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We meet Catherine when Lockwood reads her journal entries. She has scrawled "Catherine Earnshaw," "Catherine Linton," and "Catherine Heathcliff" on her books. Lockwood finds journal entries that describe Catherine and Heathcliff rebelling against Hindley. She writes about their adventures on the moors.
Catherine's ghost (or one in Lockwood's dream) tries to enter through the window of Wuthering Heights. Her ghost longs to come home after being "a waif for twenty years" (3.55). Lockwood cuts her wrist.
A flashback begins when Nelly tells Lockwood Heathcliff's story: Catherine meets her new adoptive brother, Heathcliff, and though she at first spits on him, soon they are best friends—allies against her brutal, envious brother, Hindley.
Catherine and Heathcliff sneak down to Thrushcross Grange to see how the other half lives. She is bitten by a dog named Skulker and stays at the Grange to recuperate. While the Lintons welcome her, they reject Heathcliff as a "gipsy."
Catherine spends five weeks at the Grange and when she returns she thinks she's all that. Having glimpsed the life of a lady, she now clearly identifies with the Linton lifestyle.
The Earnshaws come to visit the Heights at Christmas and Catherine makes cruel remarks to Heathcliff about his being dirty.
Though she is still close to Heathcliff, he has been forced into manual labor by Hindley and forms a stark contrast to the polished, blue-eyed Edgar Linton.
Catherine gets a visit from Edgar. She causes a scene in front of him, pinching and slapping Nelly and then boxing him on the ear. Moments later, they confess themselves lovers.
Catherine confesses to Nelly that though she feels one with Heathcliff ("Nelly, I am Heathcliff " [9.101]), it would degrade her to marry him. Since Edgar has proposed, and he's rich and handsome, she will marry him and become "the greatest woman in the neighbourhood" (9.59).
Heathcliff runs away and Catherine comes down with one of her fevers. She recuperates at Thrushcross Grange.
Catherine and Edgar marry.
Heathcliff returns and sneaks over to the Grange to visit Catherine. She is happy to see him but chastises him for disappearing for three years. (Never mind that she married someone else.)
Catherine finds out that Isabella has a crush on Heathcliff. She warns each of them about the other.
Catherine and Heathcliff quarrel about her mistreatment of him. He says he has every right to kiss Isabella (so you know he's going to go for it).
Heathcliff and Edgar fight. Heathcliff takes off and Catherine locks herself in her room. She is angry that Edgar is not more concerned and has hallucinations about turkey feathers and her childhood.
Isabella and Heathcliff disappear for two months. In the meantime, Catherine gets a brain fever. Nelly predicts that she is "one doomed to decay" (15.6).
Catherine receives a letter from Heathcliff. He comes to visit her on her deathbed.
A long, tortured goodbye ensues, in which they confess their love and make cruel accusations in equal measure. Lots of blame all around.
Catherine gives birth to Cathy. Then she dies.
Catherine's corpse sits in the drawing room at the Grange. Heathcliff sneaks in, opens her locket, and replaces a lock of Edgar's hair with his own.