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Wuthering Heights Summary Chapter 1:

Writing in his diary in 1801, Lockwood describes his first days as a tenant at a house named Thrushcross Grange. Shortly after arriving at this house, he pays a visit to his landlord, Mr. Heathcliff. Heathcliff lives in a house named Wuthering Heights. During the visit, Heathcliff seems not to trust Lockwood. He leaves him alone in a room with a group of dogs. Lockwood is saved from the dogs by a housekeeper. Lockwood says he will visit again the next day.

Wuthering Heights Summary Chapter 2:

Lockwood makes the four-mile walk to Wuthering Heights. He arrives just as a light snow begins to fall. He knocks, but no one lets him in. Joseph, an old servant, calls out from the barn that Heathcliff is not in the house. Eventually, a young man comes to let him in. Lockwood goes into a sitting room where he finds a beautiful girl seated beside a fire. Lockwood assumes she is Heathcliff’s wife. When Heathcliff arrives, he corrects Lockwood. The young woman is his daughter-in-law. She is the widow of Heathcliff’s dead son, Linton. Lockwood then assumes that the young man who let him in must be Heathcliff’s son. Heathcliff corrects him again that the young man, Hareton Earnshaw, is not his son rather Hindley’s son.
It’s snowing heavily by now and when Lockwood is ready to leave, he asks for a guide back to Thrushcross Grange. No one will help him. He takes a lantern and says that he will find his own way. He promises to return with the lantern in the morning. Joseph assumes that he is stealing the lantern, so he loses the dogs on him. Lockwood grows furious and begins cursing the inhabitants of the house. He is forced to stay at Wuthering Heights. The housekeeper, Zillah, leads him to bed.
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Wuthering Heights Summary Chapter 3:

Zillah leads Lockwood to a room from which Heathcliff has forbidden all visitors. He notices that three names are inscribed there repeatedly: Catherine Earnshaw, Catherine Linton, and Catherine Heathcliff. He also finds a diary written approximately twenty-five years earlier.
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Lockwood falls asleep. He awakes from sleep when a branch begins tapping on his window. Still half asleep, he attempts to break off the branch by forcing his hand through the window glass. But instead of a branch, he finds a ghostly hand that seizes his hand. He hears a voice sobbing the name Catherine Linton, demands to be let in. To free himself, Lockwood rubs the ghost’s wrist on the broken glass until blood covers the bedsheets. The ghost releases him, and Lockwood tries to cover the hole in the window with books. But the books begin to fall, and he cries out in terror.
Heathcliff rushes into the room, and Lockwood cries out that the room is haunted. Heathcliff curses him. But as Lockwood flees from the room, Heathcliff cries out to Catherine. He begs her to return. In the morning, Heathcliff treats his daughter-in-law cruelly. He later escorts Lockwood home.
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Wuthering Heights Summary Chapter 4:

Lockwood’s housekeeper, Nelly Dean, brings him his supper. He tells her to tell him the history of the people at Wuthering Heights. She explains that the young Catherine whom Lockwood met at Wuthering Heights is the daughter of Catherine who was Nelly’s first mistress at Wuthering Heights. Hareton Earnshaw is young Catherine’s cousin, the nephew of the first Catherine. The first Catherine was the daughter of Mr. Earnshaw, the late proprietor of Wuthering Heights. Now young Catherine is the last of the Lintons, and Hareton is the last of the Earnshaws.
Nelly continues by telling the story of her early years at Wuthering Heights. When Catherine and Hindley are young children, their father Mr. Earnshaw takes a trip to Liverpool and returns home with an orphan whom the Earnshaws name “Heathcliff.”
Mr. Earnshaw announces that Heathcliff will be raised as a member of the family. Both Catherine and Hindley dislike Heathcliff at first, but Catherine soon begins to love him. Catherine and Heathcliff become inseparable, and Hindley treats Heathcliff cruelly.
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Wuthering Heights Summary Chapter 5:

Time passes, and Mr. Earnshaw becomes weak. Hindley is sent away to college. Soon Mr. Earnshaw dies, and it is now Catherine and Heathcliff who turn to religion for comfort.

