Original Research

Cathy’s mourning in Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights

J. Albert Myburgh
Literator | Vol 38, No 1 | a1359 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v38i1.1359 | © 2017 J. Albert Myburgh | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 October 2016 | Published: 31 August 2017

About the author(s)

J. Albert Myburgh, Department of English, University of Pretoria, South Africa


In Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, illness and death cause characters to foresee, fear and react to other characters’ deaths. In this article, I explore the significance of Cathy’s anticipatory mourning of, and response to, the eventual actual deaths of her ailing father, Edgar, and her sickly cousin, Linton. Core 19th-century perspectives and fears relating to illness and death are both evident and contested in the representation of Cathy’s anxiety and suffering. I also investigate how Cathy’s grief is exacerbated by and affects the behaviour of other characters, notably Nelly, Linton, Heathcliff, Zillah and Hareton. The depiction of these characters’ responses to Cathy’s misery enriches their portrayal, implying that Cathy’s fear and grief are integral to both the novel’s plot and its character development.


Wuthering Heights; illness; nursing; death; bereavement; mourning; consolation


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Crossref Citations

1. Cathy’s Subversive ‘Black Art’ in Emily Brontë’sWuthering Heights
Albert Myburgh
English Academy Review  vol: 35  issue: 1  first page: 61  year: 2018  
doi: 10.1080/10131752.2018.1474623