Chapter 30


Narrators: Nelly, then Zillah; back to Lockwood’s narration at the end of the chapter.

Nelly has not managed to see Cathy, but has been informed of developments by Zillah. Heathcliff refuses to send for a doctor and Linton dies, and Cathy takes to her room for a fortnight. Everything has been left to Heathcliff in Linton’s will. Hareton is interested in Cathy but she returns no kindness. She grows more and more bitter against her situation and her captors. And so Nelly’s story ends. Lockwood decides to tell Heathcliff that he will spend the next six months in London. 


Here we have a mixture of narrators. Zillah fills in information that Nelly could not know. The situation as it stands is the one that Lockwood encountered in Chapter 1. Hareton’s regard for Cathy is again brought to our attention. This is an important element of the novel’s structure as we move towards its conclusion.

Thrang: busy.

His life is not worth a farthing: now that Heathcliff has what he wanted from Linton, he is willing to let his own son die.

Moaned hisseln: pitied himself.

Kenneth: the local doctor.

Fain: glad.

I always refused to meddle: Zillah’s lack of compassion helps readers see Nelly in a better light, in spite of her ‘meddling’.

He’s safe and I’m free: death is an escape for Linton. 

Quaker: member of a religious group known partly for wearing plain clothing.

chapel … kirk: There was a sharp demarcation between those who went to the established Anglican church (here given its northern dialect variant, ‘kirk’) and those who went to non-conformist chapels. See Churchmanship in England

Methodists: a Christian denomination established by John Wesley.

Baptists: a Christian denomination which, in common with some other Christians,  believes in baptising adults rather than infants.

Moses with the ten commandments by Rembrandtshe had been always used to see the Sabbath respected: The fourth of the Ten Commandments (found in Exodus 20:2-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21) was:

8'Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9Six days you shall labour and do all your work, 10but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work … 11For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. NIV

Typically Christians at the time of the novel would go to church and Sunday-school, read their Bible at home, dress smartly and refrain from any work or other entertainments.

he wanted to be presentable .. I offered to help: This situation echoes Nelly helping Heathcliff to ‘scrub up’ in order to impress Catherine.

I should love well to bring her pride a peg lower: Zillah reminds us that Cathy has things to learn from Hareton, not just the other way around.

Starved: very cold.

Such a taking: such a state.

Stalled of: fed up of.

But the frost had set in: a good example of the use of weather terms to describe characters and their relationships.

Curl back: answer back.

the more hurt she gets, the more venomous she grows: the pattern of depravity at the Heights repeats itself.

Investigating Chapter 30

  • How successfully do you think that Brontë covers parts of the story which Nelly cannot know about, such as in this chapter?
  • ‘He’s safe and I’m free’. From what does Cathy see herself as free?
  • Read the paragraph beginning, ‘That were a great advance for the lad.’ Pick out five key words or phrases.
    • What impression of the two characters and their relationship do these key words give you?
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