They discuss the idea of heaven while awaiting the return of Hindley. Hindley will now be master of Wuthering Heights.

Wuthering Heights Summary Chapter 6:

Hindley and his new wife named Frances, return to Wuthering Heights for Mr. Earnshaw’s funeral. Hindley immediately begins to take his revenge on Heathcliff. He declares that Heathcliff will no longer be allowed for getting an education and instead will spend his days working in the fields like a common laborer. When Heathcliff is free from his responsibilities, He and Catherine go off onto the moors together to play.
One evening, when Heathcliff and Catherine disappear. Nelly waits for them. Heathcliff returns alone. He tells her that he and Catherine made the trip to Thrushcross Grange to spy on and tease Edgar and  Isabella Linton. Edgar and Isabella are Mr. Linton’s children. Before they could succeed in their mission, the Lintons’ guard dog chased them and bit Catherine’s ankle.
Unable to return home, Catherine was taken inside the Thrushcross Grange by a servant. However, the Lintons forbade Heathcliff to stay with her. The following day, Mr. Linton pays a visit to Wuthering Heights to explain matters to Hindley. After Mr. Linton leaves, Hindley tells Heathcliff that he may have no further contact with Catherine.
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Wuthering Heights Summary Chapter 7:

Catherine spends five weeks at the Thrushcross Grange. Catherine returns to Wuthering Heights at Christmas time. She is wearing a lovely dress. Hindley says that Heathcliff may greet Catherine “like the other servants.” When Heathcliff does so, she says he is dirty in comparison with the Linton children. Heathcliff is hurt and he storms out of the room. The Linton children come for dinner at Wuthering Heights the next day. Nelly helps Heathcliff to wash and put on suitable clothes after the boy declares his intention to be “good,” but Mrs. Linton has allowed Edgar and Isabella to attend under the condition that Heathcliff be kept away from them.
Accordingly, Hindley orders that Heathcliff be locked in the attic until the end of dinner. Catherine clearly appears unhappy with Hindley’s treatment of Heathcliff, and after dinner, she goes up to see him. Nelly frees the boy and gives him supper in the kitchen. Heathcliff confides to Nelly that he intends to seek revenge on Hindley.
At this point, Nelly interrupts her narrative and rises to go, saying that it’s late. Lockwood says that he intends to sleep late the next day and wishes to hear the rest of her story now. He urges her to continue in minute detail.
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Wuthering Heights Summary Chapter 8:

Frances gives birth to a baby boy, Hareton, but she dies soon.

Hindley assigns Nelly the task of raising the baby. He takes no interest in the child. Hindley begins to drink excessively. He behaves abusively toward his servants, especially toward Heathcliff. Catherine continues to spend time with Edgar Linton, and she behaves like a proper lady while with him. However, when she is with Heathcliff, she acts as she always has.
One afternoon, when Heathcliff confronts Catherine about the amount of time she spends with Edgar, she replies that Heathcliff is ignorant and dull. At that moment, Edgar enters—without Isabella—and Heathcliff leaves the room.
Nelly now leaves them alone and interrupts them only to tell them that Hindley has arrived home. When she next enters the room, she can tell that Catherine and Edgar have confessed their love for one another.
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Wuthering Heights Summary Chapter 9:

Later that evening, Catherine seeks out Nelly in the kitchen and confides to her that Edgar has asked her to marry him and that she has accepted. Unnoticed by the two women, Heathcliff listens to their conversation. Heathcliff hears Catherine telling Nelly that she cannot marry him because to marry him would be to degrade herself. Heathcliff leaves the kitchen in rage.
That night, Heathcliff runs away from Wuthering Heights. Catherine spends the night outdoors in the rain, sobbing and searching for Heathcliff. She catches a fever, and soon she nears death. The Lintons take her to Thrushcross Grange and Catherine recovers. However, both Mr. and Mrs. Linton become infected and soon die. Three years later, Catherine and Edgar marry. Nelly transfers to Thrushcross Grange to serve Catherine, leaving Hareton in the care of Hindley and Joseph.

