so this is an essay i wrote this morning for my ap lit classi have tried so hard but apparently i cant seem to think or express myself correcly...maybe its because im sick....
its supposed to be on wuthering height and point of view/narrative strucutre
any feedback is appreciated cause i have workd on this the entire morning and cant seem to make it work.....i basically ran out of ideas and im afraid its more plot summary than analysis
When a reader first opens the page of a book, the reader has no idea where that book will take him. Whether he will laugh, cry, or hate, he does not know. After those couple of pages or that first chapter, the reader might know where he is headed. Sometimes, this is not the case. Ambiguity may arise and the reader might be confused as to the direction of the story. A reader of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights might experience something similar when reading the first chapters. Through her distinctive narrative structure, Emily Bronte creates the ambiguity that pertains to the present circumstances at the Heights. The reader has no idea what has happened or what happened at the Heights. Later in the story, her point of view clarifies this ambiguity. The success of Bronte’s point of view in creating and clarifying ambiguity to the reader is achieved through her characters’, Lockwood and Nelly, points of view.
The ambiguity that arises in the introductory chapters is a result of the present circumstances that Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Range, witnesses. At first, Lockwood records his first visit and impression on Wuthering Heights, and there is no ambiguity. However, one night, as he is forced to seek shelter at the Heights, ambiguity arises out of his writings. A family, or so it seems, full of hatred, malevolence, and hostility inhabit Wuthering Heights, “’Mrs Heathcliff is my daughter-in-law,’ said Heathcliff, corroborating my surmise. He turned, as he spoke, a peculiar look in her direction, a look of hatred unless he has a most perverse set of facial muscles that will not, like those of other people, interpret the language of his soul” (13). His first-person accounts make the reader question the inhabitants of Wuthering Heights. Lockwood fails to understand the peculiar situation at the Heights. He is an outsider, and the reasons as to why this family is hateful toward each other are unclear and hard to imagine. More ambiguity arises as the story moves on. When he is at the chamber, he notices several books with the same first name, Cathy, but different last names, Heathcliff, Earnshaw, and Linton (19). After recounting a nightmare to Heathcliff, he realizes that the mention of any of these produces agony in Heathcliff “though why, was beyond [his] comprehension” (29). Lockwood’s first-person point of view gives some insight into life at Wuthering Heights. His experiences serve as a guide to the reader, who just like him, is an outsider to the world of Wuthering Heights. Through Lockwood’s first person point of view, the reader is getting an outsider’s perspective on Wuthering Heights. The reader gets the notion that life at Wuthering Heights is miserable, but is this point of view reliable? As an outsider, Lockwood has no effect or knowledge of what has happened to make the atmosphere hostile and miserable. The reader cannot be assured that life is really as wretched as it seems. There are constant “Why’s” in first chapters, such as “Why does Heathcliff hate his family?” and “Why does he agonizes over a name?” These “Why’s” create the ambiguity of the first couple of chapters, and are later answered through another character, Nelly.
Nelly, the housekeeper at Thrushcross Grange, offers an explanation to the ambiguity at Wuthering Heights through her vivid stories. Lockwood’s increased interest in Heathcliff and the peculiar behaviors of the rest of the residents leads Nelly to recount tales of the past, which then clarify the ambiguity, “Well, Mrs Dean, it will be a charitable deed to tell me something of my neighbours, I fell I shall not rest, if I go to bed; so, be good enough to sit and chat an hour” (35). Nelly, as a housekeeper, is a witness and main narrator. Her stories, which are recorded in Lockwood’s diary and said in first-person, create the image that these events are happening right in front of the reader’s eyes. However, the events that she recalls “…happened last winter…hardly more than a year ago” (256). Her first-person point of view in the story makes her tales vivid and detailed, which in turn give a clear clarification to the ambiguity of the Heights. These detailed stories are full of dialogue, which also offer a somewhat reliable explanation to the cause of pain and hatred. She offers a moderately reliable account because she has not only been a witness to the events but also a participant. Her long life as a household keeper has allowed her to not only know the residents’ deepest secrets and true characters, but she has also participated in the story. She has been with the family through the good and bad times, “The evening after the funeral, my young lady and I were seated in the library; now musing mournfully, one of us despairingly, on our loss; now venturing conjectures as to the gloomy future” (286). Since she can offer some biased opinions into her account, her stories are a bit unreliable. Despite their reliability, Nelly’s stories still have a profound and strong explanation that relies on her familiarity with the characters and events at Wuthering Heights.
Through different narrators using the first-person point of view, Emily Bronte is able to generate and explain the ambiguity that arises from Lockwood’s visits to Wuthering Heights. With a different point of view, Bronte would have not been able to give the illusion that the events, as described by Nelly, were happening in the present, rather than in the past. This “narration within a narration” enables the reader to walk hand-in-hand with Lockwood as both question the motives for abhorrence and evil and also as they learn the preceding events that lead to the unhappy atmosphere.
So, Lockwood and Nelly are the only two narrators, and they both use first person point of view? There is no third person or omniscient point of view in the novel? And the narrative is broken up into two parts, the first by Lockwood, and the second by Nelly? If all this is true, you've covered the essentials, I'd say.
I think you use the word "ambiguous/ambiguity" too often. Not every mystery is an ambiguity. Most novels try to maintain some narrative suspense to keep their readers interested.