Besides Cathy’s haughtiness, the other thing that bothers me about her is how infuriatingly ignorant she is. I know that she’s being manipulated by Heathcliff, but she doesn’t have to fall for it so willingly. Not to mention how she continually favors Linton despite his atrocious behavior towards everyone including her. Even Mrs. Dean, the most mild-mannered and kind of the characters says the boy’s behavior is so bad that she almost excuses Heathcliff’s treatment of Linton.
It really started to get messed up when Heathcliff wrote letters to Catherine pretending to be Linton. This was ultimately the thing that maintained their relationship, and it wasn’t even real. Unfortunately, when Mrs. Dean found out she didn’t tell Cathy (which, even though I love Nelly, is incredibly stupid), but she did write to him saying, “Master Heathcliff is requested to send no more notes to Mrs. Linton, as she will not receive them” (187).
So, the letters stop, and Cathy becomes more fixated on her father’s illness. However, Edgar eventually gives her permission to return to the Heights. At this point, some time has passed, and Cathy doesn’t have quite the fixation with Linton as she had before. This is only solidified by his behavior (imagine that). I just had to laugh at one scene in the book when Linton kept talking bad about her dad, so she pushed him. This made him fallout coughing and whimpering, but Cathy just said, “But I couldn’t have been hurt by that little push; and I had no idea that you could, either— you’re not much, are you, Linton?” (196).
Even after all this, Cathy still loves Linton and begins to sneak out to see him. Of course she is eventually caught, and finally, Mrs. Dean tells Edgar what’s been going on. It’s unfortunate, but Mr. Linton doesn’t do much about it because of his pity for his nephew and understanding that he’s near death. He tells Nelly, “I’d not care one moment for Linton being Heathcliff’s son; nor for his taking her from me, if he could console her for my loss. I’d not cate that Heathcliff gained his ends, and triumphed in robbing me of my last blessing!” (209). And thus, he allows her to go the the Heights (with Nelly).
This whole time Cathy has been unknowingly aiding in Heathcliff’s plan, and Edgar solidifies it when he sends her up to Wuthering Heights for one of the last times. It wouldn’t make me so mad that Cathy fell for this scheme if it hadn’t been so easy. She was willing to do anything for Linton no matter how he treated her! I guess it’s just a sign of the times (as are many of the things that upset me in this book), but I hate to see her own character and development be put on hold for “love,” especially since he doesn’t reciprocate those feelings.