Wuthering Heights Summary Chapter 10:

Lockwood summons Nelly Dean again and demands to know the rest of her story. How did Heathcliff make his fortune and acquire both Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange? Nelly says that she doesn’t know how Heathcliff spent the three years that he was away and that it was at this time that he acquired his wealth. But she agrees to continue with her tale.
About six months after Catherine’s marriage to Edgar Linton, Heathcliff comes to Thrushcross Grange and surprises Nelly. When he comes indoors, Catherine becomes almost giddy with happiness at the sight of him, and their affection for one another makes Edgar uncomfortable and jealous. Heathcliff has grown into a polished, gentlemanly, and physically impressive man.
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He announces that Hindley has invited him to stay at Wuthering Heights.
Catherine and Isabella begin to visit Wuthering Heights quite often, and Heathcliff returns the favor by calling at Thrushcross Grange. Isabella begins to fall in love with Heathcliff.

Wuthering Heights Summary Chapter 11:

The next day, at Thrushcross Grange, Nelly observes Heathcliff embracing Isabella. In the kitchen, Catherine demands that Heathcliff tell her his true feelings about Isabella. He says that Catherine has wronged him by marrying Edgar and that he intends to exact revenge. Nelly informs Edgar of the encounter occurring between Catherine and Heathcliff in the kitchen, and Edgar storms in and orders Heathcliff to leave his property.
In a rage, Edgar declares that Catherine must choose between Heathcliff and himself. Catherine refuses to speak to him, locking herself in a room and refusing to eat. Two days pass in this way, and Edgar warns his sister Isabella that if she pursues Heathcliff, he will cast her out of the Linton family.

Wuthering Heights Summary Chapter 12:

At last, Catherine permits the servants to bring her food. She believes that she is dying, and cannot understand why Edgar has not come to her. She speaks about her childhood with Heathcliff on the moors. From the window, she believes she can see Wuthering Heights. Catherine says that even though she will die, her spirit will never be at rest until she can be with Heathcliff. Edgar arrives and is shocked to find Catherine in such a weak condition. Nelly goes to fetch a doctor.
That very night, Isabella and Heathcliff elope. Edgar declares that Isabella is now his sister only in name.

Wuthering Heights Summary Chapter 13:

Edgar and Nelly spend two months nursing Catherine. Catherine learns that she has become pregnant. Six weeks after Isabella and Heathcliff’s marriage, Isabella sends a letter to Edgar begging his forgiveness.

When Edgar ignores her pleas, she sends a letter to Nelly, describing her horrible experiences at Wuthering Heights. In her letter, she explains that Hindley, Joseph, and Hareton have all treated her cruelly and that Heathcliff declares that since he cannot punish Edgar for causing Catherine’s illness, he will punish Isabella in his place.
Isabella also tells Nelly that Hindley hopes that somehow he will be able to obtain Heathcliff’s vast fortune for himself. Isabella says that she has made a terrible mistake. She begs Nelly to visit her at Wuthering Heights.

Wuthering Heights Summary Chapter 14:

Nelly grants Isabella’s request and goes to Wuthering Heights. When Nelly arrives, Heathcliff presses her for news of Catherine and asks if he may come and see her. Nelly refuses to allow him to come to Thrushcross Grange.
Heathcliff threatens that he will hold Nelly a prisoner at Wuthering Heights and go alone. Terrified, Nelly agrees to carry a letter from Heathcliff to Catherine.
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Wuthering Heights Summary Chapter 15:

