Chapter 31


Top Withens, possible inspiration for Wuthering Heights location, image available through Creative CommonsNarrator: Lockwood. 

Lockwood visits Wuthering Heights and speaks to Cathy as Heathcliff is out. There is an argument between Cathy and Hareton over books. Heathcliff comes home and Lockwood tells him over a cheerless meal that he is returning to London. 


Heathcliff is ‘restless’ and ‘sparer’ than before, according to Lockwood. We are being prepared for his death quite soon. The most significant aspect of this chapter, however, is the role played by Hareton. He is ‘as handsome a rustic as need be seen’, Lockwood notices. The reader is increasingly made aware of his potential. He makes clumsy attempts to impress Cathy even though she scorns him. He is clearly making some effort to educate himself. It is significant that the interaction between Hareton and Cathy centres around books which are symbols of civilization and learning. We know that when he hits Cathy it is an expression of his frustration at his inability to communicate in any more rational way. 

worthy woman was not conscious of anything odd in her request: In Lockwood’s status conscious world, a servant ought not to ask a master to undertake a task for them.

I'm STALLED, Hareton: Having previously mocked Hareton for his use of Yorkshire dialect, it is significant that Cathy now uses it herself as the most apt way of expressing her feelings. Brontë is moving the two closer together.

Chevy Chase: a famous ballad telling the story of feuding families.

A manual check: a blow with the hand. (Lockwood’s rather pompous language.)

I can hardly bear to see him: Heathcliff sees Catherine in Hareton’s features. Generations echo each other in this novel, and Gothic-style confusions are built between characters.

I never relent in exacting my due, from anyone: here Heathcliff means his rent, but this statement might be applied to everything he does. 

More romantic than a fairytale: Lockwood’s fantasy of being together with Cathy shows that he still does not understand the people of the area. It is his dreams which are the ‘fairytale’.

Investigating Chapter 31

  • Lockwood, as earlier in the novel, tends to assume what other people are thinking or feeling. Find some examples of this,
    • For each example, say whether you agree with his assumptions.
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