Chapter 5


Narrator: Nelly. 

A description of Catherine is given, including her growing fondness for Heathcliff. Hindley is sent away to college. Mr Earnshaw dies.


This short chapter establishes the character of the young Catherine, and sets up the changes which will follow from Mr Earnshaw’s death.

Hindley was nought, and would never thrive as where he wandered: ‘Hindley was good for nothing, and would never succeed wherever he went.’ This is his own father’s opinion and prepares us for Hindley’s behaviour later in the novel.

Dispute between Jesus and the Pharisees by Gustav DorePharisee: a member of an ancient Jewish sect which prided itself on strict observance of the law. The term Pharisee thus became used for a self-righteous person or a hypocrite.

The little souls were comforting each other … safe together.: The final sentence of the chapter leaves the reader with a picture of innocence and of a traditional view of heaven of which Nelly approves. Later in the novel, Heathcliff and Catherine will not be described as ‘innocent’ and they both have developed very different personal concepts of heaven which are certainly not traditional.

Investigating Chapter 5

  • Pick out the key terms in the description of Catherine in paragraphs four and five of this chapter.
    • Compare this list with the one for Heathcliff in Chapter 4.
  • What picture of religion is given in this chapter, do you think?
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