Catherine Linton

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For her mother, married name Catherine Linton, see Catherine Earnshaw.
Catherine (Cathy) Linton
Information
Nickname(s) Cathy
Family Edgar Linton (father)
Catherine Earnshaw (mother)
Spouse(s) Linton Heathcliff
Hareton Earnshaw

Catherine Linton (also known as "Young Catherine" or Cathy Linton and later as Catherine Heathcliff then as Catherine Earnshaw) is a character in Emily Brontë's novel Wuthering Heights. She is the daughter of Edgar Linton and Catherine Earnshaw, and, despite Heathcliff's attempts at exacting revenge on her for the indiscretions of her family, she eventually marries her true love, Hareton Earnshaw, re-establishing long-lost equilibrium in the story.

Story[edit]


Nelly Dean to Mr Lockwood in Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights

It soon becomes apparent that Heathcliff's plans for their marriage form part of his endeavour for revenge on Edgar and his daughter: Cathy will marry Linton, be it against her will or not. Nelly finds the childish love letters and burns them. Linton's letters, it is implied, are so beautiful that they were most likely written by Heathcliff as a means of drawing Cathy to the Heights.

...yet with touches, here and there, which, I thought, were borrowed from a more experienced source.


Nelly Dean in Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights, p213

The relationship sinks after Nelly's discovery, but it later emerges, to Nelly's considerable horror, that Cathy has been making more visits to Wuthering Heights in their stead.

Edgar presently falls ill with distress, and Heathcliff keeps Cathy and Nelly at the Heights until Cathy finally agrees to marry Linton. Desperate to see her father once more before he dies, she consents, and her fate at Wuthering Heights is sealed. Edgar dies, kissing his daughter on the cheek, knowing that Thrushcross Grange, the Linton household, is now in the hands of his enemy.

Linton, who does not at all resemble his father, but is in almost every way like his mother, falls ill as well and dies shortly after his marriage. Heathcliff forces him in his dying moments to bequeath everything to him, nothing to Cathy. As a result, it seems that Cathy, now cold and distant because of her understandable misery, is yet another character destined for an unhappy ending.

Eventually, however, she and Hareton form an unlikely romance: after long having shrugged off his attempts at winning her affection, she begins to aid him in his education. Heathcliff sees the love between the two blossom and, probably because he has a grudging soft spot for Hareton, no longer takes pleasure in degrading them. Heathcliff begins to see Hareton as an adopted son, sharing a similar life of the poor stable boy robbed of his inheritance and love. He no longer stands between Hareton and Cathy, seeing it as now a pointless endeavour and essentially as revenge against himself, and the two are finally allowed to openly love each other.

Heathcliff dies and is buried next to the elder Catherine. Cathy and Hareton make plans to marry on New Year's Day, and to reside at Thrushcross Grange.

Description[edit]

Although she is Catherine Earnshaw's daughter, she resembles her father more in looks, with golden ringlets and fair skin. The only qualities that she inherits from her mother are the beautiful "Earnshaw eyes" (which also belong to her future husband, Hareton Earnshaw) and her wayward, mischievous spirit. At first, Cathy is gentle and kind, but a bit snobbish because of her guarded and wealthy upbringing at the Grange, but, when reduced to a life of misery at the Heights, she grows cold, distant and dismissive of everyone around her. It is her romance with Hareton that re-establishes her bubbly personality.