themes constantly uppermost in his thoughts, he harped on the cruel obligation of being held asunder from his friend and love; and gently intimated that Mr. Linton must allow an interview soon, or he should fear he was purposely deceiving him with empty promises.” (p. 247-248)

Cathy and Linton eventually persuaded Edgar to allow them to have a ride or walk together once a week under Nelly’s supervision. Edgar was declining; but it seemed no one realized that Linton was declining also.

*****************

In this week’s reading, we really get a look at the relationship between Cathy and Linton. How is their relationship similar and different from the relationship Catherine (Cathy’s mother) and Heathcliff (Linton’s father) had?

Wuthering Heights Read-Along – Week 3, Chapters 17-21

Ch. 17

The weather had changed. Edgar kept to his room and Nelly made the parlor into a nursery. One day, as she was sitting with baby Catherine, Isabella dashed in. She had fled Wuthering Heights. Nelly inquired as to why Isabella had fled. Isabella had realized what a monster Heathcliff was and how he truly felt about her – he detested her; hated her. She said, “He has extinguished my love effectually, and so I’m at my ease…” (p. 168)

Isabella described what things had been like at Wuthering Heights since Catherine’s death. She talked about the atmosphere and how Heathcliff went back and forth between Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. She said, “…for it seemed as if all joy had vanished from the world, never to be restored.” (p. 170)

Isabella described a horrendous encounter between Heathcliff and Hindley, when they wouldn’t let Heathcliff in the house. He managed to get in and beat Hindley senseless. He dragged Hindley (who was unconscious) to the settle. He pushed Joseph to his knees and told him to clean up the mess and also Isabella to clean up too. He treated them abominably. Isabella said, “I departed to my own room, marveling that I had escaped so easily.” (p. 174)

Hindley was very sick from all that happened. Isabella told him how Heathcliff continued to beat him up after he was unconscious. Heathcliff was in the room in some sort of agony, obviously mourning Catherine. He finally told Isabella to get out of his sight. To which she responded how she had loved Catherine too and that her brother needed assistance so she would help him. They both continued this sort of interchange until Heathcliff grabbed a dinner knife from the table and threw it at her. It stuck beneath her ear (which was the source of the blood Nelly observed when Isabella first arrived at the Grange). She retaliated and fled from Wuthering Heights straight to the Grange.

Isabella stopped talking, took a sip of tea, then left. It appeared that she went to London and several months later gave birth to a baby boy whom she named Linton. She described Linton as being “an ailing, peevish creature.” (p. 178)

Heathcliff tried to get Nelly to tell him where Isabella was but she refused. He still found out somehow and also found out about the child; still he didn’t pursue her. But he told Nelly that he would have the child if he wanted to. Years later when the child was around 12 years old or so, Isabella died.

Nelly told of how grief turned Edgar into a hermit. But it didn’t last.

“Time brought resignation, and a melancholy sweeter than common joy. He recalled her memory with ardent, tender love, and hopeful aspiring to the better world; where he doubted not she was gone.” (p. 179)

Hindley died about six months after Catherine’s death. Nelly saw to the funeral arrangements. Nelly wanted to take Hareton back with her to the Grange but Heathcliff would not have it. He threatened that if Edgar pursued taking Hareton, he would take Edgar and Catherine’s son Linton. So Nelly let it be.

File:Life and Works of the Sisters Bronte - Moorland Scene Near Hathersage (Morton).jpg
Moorland Scene Near Hathersage

Chapter 18

The chapter starts with Nelly describing little Catherine. Then she talked about Edgar and Isabella. Isabella had contacted Edgar before she died imploring him to come to her and take little Linton home with him and look after him. Edgar did not hesitate. Little Cathy had a hard time the first couple of days her father was away. But then Nelly found a way of entertainment to help her. They would pretend tales. Then one day little Cathy was out and about but did not come back. They couldn’t find her.

Finally, Nelly found her at Wuthering Heights. A servant said she was there and both Heathcliff and Joseph were gone. Nelly found Catherine perfectly content. Hareton was there as well (he was now 18 years old; little Catherine was 13 years old) and was very curious about her. Nelly scolded her and tried to get her to leave with her but Catherine kept giving Nelly the run-around. She thought the master of the house was Hareton’s father but he said no. She ordered him to get her horse and he spoke to her meanly. She ordered the woman to and she wouldn’t either. Little Catherine couldn’t understand how they could be allowed to speak to her that way. Nelly explained that Hareton was her cousin; to which Catherine was appalled at the idea. Catherine seemed distressed; and her distress appeared to have moved Hareton. He went and got her pony and also gave her a dog; but she rejected the dog. And they headed home.

Nelly talked about Hareton. She also described Joseph’s view towards Hareton.

“…so at present he laid the whole burden of Hareton’s faults on the shoulders of the usurper of his property…It gave Joseph satisfaction, apparently, to watch him go the worst lengths:  he allowed that the lad was ruined:  that his soul was abandoned to perdition; but then he reflected that Heathcliff must answer for it.” (p. 191)

She explained that she heard from the villagers that Heathcliff was stingy and a cruel landlord. But that as far as how things were within the home of Wuthering Heights, “the house, inside, had regained its ancient aspect of comfort under female management, and the scenes of riot common in Hindley’s time were not now enacted within its walls.” (p. 191)

And about Heathcliff, she said:  “The master was too gloomy to seek companionship with any people, good or bad; and he is yet.” (p. 191)

File:David Cox the elder (1783-1859) - Moorland Road - N02665 - National Gallery.jpg
Moorland Road by David Cox Jr.

Ch. 19

Edgar returned with Linton. When he arrived home, he and Catherine were so excited to see one another. Nelly looked in at Linton and noticed how sickly he looked. Edgar told her not to disturb him as the trip had been hard on him.

