The chapter begins with an exact date of ‘1802,’ in September when Lockwood returns to Thrushcross grange, which is reminiscent of chapter one. Bronte uses Nelly Dean to tell Lockwood what has been happening whilst he has been away, who then tells us the story. When Lockwood approached Wuthering Heights ‘both doors and lattices were open’ which immediately shows the contrast to when he had last visited the Heights and the ‘gate was locked. ‘ When Lockwood is in the Heights he over hears a voice ‘as sweet as silver bell’ and then another answered in a ‘deep, but softened tones. This is where he finds Cathy and Hareton, Cathy is giving Hareton reading lessons and Lockwood believes they are in love. When Lockwood finds Nelly Dean, she informs Mr. Lockwood that it has been ‘three months since’ Heathcliff had died and ‘I’ll tell you all about it.
‘ Nelly had been ‘summoned to Wuthering Heights’ as a companion for Cathy, she ‘smuggled over a great number of books’ for Cathy’s amusement since she had been ‘confined to’ the Heights ‘narrow bounds’ and ‘forbidden to move out of the garden. Nelly tells Lockwood that over time Cathy noticed it was wrong for her to tease Hareton for his literacy inabilities. Nelly tells Lockwood that Cathy would try to entice Hareton to read by reading aloud a story and at the interesting parts when Hareton she would pause and ‘leave the book lying about’ but Hareton was ‘as obstinate as a mule’ and proceeded to smoke with Joseph. It was when Heathcliff banished Hareton from the Heights one day that caused an accident which incidentally sparked the new friendship between the cousins.
Whilst Hareton was ‘out on the hills by himself; a splinter cut his arm, and he lost a great deal of blood,’ it was this accident that bound him to sit by the fire until he made the blood up again. It was on Easter Monday that Cathy approached Hareton to say she ‘should like it if we could be cousins’ but Hareton just ‘growled, with uncompromising gruffness. ‘ However, Cathy persisted with ‘Hareton you are my cousin and you shall own me. Nelly concludes her narrative in this chapter by saying that they are well suited since ‘one loving and desiring to esteem; and the other loving and desiring to be esteemed’ Nelly tells Lockwood that she is glad Cathy and Lockwood had not previously meet and become a couple as Lockwood had wished because when they are wed on 1st January 1803, Nelly Dean will be the most happiest women in England because she has watched them come from hating each other to falling truly in love. It has been said that Bronte explores the themes of reconciliation, rebirth and growth through the younger generation.
What do you think the relationship of young Cathy and Hareton offers to the novel as a whole? Young Cathy and Hareton show what the Catherine and Linton could have been like if Catherine had not be driven via social morals, or if she had not stayed at the Linton resident and met Edgar. Cathy and Haretons relationship is significant to the book as it follows the same pattern as the previous generation however, it concludes the novel nicely allowing the reader information of what happens after Heathcliff death, who is the main character.
Cathy did not like Hareton at first which mirrors Catherine’s feelings towards Heathcliff when Mr Earnshaw first brought Heathcliff home with him. When Heathcliff dies Cathy and Hareton finish the novel, their story allows us to find out that Heathcliff was buried next to Catherine, and more details about his funeral. Also we are able to find out what happens to both houses now Hareton is the owner of both, we find out that everyone except Joseph will move to Thrushcross Grange, Wuthering Heights will be closed and Joseph will live in the kitchen, maybe with a young boy for company.
Through Cathy and Hareton’s relationship, the motifs of eyes, violence, books, and barriers become apparent and more obvious. Wuthering Heights was always locked and barred to visitors until Heathcliff dies and Cathy and Hareton is the master and mistress of the house, then the house is always open and welcoming. Cathy and Hareton are not the most important characters in the novel, because they come into the story quite late on, as the reader, we don’t feel as connected with them as we do with Cathy and Heathcliff.
However, when Catherine dies the novel can not end because it is key to find out that she is not buried with the Earnshaws or the Lintons but out in the open over looking the church, her gravestone is plain grey and her grave is half covered with heath, showing she was half Heathcliff. Then Edgar dies and is buried next to his wife Catherine, then Heathcliff is buried on the other side of her to show her conflicting feelings between Heathcliff and Edgar.
Without Cathy and Hareton Bronte would not be able to keep the reader in suspense as much as she usually does because she would not be able to flick between the times as there would be no other stories for Nelly Dean to tell Lockwood. In conclusion young Cathy and Hareton are more ‘gap filling’ characters then vital characters, although it is significant that they get married on new years day to show the start of their new life in Thrushcross grange where Heathcliff can not cause misery.