Unreliable Narration of Wuthering Heights Essay

1451 Words Apr 2nd, 2007 6 Pages
Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights is the story of two intertwined families from late 18th century England through the beginning of the 19th century. Living on an isolated moor, the families interact almost exclusively with each other, repeatedly intermarrying and moving between the manors Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. The reader hears the story from Lockwood, the tenant of Thrushcross Grange, through the housekeeper, Nelly Dean. After he inquires about Heathcliff, his strange landlord living at nearby Wuthering Heights, Nelly recounts her experiences with the Earnshaws, former owners of Wuthering Heights; the Lintons, former owners of Thrushcross Grange; and Heathcliff, a gypsy urchin adopted by Mr. Earnshaw. Nelly narrates …show more content…
Nelly is less of an objective observer and more of a participant in the events she relates than she makes it seem.
Nelly's involvement with the family causes many of the tragic events of the novel. While she tries to portray her function in the story as that of a transparent eye, she has emotions towards the characters that shape her actions and affect their lives. "Hindley hated him [Heathcliff]: and to say the truth I did the same; and we plagued and went on with him shamefully" (39). Her emotions towards Heathcliff lead her to be an accessory to, if not a participant in, his abuse. When they are children, Hindley throws an iron weight at Heathcliff, "hitting him on the breast, and down he fell, but staggered up immediately, breathless and white; and, had not I prevented it, he would have gone just so to the master, and got full revenge by letting his condition plead for him, intimating who had caused it" (41). Heathcliff had threatened to and intended to inform Hindley's father of his cruel treatment. This would have most likely stopped his abuse, ending the chain of events that caused nearly all the tragic events of the novel. It would have made him less likely to degrade to the point where he was not fit to marry Catherine, so they might have ended up together as they seem to have meant to be, leaving him no need to seek revenge

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