Ezra Jennings Character Analysis

Topics: Wilkie Collins, Victorian era, Opium Pages: 5 (1811 words) Published: December 21, 2011
First impressions often predetermine your judgment of a person, without actually knowing the person at all. Such is the case with Ezra Jennings in the novel, The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. Ezra Jennings is a good person but he is looked down upon by Victorian society because of his appearance and his background. Even with society frowning down upon him, and although he does not have the life that he wants, Ezra Jennings proves to be a gentleman who truly values love and friendship.

Ezra Jennings is described to have a contradicting appearance, as Franklin Blake describes when he sees Ezra for the first time (Collins, 330). He is described as a person who has the physique and movement of a young man, but has the face of an elderly man. Blake even goes as far to say that he looks to be the elder when compared to Gabriel Betteredge (Collins, 330). It is then realized later on in the novel, that Jennings is only forty years of age. Jennings says that his elderly face was caused by years of misery in which he had to endure (Collins, 387). The physical appearance is very interesting because it shows a man who is not old, but goes through hardships and pains that cause him to become old quickly. It is interesting that his physique represents his youth, but his face and personality represent someone who wants their life to end.

Ezra Jennings leads a very miserable and painful life. Ezra Jennings is not even his real name. He is not respected by colleagues or society in general because he is different from everyone else. He says that his father was an Englishman, but his mother belonged to a different race[1] (Collins, 379). He also admits to be being a Christian (Collins, 387). Even though he shares similarities with the normal man in the Victorian era, he doesn’t get treated fairly and his opinions and methods carry no value because of the mere fact that he is different. He gets in a fight with two physicians on how to treat Mr. Candy when he is ill, and they end up walking away from the case because he refused to use their methods (Collins, 380). Although he is sad about the life he leads, he never states that he is not proud of it. He even goes so far as to credit his revival of Mr. Candy to his lack of a prosperous life and his lack of friends (Collins, 381). If he had had friends, he wouldn’t have been as scared and determined to save Mr. Candy because he would have friends to go to. It is the fact that he is lonely and an outcast that he is able to save Mr. Candy. Before Jennings’ experiment with Blake, Betteredge refuses to put Blake through the experiment, and they reluctantly accept only because Betteredge knows that he must obey Blake’s orders (Collins, 411)

Ezra suffered from a lethal disease, in which he confides to Blake (Collins, 388). It is because of this disease that he turned to use of the drug, opium. He says that having the disease, led him to the use of opium, and eventually, to the abuse of it. He says that he starts to feel the “penalty” of the drug because his nervous system is failing and he is unable to sleep every night (Collins, 388). He, himself, knows that his end is near, and he seems to embrace it with open arms. He is ready to die, but when he takes up the task of helping Blake reunite with Rachel, he doesn’t give up until the very end of his life.

Aside from the fact that he is not respected by society, he also goes through the loss of his one true love. It is realized that Ezra had to leave his love because of the disrespect and “slander” that he received from his colleagues, and that he didn’t want to put his love through that torture. He thought that she would be ashamed in loving him and it would condemn her (Collins, 387). We later find out that his love’s name is Ella. Mr. Candy heard him muttering her name on his deathbed, as he described in his letter to Blake (Collins, 471).

Although Ezra Jennings faces prejudice every day in his life, and is lonely all the...
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