"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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Antonia French        Page

“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.

Lockwood is the first person to narrate the story of “Wuthering Heights” in the novel, he is easily identifiable with the reader as he is thrown in at the deep end of the events of “Wuthering Heights” a place which is perplexing and intimidating. He like the reader is an outsider to the story, he creates the main frame work of the novel and draws the reader in, and this allows the reader to judge the events from within the “Heights”. The novel begins at a point where the story itself is nearly completed; therefore a full explanation is necessary from Nelly Dean. The reader is like Lockwood as they are direct recipients of Nelly’s narrative. However, the judgements of Lockwood are soon learned by the reader not always to be trusted; he himself is not a good judge of character and seems very naive. Lockwood first meets Heathcliff in chapter one where he describes him as being a “capitol fellow” we later learn however that Heathcliff is anything but a “capitol fellow”. Therefore leaving the reliability of Lockwood as a narrator questionable.

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Nelly Dean is the most prominent narrator in the novel; she narrates the story of “Wuthering Heights” to Lockwood with great detail and as vividly as if it were yesterday, when in fact many of the events occurred years before. Nelly shapes the readers perceptions of the other characters and uses the actual words of other characters in the novel to foretell the story, making use of other narrators. Nelly’s vivid foretelling of the events allows the reader to relive the actual events of the “heights”, allowing the reader an insight to the story. Nelly’s narrative is filled with ...

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