Summary and Analysis Chapter 20



The next morning, Nelly takes Linton to Wuthering Heights. In order to get him to go to a father that he does not know, Nelly makes all sorts of assurances that she knows are not true. When they arrive, Heathcliff refers to his son as "property" and, speaking directly to Linton, refers to the boy's mother as a "wicked slut." Although Heathcliff readily admits he does not love his son, he relishes the opportunity to gain access of the Grange through him. Nelly leaves as Linton cries out, "Don't leave me! I'll not stay here!"


Nelly lies quite easily to Linton and is probably somewhat relieved that she will not have to deal with him. Undoubtedly, raising Linton would be worse than raising Catherine was. As Heathcliff refers to his son as "property," readers may slightly sympathize with Linton's predicament. Heathcliff clearly has no tolerance for his weak offspring, and the fact that Linton's looks favor his Uncle Edgar make Heathcliff hate him even more. The only use Heathcliff has for the "whey-faced whining wretch" is implementing his revenge against Edgar.


trepidation fearful uncertainty.

puling whimpering or whining.

whelp a youth or child; a term usually showing contempt.

victuals articles of food, especially when prepared for use.

mucky dirty.

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