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Wuthering Heights Essay

1133 words - 5 pages

When initially diving into a novel, it is common knowledge that there is an already preconceived agreement of trust that the reader instills in the story’s narrator. The reader virtually always relies on the narrator to illustrate the story in an honest unbiased manner, but the story teller in Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights appears to break the chains of trust understood by the audience. The novel is heard through the keen ears of Mr. Lockwood who is being told the history of the Earnshaws, Heathcliff, and the Linton family by his housekeeper, Ellen Dean. Establishing herself as the primary narrator, Nelly reminisces upon her experiences at Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. She fails to give Lockwood and ultimately the reader a precise narration of the affairs that took place in the past. Throughout her vivid flashback, Nelly on numerous occasions lessens the impact of her role and participation in certain events to keep her hands clean from the tragedies that more or less ruined those among her presence at Wuthering Heights.
As Nelly Dean embarks on her tale to Lockwood, she is caught uttering the words, “I am to follow my story in true gossip fashion” (Bronte 51). By her own confession it can be inferred that her account of what actually took place could quite possibly be exaggerated to tell a more fascinating version of the truth. It is apparent that Nelly creates the identity of herself as only being a key witness instead of the manipulating agent that she truly is. The fact that she has some sort of interaction with all the characters in the novel makes her more than just an onlooker. Furthermore, one critic reiterates that Nelly is too close to the action and is often up to her neck in the world of Wuthering Heights (McCarthy12) .In the beginning of her story to Lockwood, Shunami implies that, “Nelly Dean already notes the position of equality which she occupied when young, with the owner of the estate's children, In her simple years as adolescent” (7). Nelly is raised among Catherine and Hindley due to her mother’s occupation as a servant of the Earnshaws. Disregarding the notion that young Nelly Dean is not his biological child, Mr. Earnshaw provides her with love which is nearly equivalent to that of his own children. On his course to Liverpool, Nelly states “He promised to bring me a pocketful of apples and pears” (Bronte 28). This act of kindness exhibits Nelly as an active member of the Earnshaw family. In conclusion her close tie to their household gives her the ability to pass judgment on Catherine, Hindley, and the adopted Heathcliff.

Nelly in her mind begins to harshly judge those who could be perceived as her brothers and sister. Consequently, her negative view on the Earnshaw children is the foundation that sets in motion the calamity of Wuthering Heights. In the novel, Hindley is not alone when it comes to detesting Heathcliff; Nelly Dean also expresses her intense loathing of him. She recalls one...

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