Chapter 33


Narrator: Nelly. 

As Nelly continues her story, she tells how Hareton has worked on the garden, and how he and Cathy argue with Heathcliff. Hareton is torn between his two loyalties. They spend a lot of time together, as teacher and pupil. Heathcliff is losing the will to fight back; he tells Nelly that he hardly remembers to eat and ‘sees’ nothing other than Cathy and Hareton, though they also cause him ‘pain, amounting to agony’.


The fact that Hareton clears Joseph’s fruit bushes in order to plant flowers is another sign of changing times. Heathcliff is becoming ready for death and is constantly haunted by visions of Catherine. The theme of revenge which has run through much of this novel is fading fast and being replaced by the love between Cathy and Hareton as the most dominant emotion.

the apple of Joseph's eye: This phrase denoting how precious the fruit trees were to Joseph comes from the King James Bible – see Apple of one's eye.

stale t' sowl .. witched our lad: Joseph believes Cathy to be a witch who has stolen the soul of Hareton.

Bud whet: but what.

Riven: pulled.

I’ve pulled up two or three bushes…: the moment when Hareton and Cathy stand together against Heathcliff is prompted by a dispute over their attempt to provide order and beauty at Wuthering Heights; it is also, in a way, a conflict about ownership of the place.

His fingers relaxed… gazed intently in her face: does Heathcliff see her mother in her face, or does he just run out of energy to fight any more? Or are the two things linked?

they both appeared in a measure my children: In a novel where mothers are conspicuous by their absence, Nelly is the most maternal character.

His brightening mind brightened his features, and added spirit and nobility to their aspect: Hareton is able to truly change, as Nelly once advised Heathcliff to do (but his inner nature did not)

Their eyes are precisely similar: Catherine, in a sense, lives on through these two. There is a clear line of descent so that they provide a hopeful ending because they constitute a unified, restored Catherine, rather than being a completely new, separate pair of characters.

12 Labours of Hercules, 3rd century Roman reliefHercules: a hero from Greek legend noted for his strength; he performed a series of difficult feats or ‘labours’.

my mind is so eternally secluded in itself, it is tempting at last to turn it out to another. … a reluctance to be always alone: In a rare moment of vulnerability, Heathcliff confesses his need to share his thoughts with someone he can trust, as well as his need to have some company – he is lonely.

Hareton seemed a personification of my youth: Heathcliff makes explicit that he and Catherine are now being paralleled by Hareton and Cathy. (See Characterisation: Doubling characters.)

Monomania: obsession with one thing only, to the point of madness.

temperate mode of living, and unperilous occupations: it is perhaps ironic that Heathcliff considers himself to have a reasonable and moderate lifestyle (yet, compared to the excesses of Hindley, he does).

Conscience had turned his heart to an earthly hell: in Nelly’s estimation, Heathcliff has become aware of what he has done, and what it has made him into. If we are to see him as a tragic hero then he needs to have this self-awareness before he dies.

Investigating Chapter 33

  • In this chapter, both Cathy and Hareton are compared with Catherine (in the paragraph beginning, ‘They lifted their eyes together…’). Heathcliff comments on this about a page later. Why are these similarities important as we approach the end of the novel?
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