Wuthering Heights comparison Engleby and the Great Gatsby Essay
Wuthering Heights comparison Engleby and the Great Gatsby
When the reader is initially introduced to Lockwood, complex lexical choices such as ‘misanthropist’s’ not only raise the tenor of his narration, but also presents him as quite opinionated and subjective. As the narration continues, declaratives such as ‘[Heathcliff] had an aversion to showy displays of feelings’ followed by ‘I no longer felt inclined to call Heathcliff a capital fellow’, highlight Lockwood’s indecisiveness and suggest that the reader cannot trust his judgement as he is himself unsure of what he thinks and says.
The use of the first person singular pronoun highlights how this is only Lockwood’s opinion, which is similar to the narrator in Engleby who uses the first person pronoun right from the very beginning of the novel, suggesting that his views of the university being ‘ancient’ are purely his own and cannot be generalised. The narrator in Restoration also uses the first person pronoun ‘I’, and in this case it presents the narrator as quite pompous and gives the narration a lofty tone.
Similar to Lockwood, the narrator in Restoration uses unnecessarily complex lexis to talk about uncomplicated issues, such as ‘The messy constellations’ and ‘rubicund and damp’. In addition, in Heller’s Notes on a Scandal, complex lexical choices including pre-modifying adjectives like ‘dishevelled up-dos’ increase the tenor of the text just like in Wuthering Heights and present the narrator as hugely opinionated, being critical about everything just to make herself feel better.
Furthermore, the narration in Wuthering Heights is also presented as quite unreliable through declaratives such as ‘for I hardly knew what to hide, and what to reveal’. This shows how Nelly is deceiving the characters in the novel, and the coordinating conjunction ‘and’ furthers this unreliability. Nelly’s action in hiding things from another character could be considered similar to the narrator in Engleby, who says ‘My memory’s odd like that’.
The use of the non-standard declarative, couple with the use of the contraction lowers the tenor of his speech and at the same time presents him as possibly quite undependable as he may be telling us things that he has made up. Contrastingly, unreliability in The Great Gatsby is presented through an absence of punctuation. The narrator appears to be very controlling of what he says, and only lets us in to discover small areas of his life, thus presenting him as quite untrustworthy.
As opposed to limiting the information that they give, the narrator in Restoration uses parenthesis to reveal extra information to the reader. For example, ‘(an ugly, rather disgusting person, as it happens)’ presents the narrator as self-promoting, as if his humorous asides are simply there because he is eager to please. Parenthesis is also used in Notes on a Scandal, which helps the narrator to put forward her fictitious opinions, and present her personality as one where she cannot go without passing judgement on something.
Although parenthesis is not hugely used in Wuthering Heights, it is used in Isabella’s narration through her letter. However, rather than portraying unreliability, it provides a sense of authenticity as shown through her declaratives such as ‘I must shake his hand and – yes – … ‘. Lockwood’s tone in Wuthering Heights is very confident and subjective, as shown through his speech to Heathcliff at the beginning of the novel where he says ‘I do myself the honour’.
This confidence is similar to that of the narrator in The Great Gatsby who appears to be very confident in what he says, but very different to the narrator in Notes on a Scandal who is instead very bitter and judgemental, as shown through her choice of blunt, dynamic verbs such as ‘raping’ and ‘pillaging’. The tone of the narrator in Restoration is, however, quite humorous. The matter of fact tone not only presents the humour but also presents the narrator as quite egotistical, and the presence of the two makes him seem somewhat unreliable.
At the same time he appears to be quite unsure of what he is saying, as shown through his lexical choices of ‘perhaps’. Similarly, the narrator in Engleby uses the verb ‘I think’ a lot, which presents him as unreliable as the reader is not sure whether he is speaking the truth or not. The tone in Engleby appears to be counteractive, as the narrator describes himself as ‘reserved’ but goes into great detail about things, and at the same time is also quite sociopathic and introspective.
In Wuthering Heights Lockwood alternatively presents himself as the opposite of reserved, though he states that he is through the declarative ‘a man who seemed more exaggeratedly reserved than myself’, which in turn presents him as unreliable as his words do not match his actions and behaviour. Although Lockwood’s narrative in Wuthering Heights is hugely unreliable, he does not appear to suppress information and deceive others, unlike Nelly Dean even though she is part of the events.
This is shown through her use of the third person plural pronoun ‘We were busy with the hay in a far away field’. The narrator in Engleby could arguably also be suppressing information, through the use of suspension marks like ‘… the poetry of Eliot’ and ‘Do you have… Well, like, washing machines? ‘. The hesitation in his interrogative furthers his unreliability as he may not be saying what he truly thinks. The use of interrogatives by the narrator in Notes on a Scandal such as ‘Have you broken your vow…?
Go against her matter of fact style and show how she is in fact not aware of as much as it first seems, thus presenting her as quite untrustworthy. The narrator in Engleby appears to misread situations, considering the university to be ‘ancient’ when everyone else classes it as ‘modern’, which is similar to Lockwood who also misreads situations a great deal. For example, he misjudges young Cathy to be ‘Mrs Heathcliff, I mean’ and that fact that he has so obviously judged her wrongly, presents his narrative and what he goes on to say about a ‘sorrowful sight’ as very doubtful.
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 7 July 2017
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