Emily Bronte's Writing Technique in Wuthering Heights

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A very complex element of Emily Bronte's writing technique is the narrative style she uses when alternating between the two characters of Nelly Dean and Lockwood. Wuthering Heights is a story told through eye witness accounts, first through Lockwood, followed by Nelly. Lockwood's responsibility is shaping the framework of the novel wheras Nelly provides the intricate recount of the personal lives of all the characters having been present first hand. Although, each character does have a different emotion and style.

Having lived through all the action and conflict between the Linton's and Edgar's, and being personally invovled, it can be argued Nelly's narrative is more dramtised. She has been immersed in the intimate affairs of the two rival families her entire life. It is perfectly understandable as to why she is so invovled. At times she encourages relationships,and disapproves of others. She endulges in the romance, firstly, with the love triange between Catherine, Edgar, and Heathcliff, then with Little Cathy and Linton. She supports the love between Catherine and Heathcliff but at other times discourages it when she presents Edgar as a better choice. Then, for quite some time she kept the secret romance between Cathy and Linton a secret from her father only to betray her and inform her father of the affair. She has a very meddlesome nature.

Lockwood's narrative is unbiased. He introduces the reader from the outsider's point of view which creates a mysteriousness about Wuthering Heights and allows the reader to understand the feeling of hostility and conflict. Like Lockwood, the reader is immersed in this unknown place with no understanding of the events that have previously transpired and with Lockwood, the reader disovers the shocking history of Wuthering Heights through Nelly Dean's narration. He is a gentleman from the city who has accidentally stumbled upon this fascinating and intricate world of what he considers to be uncivilized or that which resembles a cozy farm home. Unlike Lockwood's narrative style, Nelly's differs due to her first hand account therefore she can arrange a much more lively recount of their story. She utilizes one thing Lockwood cannot - character dialogue. Her narration is much more interesting and lively as it brings the characters to life.

It is quite interesting how the story basically begins with the ending. Bronte pulls her reader in by describing the eerie feeling of this place and allowing them to experience it through the first hand account of Lockwood. Allowing Lockwood to read Catherine's diary and in addition, when he sees her ghost, creates an intensity which is only understood with further reading of the novel, and therefore creates further anticipation. Having two narrators allows Bronte to move easily through different times and events within the story with ease.

I also wanted to focus on a very crucial aspect to Emily Bronte's novel - the struggle between classes. In fact it is the foundation for all hostility, conflict, and therefore action within the story. Social class is what drives and motivates the characters. The social class system at that time consisted of the working class men and women, who performed physical labor, such as carpenters, street vendors, and sailors. Following was the middle class, whom performend mental work such as clerks, doctors and lawyers. The upper class had wealth gained from inheritance and therefore did not work.

The Earnshaws and the Lintons occupy a space in the high middle class, known as the gentry, although this class had a shifting nature. Their status could change easily. For example, though Heathcliff owned Wuthering Heights and was rather rich, which would generally be considered a Gentleman, his neighbours certainly did not think so. Generally, this would be to the man’s embarrassment but Heathcliff did not care for associations of social status. This is demonstrated most thoroughly in...
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