Lockwood and Nelly as the Obvious Narrators in Wuthering Heights Although Lockwood and Nelly serve as the obvious narrators, others are
interspersed throughout the novel-Heathcliff, Isabella, Cathy, even
Zillah-who narrate a chapter or two, providing insight into both
character and plot development. Catherine does not speak directly to
the readers (except in quoted dialogue), but through her diary, she
narrates important aspects of the childhood she and Heathcliff shared
on the moors and the treatment they received at the hands of Joseph
and Hindley. All of the voices weave together to provide a choral
narrative. Initially, they speak to Lockwood, answering his inquiries,
but they speak to readers, also, providing multiple views of the
tangled lives of the inhabitants of Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering
Brontë appears to present objective observers, in an attempt to allow
the story to speak for itself. Objective observations by outsiders
would presumably not be tainted by having a direct involvement;
unfortunately, a closer examination of these two seemingly objective
narrators reveals their bias.
For example, Lockwood's narrative enables readers to begin the story
when most of the action is already completed. Although the main story
is being told in flashback, having Lockwood interact with Heathcliff
and the others at Wuthering Heights immediately displaces his
objectivity. What he records in his diary is not just what he is being
told by Nelly but his memories and interpretation of Nelly's tale.
Likewise, Nelly's narrative directly involves the reader and engages
them in the action. While reporting the past, she is able to
foreshadow future events, which builds suspense, thereby engaging
readers even more. But her involvement is problematic because she is
hypocritical in her actions: sometimes choosing Edgar over Heathcliff
(and vice versa), and at times working with Cathy while at other times
betraying Cathy's confidence. Nonetheless, she is quite an engaging
storyteller, so readers readily forgive her shortcomings.
Ultimately, both Lockwood and Nelly are merely facilitators, enabling
readers to enter the world of Wuthering Heights. All readers know more
than any one narrator, and therefore are empowered as they read.
I am too weak to read; yet I feel as if I could enjoy something
interesting. Why not have Mrs. Dean to finish her tale.
and earlier, at the beginning of the novel:
There has been much discussion by critics surrounding the intentions
of Emily Brontë in her creation of this complicated and confusing
narrative technique. It has been speculated that Brontë choose this