Wuthering Heights

PosterĄG Sophia Chen at 15:43:22 4/30/98 from c550-14.svdcc.fju.edu.tw

Nelly's Role
In this novel, Nelly played an important role in contact with Catherine, Heathcliff and Edgar. She is the person who had the most understanding of Wuthering Heights and the Grange. She was the servant of Catherine, Edgar and Heathcliff, also she was the narrator, observer and messenger.
I think Nelly is quite rational and intuitive, she took care of Catherine and did a good job in housekeeping, she was a good servant. But sometimes she was too confident, self-righteous and self-centered. For example when Catherine said it was degrading her to marry Heathcliff, Nelly sensed Heathcliff's presence, but she didn't tell Catherine, thus resulted in the following tragedy. And after Catherine had a dispute with Heathcliff (in chapter 11) Catherine was serious sick and mental disorder, Nelly failed to inform Edgar about Catherine's illness and madness, she thought Catherine was unreasonable and whimsical. She told Catherine that Edgar was continually among his books and his studies occupied him rather more than they ought. She shouldn't say so, since Catherine was serious sick, and these words would make her upset and angry. In her eye Catherine was childish and naughty. She never took Catherine's illness serious, she always thought that Catherine would not die because of her illness. For example, in page 100, when Catherine was sick, Nelly described " she rang the bell till it broke with a twang; I entered leisurely. Catherine suffered pains from her body and mind, while Nelly just took it nothing serious, how cruel she was. No wonder Catherine died Nelly was quite happy and felt released.
Nelly was so limited in her own understanding of Catherine, she never understood Catherine's passionate despite that she had been taking care of Catherine for almost twenty years. When Catherine told Nelly that she really loved Heathcliff, Nelly said it was of nonsense and ignorant of the duties you undertake in marrying; or else that you are a wicked and unprincipled girl. And in page 91, Nelly said " I had little faith in her principles, and still less sympathy for her feelings. Nelly never sensed how strong love Catherine had for Heathcliff, and she never felt pity or sympathy for Catherine. She thought Heathcliff and Catherine didn't fit for each other, because they belonged to different class. She didn't know what Catherine really wanted even she seldom cared about what is in Catherine's mind. She was so self-righteous and self-limited, she should be responsible for one-part of the tragedy.
However, generally speaking Nelly was a good servant, she was faithful to her masters and her work, moreover she took care of Catherine and brought up little Catherine, compared to other servants in Wuthering Heights, she is the most rational servant in Wuthering Heights.


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