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Nelly Dean, The Narrator Of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights

947 words - 4 pages

Wuthering Heights: Nelly the Narrator     


Emily Bronte wrote the book Wuthering Heights from the narrative point of view of Nelly, a servant who lived most of her life with Catherine. Many have questioned why Bronte would do so.  Why did she not choose someone with more knowledge? Why did she not choose a major character like Heathcliff or Catherine?  The choice to make Nelly the narrator is what makes the book so great. She is one who qualifies most to be the narrator.

            This book is very much about love and hate, and Nelly is the one who is totally un-opinionated about the characters.  She was like a mother figure, always there for everybody, and listened to them.  That is what made her a good narrator because she always knew how everyone felt.  She lived At Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange all her life, and experienced the first and second generation, therefore she knew exactly what went on.  If Heathcliff was the narrator, you would not know how Isabella or Edgar felt due to their lack of communication or friendship.  Although Heathcliff's opinion’s are valuable, Nelly's knowledge is more valuable because she got along with and talked to everybody. 

            Nelly never really had a life of her own because she lived at Wuthering Heights all her life.  Therefore, Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange were her life.  Nelly was more than a servant, and had a personal relationship with most of the characters. This  is why her story is so efficient, and her lack of knowledge not as important.  She really loved them, and she shows it when she says, "I kissed Hareton good-bye; and since then he has been a stranger: and it's queer to think it, but I've no doubt he has completely forgotten all about Ellen Dean, and that he was ever more than all the world to her and she to him!" (Wuthering Heights Pg. 81)  Hareton probably does not remember her, which shows the lack of appreciation everyone had for her.  No one praised her like

 Heathcliff and Edgar praised Catherine, but no one hated her like Hindly hated

 Heathcliff.  In fact, she was the "middle man" that made the transition from  Wuthering Heights to Thrushcross Grange so smooth.  If she had not been the narrator we would not know what went on at Thrushcross Grange.  Nelly manages to know what went on at Wuthering Heights because of her good relationship with everyone.  So, even though Nelly was not present there, she still had the capabilities to know what was going on. 

            Though the story does not contain a specified “mother figure”, Nelly's role implies just that.  Oddly, every time a lad was born, the mother died during the birth....

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