Wuthering Heights Nelly Dean Research Paper

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Nelly Dean’s Role in Wuthering Heights The absent mother in Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte is one of the most prevalent themes in the book. Many believe that Bronte did not give Catherine a mother because she too did not have a mother. After Cathy is born, her mother Catherine passes away, which is the exact same case that Bronte experienced. After Bronte’s mother passes away, she was raised by a stepmother, which never actually happens in the book, yet is present in some ways. Nelly Dean’s role throughout the book is constant, she is present always as a mother figure, a friend to the characters, and a mediator. Nelly is always the one to try and resolve a fight, always the one to try and resolve a fight, and always the one to offer a…show more content…
Because of the absent mother throughout the entire book, Nelly Dean feels the urge to be motherly with everyone, even though some may be her own age. For example, Nelly is consistently trying to mother Catherine, even though they are within the same age group. Also, Nelly Dean is also thrown aside, as many mothers are. Nelly Dean works hard, and is extremely underappreciated, as is the case with many mother today when their own children grow up and forget to appreciate all of the effort and time they have put into them. Not only is Nelly Dean a mother figure in her older age to Cathy and Hareton, but she always plays the mother to Heathcliff and Catherine, although she is the same age as them. The first obvious place where it is shown that the people do not fully appreciate Nelly Dean is when Hareton is leaving her, and Nelly says; “I kissed Hareton good-bye; and since then he has been a stranger: and it’s queer to think it, but I’ve no doubt he has completely forgotten all about Ellen [Nelly] Dean, and that he was ever more than all the world to her and she to him!” (Bronte 84). She knows that Hareton will probably not remember her, but she still feels an attachment to him and knows that that will never leave her like he has. She is connected to him, but this connection will never be remembered by Hareton although he once felt the connection with Nelly Dean too. This is…show more content…
She offers all of them friendly advice, and is able to act nicely with people her age. As Nelly was a servant to Catherine, and they were the same age, she was emotionally attached to her not only because she grew up with her, but because she loved her and cherished any sort of friendly feelings her and Catherine had towards one another. Nelly Dean is so attached to Catherine as her own friend, that when Heathcliff is first brought home by Mr. Earnshaw in the beginning of the book, she becomes jealous of his immediate connection with Catherine and is threatened by him because she fears her friendship with Catherine might become compromised. When Mr. Earnshaw asks Nelly Dean to “wash it [Heathcliff], and give it clean things, and let it sleep with the children,” Nelly feels hatred toward (Bronte 33). At this point in the book, the narration has been taken over by Nelly Dean, and by referring to Heathcliff as “it” instead of “him,” she makes her feelings toward Heathcliff very obvious. Because she refuses, even in her older age when she is telling the story, to refer to Heathcliff as a person instead of an “it,” she lets on to the resentment and bitterness she feels. Nelly Dean’s place as Catherine’s friend is eventually replaced almost entirely by Heathcliff, and she still dislikes him for it even later on in her

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