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The Reader's Guide to Wuthering Heights

Minor characters

Mr Earnshaw
Mr Earnshaw

The father of Hindley and Catherine, adopted (unofficially) father of Heathcliff.
Dies October 1777.

A strict and grave man with no sense of humour. Nevertheless he is a kindly man who takes pity on Heathcliff when he is found alone and starving in the streets of Liverpool and adopts him as his own son. Unfortunately, he favours Heathcliff above his true son, Hindley, creating enmities which would have long-lasting consequences.

It is a puzzle why he prefers Heathcliff as Ellen says: "I wondered often what my master saw to admire so much in the sullen boy; who never, to my recollection, repaid his indulgence by any sign of gratitude. He was not insolent to his benefactor, he was simply insensible; though knowing perfectly the hold he had on his heart, and conscious he had only to speak and all the house would be obliged to bend to his wishes."


Mrs Earnshaw
Mrs Earnshaw

The mother of Hindley and Catherine. Dies May 1773, less than two years after Heathcliff's arrival.

She is not very happy at her husband bringing Heathcliff back from Liverpool (although this may be due to the costs and difficulty of another mouth rather than any hostility).


Mr Linton

The father of Edgar and Isabella. Dies August 1780

The magistrate and owner of Thrushcross Grange before Edgar. Although he looks down on the Earnshaws and Heathcliff, he is essentially kindly and looks after Catherine when she is caught by the dogs at the Grange. He dies from the same fever as his wife.


Mrs Linton

The mother of Edgar and Isabella. First name Mary. Wears spectacles. Died August 1780

Like her husband, a kindly person who helps transform Catherine from a rough, wild child to a young lady. She has a dislike of Heathcliff. She brings Catherine to the Grange when the girl catches a fever and contracts it herself, dying from it as a result.


Zillah

One of the housekeepers at Wuthering Heights. She starts about July 1799 when the previous housekeeper leaves and finishes January 1802 to be replaced by Ellen (see the table on Ellen's page). She is a stout woman, generally kind-hearted although Ellen called her "a narrow-minded, selfish woman" when she refused to help Cathy. However, she had been told not to by Heathcliff so this was understandable and Ellen learns much of what is happening at the Heights from her.

She plays a minor but influential part in the story when she leads Mr Lockwood to Catherine's room at the beginning


Dr Kenneth

The doctor from Gimmerton, a "plain, rough man", and frank. He is present at several events in the book: Hareton's birth (chapter 8), Catherine's illness (chapter 9), Hindley's death (chapter 17), Edgar's death (chapter 28), and Heathcliff's final days (chapter 34).
(He was probably at other events but is not mentioned). He also treats Mr Lockwood during his illness.

He was a close friend of Hindley's and liked to drink with him for Hindley says in chapter 9 when drunk: "You needn't laugh; for I've just crammed Kenneth, head-downmost, in the Black-horse marsh." In chapter 17, Kenneth announces Hindley's death: "Your old friend Hindley … and my wicked gossip: though he's been too wild for me this long while. There! I said we should draw water. But cheer up! He died true to his character: drunk as a lord."

In chapter 12, he also brings news of Heathcliff and Isabella's late night meeting to Ellen.


Mr Green
Mr Green

The lawyer for Edgar Linton. As Edgar lays dying, he sends for Green to change his will and prevent Heathcliff from inheriting Thrushcross Grange. But Green had sold out to Heathcliff and delays his journey to the Grange. Consequently Edgar dies before the will could be changed.