Four days after visiting Wuthering Heights, Nelly waits for Edgar to leave for church, and then takes the opportunity to give Heathcliff’s letter to the ailing Catherine. Catherine has become so weak that she cannot even hold the letter. When Nelly tells her that it is from Heathcliff, Heathcliff himself enters the room.
Heathcliff and Catherine enter into a conversation during which Catherine claims that both Heathcliff and Edgar have broken her heart. She says that she cannot bear dying while Heathcliff remains alive and that she never wants to be apart from him. She begs his forgiveness. He says that he can not forgive her for the pain she has caused him.
Edgar reaches the house from church, but Catherine pleads with Heathcliff not to leave. He promises to stay by her side. As Edgar hurries toward Catherine’s room, Nelly screams, and Catherine collapses. Heathcliff catches her. Nelly hurries Heathcliff out of the room, promising to send him word about Catherine’s condition in the morning. Heathcliff swears that he will stay in the garden.

Wuthering Heights Summary Chapter 16:

At midnight, Catherine gives birth to young Catherine two months prematurely. Catherine dies within two hours of giving birth. When Nelly goes to tell Heathcliff what has happened, he seems to know already. He curses Catherine for the pain she has caused him. He pleads with her spirit to haunt him for the rest of his life.

At one point, Edgar leaves, and Nelly permits Heathcliff a moment alone with the body. Later on, Nelly finds that he has opened the locket around her neck and replaced a lock of Edgar’s hair with a lock of his own.
Nelly tells Lockwood that now, years later, Edgar lies buried beside Catherine.

Wuthering Heights Summary Chapter 17:

Not long after the funeral, Isabella arrives at Thrushcross Grange. She has come to ask Nelly for help. Isabella reports that the conflict between Hindley and Heathcliff has become violent. She tells Nelly that Hindley planned to shoot Heathcliff.
Isabella warned Heathcliff about Hindley’s plan. Hindley aimed his gun at Heathcliff but Heathcliff fired it back at Hindley and wounded him. Heathcliff also beat him severely. The next morning they began fighting again. Isabella fled to Thrushcross Grange, seeking a permanent refuge from Wuthering Heights.
Soon after her visit to Nelly, Isabella leaves for London. There she gives birth to Heathcliff’s son, Linton. Isabella corresponds with Nelly throughout the following twelve years. Heathcliff learns of his wife’s whereabouts, and of his son’s existence, but he doesn’t pursue either of them. Isabella dies when Linton is twelve years old.
Six months after Catherine’s death, Hindley dies. Nelly returns to Wuthering Heights to bring young Hareton back to Thrushcross Grange. She is shocked to learn that Hindley died deeply in debt and that Heathcliff, who had lent Hindley large amounts of money to supply his gambling addiction, now owns Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff does not allow Hareton to return to Thrushcross Grange with Nelly, saying that he plans to raise him on his own. He also says that he plans to recover his son Linton.

Wuthering Heights Summary Chapter 18:

Catherine’s daughter Young Catherine grows up at Thrushcross Grange. She grows up without any knowledge of Wuthering Heights. Her father receives word one day that Isabella is dying, and he hurries to London to take charge of Isabella’s son young Linton. While he is gone, Catherine is left in Nelly’s care, and she is able to escape from Thurshcross Grange.

She travels toward Penistone Crags but stops at Wuthering Heights, where she meets Hareton. She begins to like him. She and Hareton spend a delightful day playing near the crags. Nelly arrives in pursuit of her but Catherine refuses to go. At last, Catherine agrees to leave and not to mention the incident to her father.

Wuthering Heights Summary Chapter 19:

Edgar brings young Linton to Thrushcross Grange. Not long after he arrives, Joseph appears, saying that Heathcliff is determined to take possession of his son. Edgar promises that he will bring Linton to Wuthering Heights the following day.

Wuthering Heights Summary Chapter 20:

Nelly escorts the boy to Wuthering Heights in the morning. When they arrive Heathcliff does not even pretend to love his son. He calls Linton’s mother a slut, and he says that Linton is his property.

