Chapter 32


Narrators: Lockwood and Nelly. 

Lockwood travels north and finds himself near Gimmerton. He visits Thrushcross Grange, then Wuthering Heights where Nelly is now living and working. As she resumes her story, he receives news of Heathclifff’s death and sees evidence of Cathy’s softening towards Hareton. Cathy is now 18 and Hareton 23. 


As Lockwood approaches Wuthering Heights, he notices that the gate is open and flowers have been planted. These are clear symbols of change, and this is emphasised when Cathy is seen teaching Hareton to read in a much more affectionate way than before. Books provide a strong symbol of order and reason in this chapter. Nelly recounts how Cathy began to encourage Hareton to read; previously, he had made the running. It is, of course, convenient that Lockwood ‘unexpectedly’ finds himself in the area, but we accept this contrivance as we, like Lockwood, want to find out what has happened. 

To devastate the moors: to shoot grouse and partridges on the moors.

Swells: ridges on the moors.

Hostler: stable man.

Mensful: clean and tidy.

A voice as sweet as a silver bell: the conversation appears to be full of threats, as before, but now it is all playful rather than aggressive, even the ‘smart slap’.

the lowest pit in the infernal regions: Christian tradition, influenced by Dante’s Inferno, saw hell as a deep chasm, with the deepest recesses reserved for the most evil.

Hahsiver: Howsoever / however.

I cannot oppen t' blessed Book, but yah set up them glories to sattan: Joseph wants to read his Bible and condemns Nelly’s folk songs as the music of Satan.

Shoo: she.

he's witched: Joseph cannot understand Hareton’s attraction to Cathy, echoing Hareton’s early description of her as a ‘saucy witch’. 

Oh, Lord, judge 'em, for there's norther law nor justice among wer rullers!: Joseph echoes the language of the Psalms, many of which call for God’s justice in the face of human injustice. Wer: our.

Heathcliff dead?: we are told quite quickly that Heathcliff has died, but must wait to hear the circumstances. 

Jocks: provisions, supplies.

Shoon: the archaic plural of ‘shoe’.

Mitch: much.

I thank you, and beg you to forgive me: Cathy breaks the novel’s cycle of retaliation by taking the steps taught by the Bible - a) listening to her conscience b) repenting of her behaviour c) confessing her fault and d) asking forgiveness.

spread his large Bible on the table, and overlaid it with dirty bank-notes: This is a vivid image of Joseph’s hypocrisy, and thus a sharp contract to the Christian behaviour of Cathy. Throughout the novel, Joseph has been described as a Pharisee and Brontë’s readers would be familiar with the passage where Jesus rebukes the Pharisees in Luke 16:13-15:

‘You cannot serve both God and Money.’ 14 The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. 15 He said to them, ‘You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts.’ NIV

The intimacy thus commenced, grew rapidly…: the two young people are not perfect, but are both motivated by love.

Investigating Chapter 32

  • Re-read the paragraph which describes what Lockwood sees when he looks in on Cathy and Hareton (beginning: ‘The male speaker…’). List the words used to describe the two young people.
    • Why do you think that Emily Brontë uses these words here?
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