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"Nelly's personality and situation make her an ideal narrator," discuss

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Jorjie Bissell L69 "Nelly's personality and situation maker her an ideal narrator," discuss In creating Ellen Dean's character to be the primary narrator of Wuthering Heights, Nelly adds to the complex narrative frame that Emily Bront� sets up. One reason may be to make Wuthering Heights more realistic and authentic because she was a participant in the past history of the novel. For example she grew up with the characters at Wuthering Heights. She lived with them as a servant, which would have been common in that period of time. Such personal relationships gives her authority in a sense that she is a reliable narrator as she has been there and witnessed situations. Even Lockwood himself entreats Nelly Dean to tell the 'history' of Wuthering Heights and it's in habitants, and so he must recognize her as an insider. The fact that an outsider, Lockwood, recognizes how involved Nelly is with the family and history of Wuthering heights and Thrushcross Grange, make us as the audience develop a respect for Nelly as a story teller because we are outsiders also. We see her as a reliable source of information. Her situation as a close member to the family demands this and her closeness to the family is represented by the informal use of their language to her. ...read more.


But trouble me with no more secrets. I'll not promise to keep them" Here she not only acts as a witness to the plot of the story, but also as a judge or a critic. This is ideal for her narration as the audience can use her opinions to form their own. Although above she states she will not promise to keep the secrets, she then goes on to say: "Is it worth keeping? I inquired, less sulkily" Her suspicious character is useful for that of a narrator, as her being suspicious makes us suspicious, which then results in an effective mysterious mood. We wonder whether Cathy well tell Nelly her secret, and so makes us read on to find out. Also, if Nelly were not suspicious it would be very unhelpful, as we wouldn't hear any gossip that may shape the plot. Nelly Dean never seems to mention anyone else besides the people that the story focuses on. This demonstrates her commitment to the people she serves, her loyalty and often disapproval towards the ways they behave. Her close relationship gives her the right to judge people's actions. She doesn't seem to be threatened by power. Even when Hindly puts a knife to Nelly's throat, she still remains completely calm and does not leave either house from her mistreatment. ...read more.


If she didn't have these close relationships, she would not know what was going on and so would not have the capability of portraying the story. There are many instances where Nelly stirs the plot. There are times when she shows herself as the loving and caring maternal figure. But then shows a self-righteousness indignation that contrasts with her loving nature as someone may be being hurt. In the chapter where Nelly lies to Cathy for example: Cathy tells Nelly of Edgar Linton's marriage proposal assured that Heathcliff is not around because she trusts Nelly who says nobody is there, who knows fully well that Heathcliff is sitting in the corner. Such behavior causes the most emotional turmoil in the whole novel and we could argue that it is all her fault. That Nelly is the cause of Heathcliff's suffering. This is not a good trait for a narrator as we wonder whether she is lying to us in her narration of events as she did Cathy. To conclude I think Nelly is an excellent narrator. Who enables a balance between emotion and her normality. This ties in with the balance motif used in the family tree of both families at Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. Therefore I can say that Emily Bront� develops the same balancing motif in Nelly's character that make her an ideal narrator of the novel, Wuthering Heights. ...read more.

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