Chapter 7


Narrators: Nelly and Lockwood. 

Catherine returns to Wuthering Heights, having become a young lady, whilst Heathcliff has become wilder. Their reunion embarrasses Heathcliff. The Lintons visit Wuthering Heights on Christmas Day. Heathcliff, who was supposed to keep out of the way, attacks Edgar Linton after provocation and is locked up. Catherine later frees him and he sits silently, plotting revenge. 


The reader is prepared for separation between Catherine and Heathcliff. There is more on Heathcliff’s desire for revenge. The interruption in Nelly’s account reminds us of the narrative viewpoint.

Settle: a seat with a high back and arms.

How very black and cross you look: Catherine means little by this, but Heathcliff does not know how to respond to a changed Catherine. Things will never be the same again.

Nelly, make me decent: this does not really work; it is a forerunner of the time later when Heathcliff gains wealth and power and tries to impress Catherine again, but it is too late because she has married Edgar. The novel includes a number of such pairs of parallel events.

Never open their windows boldly: eyes are often compared with windows in the novel.

A good heart will help you…: Nelly expresses the view that a good exterior is not the same as a good inside. Heathcliff’s later gentlemanly appearance will not make him kind or friendly.

Without any intention to insult: Edgar’s comment, and Heathcliff’s response, show how these two characters never begin to understand each other.

Isabella Linton had no partner: a foreshadowing of how she feels later which leads her to run away with Heathcliff.

Glees: songs sung in parts.

It is for God to punish wicked people: an expression of the orthodox Christian view. Heathcliff’s response is very different. 

They do live more in earnest…: Lockwood summarises the people of the area well. Unless we accept this, the novel can be seen as melodramatic and unbelievable.

The next summer: Brontë gives us precise dates throughout the story.

Investigating Chapter 7

  • Are your sympathies with Heathcliff at this point?
    • What factors have affected your view?
  • What effect does the background of Christmas have on our response to the events of Chapter 7?
  • What is the reader’s reaction to Heathcliff’s desire to ‘punish’ Hindley?
  • Lockwood comments on the people of the area: ‘They do live more in earnest, more in themselves, and less in surface change, and frivolous external things.’ Does this statement help the reader to believe in the behaviour of the characters?
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