Wuthering Heights Summary Chapter 21:

One day, when young Catherine is sixteen, she and Nelly are hunting birds on the moors. Nelly loses sight of Catherine for a moment, then finds her conversing with Heathcliff and Hareton. Catherine says that she thinks she has met Hareton before and asks if Heathcliff is his father. Heathcliff says no, but that he does have a son back at the house. He invites Catherine and Nelly to pay a visit to Wuthering Heights to see the boy.
At Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff tells Nelly that he hopes Catherine and his son will be married someday. Catherine tells her father about her visit and demands to know why he has kept her relatives secret. Edgar tries to explain, and eventually, Catherine comes to understand his hatred for Heathcliff. Catherine keeps exchanging letters with the boy secretly. Nelly discovers the correspondence and destroys Linton’s letters to her.

Wuthering Heights Summary Chapter 22:

Edgar’s health begins to fail and he spends less time with Catherine.
Suddenly Heathcliff appears, telling Catherine that it was cruel of her to break off her correspondence with Linton.

He accuses her of playing with his son’s affections, and he urges her to visit Linton the following week. He claims that Linton may be dying of a broken heart. Catherine believes him and convinces Nelly to take her to Wuthering Heights the next morning.

Wuthering Heights Summary Chapter 23:

The following morning, Catherine and Nelly ride in the rain to Wuthering Heights. Linton speaks to Catherine about the possibility of marriage. Linton begins to cough and says that Catherine injured his already fragile health. He fills Catherine with guilt and requests that she nurse him back to health herself.

Wuthering Heights Summary Chapter 24:

Catherine returns to Wuthering Heights a few days later. She tells him that she will never visit him again. Nelly reveals the girl’s secret to Edgar. Edgar immediately forbids her from visiting Linton again, but he agrees to invite Linton to come to Thrushcross Grange.

Wuthering Heights Summary Chapter 25:

At this point, Nelly interrupts her story to explain to Lockwood its chronology: the events that she has just described happened the previous winter, only a little over a year ago. He urges Nelly to continue and she obliges.
Young Catherine agrees to abide by her father’s wishes and stops visiting Linton. Edgar’s health continues to fail, as does Linton’s. Eventually, Edgar agrees to allow Catherine to meet Linton, not at Wuthering Heights, but on the moors.

Wuthering Heights Summary Chapter 26:

When Catherine and Nelly ride to their meeting with Linton, they do not find him in the agreed-upon spot. He appears frail and weak, but he insists that his health is improving. At the end of their visit, Catherine agrees to meet Linton again on the following Thursday.

Wuthering Heights Summary Chapter 27:

During the next week, Edgar’s health grows consistently worse. Worried for her father, young Catherine only reluctantly rides to her meeting with Linton on the moors. Nelly comes with her.

The cousins talk, and Linton seems even more nervous than usual. He reveals that his father is forcing him to marry Catherine and that he is terrified of what Heathcliff will do if Catherine rejects him. Heathcliff arrives on the scene and questions Nelly about Edgar’s health. Heathcliff asks Catherine and Nelly to walk back to Wuthering Heights. Though Catherine reminds him that she is forbidden to do so by her father, she agrees because she is afraid of Heathcliff.
Once Heathcliff has Nelly and Catherine inside Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff locks them inside the house and refuses to allow them to leave until Catherine has married Linton. He allows Catherine to leave the bedroom in which they are locked, but he keeps Nelly imprisoned there for five days.

Wuthering Heights Summary Chapter 28:

At last, the housekeeper, Zillah, frees Nelly from her imprisonment. Nelly searches through the house until she finds Linton. Linton tells her that Catherine is locked away in another room. The two are now husband and wife. Linton claims that all of Catherine’s possessions are now his, as Edgar is dying quickly.
Nelly hurries back to Thrushcross Grange. Here, she tells the dying Edgar that Catherine is safe and will soon be home. She sends a group of men to Wuthering Heights to retrieve Catherine, but they fail in their task. Edgar plans to change his will, placing Catherine’s inheritance in the hands of trustees and thus keeping it from Heathcliff. He summons Mr. Green, his lawyer, to Thrushcross Grange. Nelly hears someone arriving and believes it to be Mr. Green, but it is Catherine. Thus Edgar sees his daughter once more before he dies, believing that his daughter is happily married to Linton. Edgar is buried in the churchyard next to his wife.