Finally, Linton woke and he was introduced to Catherine. All he wanted to do was go to bed. But they all went in to the library for tea. He complained that he couldn’t sit on a chair and so laid on the sofa. Catherine made him her little pet and doted on him. That made him faintly smile.

No sooner had Nelly got Linton to bed and asleep that Joseph showed up. Nelly tried to send him on his way but he refused and barged in on Edgar in the library. He said that Heathcliff had sent him for the boy and he must not return to Wuthering Heights without him. Edgar felt he had no choice but to give the child to Heathcliff; still he insisted that the child not be taken that night but that he would go in the morning. Joseph wouldn’t accept this at first but Edgar demanded it to be how it would be. Joseph left, saying that Heathcliff would come himself tomorrow.

Ch. 20

Edgar had Nelly take Linton home. He also told her not to tell Cathy about this; that she was only to know that his father sent for him suddenly and he had to leave. Linton said he was never told of his father. He questioned how he could love him? He didn’t know him. He would not leave; but they finally got him to budge. And off they went. As they walked along, Linton had plenty of questions about Wuthering Heights and about his father. Nelly handled his questions well and did not make Heathcliff look bad in any way.

They arrived and Heathcliff and Linton met. Heathcliff assured Nelly that he would treat the boy fine – that he had his room done and hired a tutor to teach him. He also ordered Hareton to obey the boy.

“…and in fact I’ve arranged everything with a view to preserve the superior and the gentleman in him, above his associates.” (p. 202)

File:Walter Bertram Potter (1872-1918) - Moorland Landscape with Bare Trees - 642006 - National Trust.jpg
Moorland Landscape with Bare Trees by Walter Bertram Potter

Ch. 21

Cathy was upset when she found out that Linton was gone; but time eased that. Nelly talked about how she asked the housekeeper at Wuthering Heights about Linton. The housekeeper said he was weak and tiresome. Heathcliff didn’t like him; but he tried not to show it. Nelly concluded that lack of sympathy made Linton a disagreeable and selfish young man. She thought that Edgar probably thought a lot about Linton; he would ask her to try to get information about him.

Cathy’s birthday had come around and she had turned 16 years old. Edgar kept himself to his library a lot that day because of course Cathy’s birthday was also the anniversary of her mother’s death. So Cathy was left to entertain herself. She convinced Nelly to get outside with her and so they went riding. They ended up close to Wuthering Heights when Nelly saw two men. It ended up being Heathcliff and Hareton. Heathcliff asked them to come to Wuthering Heights to take a rest. Nelly of course tried to get Cathy to refuse and even told Heathcliff himself it would not be good. Edgar would be angry with her if he knew she had allowed Cathy to go to Wuthering Heights. And she was also convinced Heathcliff was up to no good. Heathcliff told her his intentions: that Cathy and Linton would fall in love and marry. That would secure that Cathy was provided for. He was determined to make that happen. Nelly was just as determined to make sure Cathy never set foot at Wuthering Heights again. At that point, they reached the gate and entered Wuthering Heights.

Catherine and Linton were introduced. Once they knew who each other was, they were happy to see one another. Heathcliff tried to get Linton to take Cathy out but he just wanted to sit inside. Then Hareton came in and he and Cathy were introduced. Since Linton didn’t seem interested, Heathcliff told Hareton to take Cathy about the farm and entertain her.

Heathcliff talks about what he thinks of Hareton. Linton began to look like he’d wished he’d gone out with Cathy. So Heathcliff urged him to go and he did. In the meantime, outside Cathy and Linton were making fun of Hareton and his lack of learning and way of speaking. Heathcliff overheard the conversation and smiled when Hareton turned around and left. Nelly admitted, “I began to dislike, more than to compassionate Linton, and to excuse his father in some measure for holding him cheap.” (p. 214)

Cathy told her father about their visit to Wuthering Heights. He explained why he had kept her from going there and from seeing Linton (who lived at Wuthering Heights). Cathy sided with Heathcliff’s explanation of the separation. She didn’t like that her father had not let her and Linton see each other.

When Cathy was going to bed, she told Nelly how disappointed Linton would be to not see her tomorrow. She asked if she could at least write him a note and send him some books. Nelly said absolutely not. When Nelly came back to check on her, Cathy had paper and a pencil. Nelly told her that no one would send that for her and then put out the candle. Cathy slapped her hand. Nelly left and Cathy loudly bolted her door shut.

Cathy wrote a letter and had it taken by the milk boy; but Nelly didn’t know that at the time. And that began secret correspondence between Cathy and Linton. One day, Nelly intercepted one of Cathy’s letters being carried by the milk boy. Then later that day, Cathy sat down and noticed all her letters from Linton were gone. Cathy asked Nelly to come upstairs and then implored her not to tell her father about the letters. Nelly agreed to not tell her father but to burn the letters if Cathy agreed never to write to Linton again. Cathy agreed and Nelly burned the letters. Then Nelly sent a message to Heathcliff saying that Linton was not to send any more letters to Cathy because she would not receive them.

Ilkley Moor Yorkshire England UK
Ilkley Moor in Yorkshire England

******************

Brontë was intentional and careful about how she structured this book, especially in regards to her characters’ relationships. We can see a pairing of characters connected from growing up together: Nelly and Hindley (Nelly’s mother was Hindley’s wet nurse and so they were connected from early on in their lives), Catherine and Heathcliff (grew up together from the time they were children), and of course Edgar and Isabella (brother and sister).

Let’s take a look at little Catherine. In what ways is she like her mother? In what ways is she not like her mother, and maybe more like her father? How about Linton? Can we see commonalities and/or differences when comparing him to his parents?