The Cathy we meet at the beginning of the ovel is the result of a number of years living under the influence of Heathcliff. As with Hareton the better side of her nature and personility has been subdued and she is presented to us as unmannerly, ill-tempered, unhospitable and shrewdish. Her treatment of Lockwood in the opening chapters exemplifies the depths to which she has sunk, she snaps at im when he attempts to help her with the cannisters and flings the tea back when she discovers he has not been invited. In contrast with this behaviour and the character once described by Nelly is striking. Nelly saw her as having a "capacity for intense attatchment, reminding me of her mother, and still she did not resemble her: for she could be soft and mild as a dove". Nelly also suggested that "her anger was never furious, her love never fierce".
Her marriage to Linton was the turning point in Cathy's development as prior to that Nelly had been somewhat a surrogate mother to her and her childhood revolved around the enclosed pastures of Thrushcross Grange. She had the constant care and love of her father and the undivided attention of Nelly and lived in a world where Wuthering Heights did not exist. Despite this protection and her civilsed background she displayed something of her mother's willful personality as she constantly sought to explore the world beyond the Grange. For her, the distant peak of Pennistone Crag symbolised the outside world and when she finally envagled Nelly to allow her to take her pony beyond the Grange she stumbled upon the world of Wuthering Heights and into the realm of Heathcliff.
Her courtship with her cousin Linton brought to the surface many sides of her personility. She displayed pity, patience and genuine care for Linton but was not above the mockery of Hareton. There is evidence in the novel that Cathy and Linton were not well matched. This is clearly demonstrated in their contrasting descriptions of a perfects summer's day. Cathy, like her mother, sees the outside world of nature as presenting her with an idyllic experience.
Her marriage to Linton was short-lived, thereafter her position in society and within the household of Wuthering Heights deterioated rapidly to the point where we meet her at the beginning of the novel.