Wuthering Heights Summary Chapter 29:

Heathcliff appears at Thrushcross Grange shortly after the funeral in order to take young Catherine to her new home. He tells her that he has punished Linton for having helped her escape, and says that she will have to work as a servant at Wuthering Heights.
As Catherine is packing her things, Heathcliff tells Nelly his astonishing deed of the day before. While the sexton was digging Edgar’s grave, Heathcliff had told him to remove the earth from his beloved Catherine and he opened her coffin to gaze upon her face.

He says that he forced the sexton to remove one whole side of her coffin and that when he dies, he and Catherine might mingle in the earth. Heathcliff tells her that Catherine’s ghost has tormented him every night for the last eighteen years.
As they leave, Catherine asks Nelly to visit her soon, but Heathcliff tells Nelly that she must never call at Wuthering Heights.

Wuthering Heights Summary Chapter 30:

Nelly has not seen Catherine since she left, and her only source of information about her is Zillah. Zillah says that Heathcliff refused to allow anyone at Wuthering Heights to be kind or helpful to Catherine after her arrival and that Catherine tended to Linton by herself until the day he died. Since Linton’s death, Catherine has remained aloof from Zillah and from Hareton.
Writing in his diary, Lockwood says that this is the end of Nelly’s story. He writes that he plans to ride out to Wuthering Heights and to inform Heathcliff that he will spend the next six months in London.

Wuthering Heights Summary Chapter 31:

Lockwood travels to Wuthering Heights to end his tenancy at the Grange. He brings young Catherine a note from Nelly. Hareton has been struggling to learn to read and to acquire an education.
Heathcliff returns. Lockwood passes a cheerless meal with Heathcliff and Hareton and then departs. As he leaves, he considers what a bleak place it is, full of dreary people.

Wuthering Heights Summary Chapter 32:

About six months later, Lockwood pays a visit to Nelly at Thrushcross Grange but discovers that she has moved back to Wuthering Heights. He rides to Wuthering Heights.
Catherine has admitted to Nelly that she feels guilty for having mocked Hareton’s attempt to learn to read. At first, Hareton and Catherine quarrel, but they finally patch up and agree to get along. To show her goodwill, Catherine gives Hareton a book. She promises to teach him to read and never to mock him again. Nelly says that the two young people have gradually grown to love and trust each other and that the day they are married will be her proudest day.

Wuthering Heights Summary Chapter 33:

At breakfast, Catherine and Heathcliff argue over her inheritance and her relationship with Hareton. Heathcliff seizes her and nearly strikes her, but he suddenly lets her go as if he is reminded of her mother.

Nelly tells Lockwood that so many reminders of the dead Catherine seem to have changed Heathcliff. In fact, he has confided to Nelly that he no longer has the desire to carry out his revenge on young Catherine and Hareton.

Wuthering Heights Summary Chapter 34:

As time passes, Heathcliff becomes more and more solitary and begins to eat less and less. He refuses all food. He also insists that he be left alone. He seems to see an apparition before him and to communicate with it, though Nelly can see nothing.
Heathcliff’s behavior becomes very strange; he begins to murmur Catherine’s name. He insists that Nelly remember his burial wishes. Soon, Nelly finds him dead. She tells Lockwood that young Catherine and Hareton shall soon marry. They will wed on New Year’s Day and move to Thrushcross Grange.
The young lovers now return to the house from outside, and Lockwood feels a huge desire to leave. He hurriedly exits through the kitchen. He goes to the churchyard where he discovers the graves of Edgar, Catherine, and Heathcliff. The villagers claim that they have seen Heathcliff’s ghost wandering about in the company of a second spirit.

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