This edited article about Wuthering Heights originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 731 published on 17 January 1975.
Never did an act of kindness bring more unhappiness and tragedy than when the little gipsy-like boy was taken from the slums of Liverpool by Mr. Earnshaw to live with his family at Wuthering Heights.
They called the boy Heathcliff – the name of a son who had died in infancy – and it was the only name he ever had. The streak of wildness in him found understanding in Earnshaw’s daughter Cathy.
Cathy and Heathcliff loved the freedom of the moors and would wander there for hours.
But Hindley, Cathy’s brother, was jealous of the wait who had won his father’s love and affection. Over the years his jealousy grew.
When Mr. Earnshaw died and Hindley brought his bride home to Wuthering Heights, she too disliked Heathcliff.
Through it all, Cathy’s affection was the only thing that sustained him.
Hindley, embittered by the loss of his wife soon after the birth of his son. Hareton, became even more harsh and unrelenting. One night he locked Heathcliff and Cathy out of the house.
They went to nearby Thrushcross Grange, comfortable home of the Linton family who took Cathy in, but not Heathcliff.
Cathy stayed five weeks at the Grange, making friends with the Linton children, Edgar and Isabella.
When Edgar Linton asked her to marry him she was dazzled by the prospect, although she knew that she still loved Heathcliff.
Heathcliff went away, determined to better himself, but only as a means of revenge on Edgar Linton and Hindley Earnshaw. When he returned he had achieved some education and become a skilled gambler.
Now his revenge began. He won money from Hindley – and eloped with Edgar’s sister Isabella. But it was a marriage of spite, and he found no happiness.
Isabella left him, taking her son Linton with her.
Cathy, meanwhile, worn by the hatred and friction around her, became broken in spirit, and after the birth of her daughter, also named Catherine, she died.
Gambling and drinking brought about the death of Hindley Earnshaw – but not before he had gambled away Wuthering Heights to Heathcliff.
But Heathcliff wanted the complete destruction of the Earnshaw family. That he did not achieve, for death struck again – and this time the victim was Heathcliff.
When finally Hareton Earnshaw married the young Catherine, Wuthering Heights found peace.
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