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"Different narrators affect not just how we are told something but what we are told" - Discuss the validity of this statement with reference to "WutheringHeights " by Emily Bronte.

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Introduction

"In everyday life, who narrates a story and how, make a very great difference...and the same is true of the novel. Different narrators affect not just how we are told something but what we are told." Discuss the validity of this statement with reference to "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Bronte. Lockwood and Nelly Dean are the two most obvious narrators in "Wuthering Heights", interwoven with Nelly's narration of the story are other narrators such as Catherine, Heathcliff and Isabella. "Wuthering Heights" is created via eyewitness narrations by the characters that play a part in what they narrate. Bronte occupies the reader directly with the feelings and reactions of the narrators; this technique is immediate and dramatic. This then allows the reader to have an insight of their life and events of it from the specific narrator's perspective. Lockwood as a narrator is symbolic of the reader, Lockwood is an outsider to the story and the reader uncovers the story at the same time as Lockwood. The majority of the story is narrated by Nelly Dean a housekeeper at "Wuthering Heights"; she herself plays a part in the story and often interferes in its events. Both could be seen as being unreliable as narrators, Lockwood because he is not a good judge of character and Nelly because she controls the perception of the reader of the various characters and the story itself. ...read more.

Middle

This allows the reader to change their perceptions as if they were physically witnessing it in front of them. The reader feels as though they are a character in the novel witnessing this event, as the actual meeting between Heathcliff and Catherine is not told, as Nelly did not witness it, it is left to the imagination of the reader. At times however Nelly interferes and becomes involved in the action of the novel. She discourages the relationship between Catherine and Heathcliff as when Cathy confesses her love for Heathcliff and then says "It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff..." Nelly "became sensible of Heath cliff's presence". He had overheard how degrading it would be for Cathy to marry him, after which he left. However, Nelly doesn't tell Cathy that he has run off because he has heard this, as she doesn't want their relationship to continue, therefore interfering with the events. For this reason Nelly can be an unreliable narrator, she tells the story the way that she would like Lockwood to see it, discouraging and encouraging relationships etc. This therefore shapes the readers perception of events and not presenting all the facts for the reader to make up their own minds about the events. Initially through Lockwood the young Catherine Earnshaw is brought forward as a narrator. ...read more.

Conclusion

This technique is very useful as it allows the reader a view into the Heights when Nelly the primary narrator is not working there. Isabella is very poorly treated by Heathcliff and Isabella asks "is Mr Heathcliff a man? If so is he mad? And if not is he a Devil?" portraying Heathcliff in a very bad way. This encourages the reader to dislike Heathcliff even more if the reader thought Nelly an unreliable narrator. The statement above is valid with reference to the novel "Wuthering Heights", the initial narrator, Lockwood cleverly draws in the reader, and however the reader is not sure whether or not to trust his judgements of the "heights" as he is not a good judge of character. Other narrators such as Catherine, Heathcliff and Isabella give a different perspective to the reader and add depth to the story. The main narrator Nelly Dean, presents the information is such a way that it reflects her morals and judgements for example the way in which she discourages the relationship between Cathy and Heathcliff. The reader also wonders how bias Nelly is being in her narration to Lockwood as she is very involved in the events of the novel and if an outside omniscient narrator would be more reliable, in accurately telling the story. The narrative techniques employed in this novel by Bronte are very skilful as the story speaks for itself via the characters and the author's viewpoint is not necessary. Antonia French Page1 ...read more.

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