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What Is the Storyline of Wuthering Heights?

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In summary, the story revolves around the course of Heathcliff’s short life. After being a servant, Heathcliff runs away when he discovers his loved one wishes to marry a rich man. He comes back, wealthy and well-mannered, and plans to gain revenge on the two families he thought destroyed his life.

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The story opens with Lockwood, the narrator, visiting his landlord at a remote estate called Wuthering Heights, the novel’s setting. There he meets some sullen characters and ends up staying the night. During his stay, he investigates the diary of Catherine Earnshaw. He later sees the ghost of Catherine in the night and is escorted back to his home. The Wuthering Heights caretaker Ellen, tells him about the Earnshaws, who previously lived in the house.

Ellen’s story begins with a young Heathcliff, Lockwood’s current landlord. She describes him disrupting the Earnshaw family after arriving at their home at a young age. Hindley, Catherine’s brother, was sent to college but returned in three years upon the death of Mr. Earnshaw and becomes the new owner of Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff and Catherine grow closer. But Catherine is sent to Thrushcross Grange to learn to be more ladylike. She soon grows close to Edgar, later accepting an offer to marry him, and rejects Heathcliff, seeing him as poor.

Heathcliff departs for three years, returning rich and well-mannered. He takes advantage of Hindley’s addictions, getting him to gamble away his wealth. It leads him to mortgage his property of Wuthering Heights to Heathcliff. He elopes with Isabela, Edgar’s sister. Shortly after, Isabela leaves Heathcliff and flees, moving near London, giving birth to Linton. Catherine dies of her illness, and six months later, Hindley passes as well, leaving Heathcliff the master of Wuthering Heights.

Twelve years later, Edgar discovers that Isabella is fading and attempts to adopt her son Linton. During that time, Cathy meets Hareton in the countryside and finds out about Wuthering Heights. Furthermore, Edgar comes back with Linton, who is visibly weak. Although Cathy finds him attractive, Heathcliff requests to bring his son to the Heights. Three years on, Linton and Cathy start a secretive and irregular friendship. Next year, Ellen and Cathy revisit Wuthering Heights. They become imprisoned by Heathcliff, who needs Cathy to marry his son.

Five days later, Ellen is freed, and Cathy runs away with Linton’s assistance to see her father right before his death. Heathcliff becomes the leader of both Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange, which forces Cathy to let Ellen go. Instead, she starts living with Heathcliff and Hareton. Soon after, Linton dies, and Cathy closes up from the rest of the world. Later in the plot, Lockwood revisits the area and stays at Thrushcross Grange.

He discovers that Ellen is presently residing at Wuthering Heights. Ellen relocated to the Heights shortly after Lockwood had left the place. Throughout this time, Cathy and Hareton become close friends. Heathcliff starts to behave somewhat oddly, having visions of Catherine. He is discovered dead in the room after not consuming any food for four days. Lastly, Lockwood leaves, but he accidentally hears that Hareton and Cathy plan to get married.

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