Wuthering Heights Character Review: Nelly Dean

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about Emily Bronte’s classic novel, Wuthering Heights. Read at your own risk if you are unfamiliar with the either book or the various adaptations.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Wuthering Heights to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

In every madhouse, there is usually one sane person. This person is usually the eyes and ears of audience member or the reader and is the only person who can tell the story without prejudice. In Wuthering Heights, that sane person is Nelly Dean. Nelly is the housekeeper/mother figure who tries to keep the peace in the family. Tries is the key word here.

She introduced early in the story when Mr. Lockwood, the tenant at Thrushcross Grange visits Wuthering Heights to introduce himself to Heathcliff, his landlord. Unable to return to Thrushcross Grange because of the weather, Nelly takes pity on Mr. Lockwood and tells him the story of the house and its former occupants.

As much as Nelly tries to keep the peace and the sanity in Wuthering Heights, she can’t. Not for lack of trying, but because the ones who she gives advice to decide to do what they think is best, regardless of her advice. It is Nelly who Cathy goes to after agreeing to marry Edgar, but not sure that marrying him is a good idea. A generation later, Nelly tries to stop Heathcliff from imprisoning Catherine Linton (Cathy’s daughter) and forcing Catherine to marry Linton.

To sum it up: Emily Bronte was one of the greatest writers of the past 200 years for a reason. In creating Nelly Dean, she understood that Nelly not only needed to be the eyes and ears of the audience, but she also needed to be the eye of the storm that is Wuthering Heights. When a writer creates a world and narrative that is out there, he or she needs to have at least one character who is clear and level headed. It is that character who the audience relies on as the steady, reliable voice of sanity. Without that character, the reader of the audience may not be able to latch onto the story and may walk away.


Thoughts On The Memories Of Princess Diana

20 years ago today, Princess Diana was killed in a car crash. She was 36.

When she married Prince Charles in 1981 at the young age of 19, she looked every inch of the fairy tale princess who had found her prince.

But life, as we know it to be, is not a fairy tale. It is complicated, it contains unforeseen twists and turns and can be heartbreaking.

The thing that I see in the memories of her is a pliable, caring, innocent young woman, who persevered through the sh*t that was thrown at her and learned to not only stand on her own two feet, but also make a life of her own choosing.

In finding her backbone and learning to stand on her own two feet, Princess Diana not only increased her icon status, but also became a heroine to those who find themselves fighting to develop their own backbone.

As many other have said before, if we remember her for nothing else, we remember that she was amazing mother. Her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry have grown into men that I am sure their mother would be nothing but glowing about. As a mother-in-law to Catherine and a grandmother to George and Charlotte, she would have been a light of modernity and love in the darkness of blind tradition.

RIP Princess Diana. Your legacy of love, strength, compassion, and humanity will last forever.

Throwback Thursday-Teacher’s Pet (1958)

In education, there are two ways of learning: there is the education of life and there is the education we receive in the classroom.

In the 1958 movie, Teacher’s Pet, James Gannon (Clark Gable) is a newspaper editor who believes that the only way to learn to become a good journalist is to get your hands dirty and get out on the streets. There is no value in taking any classes in journalism. Then he is ordered by his bosses to help Erica Stone (Doris Day), a journalism college professor to provide professional assistance.

Instead of following his bosses’ order, he pretends to be a student. The problem is that Erica openly dislikes him with a passion, but James is attracted to her and over time, Erica is attracted to him. They also begin to understand each other’s perspective on journalism. The question is, when will James reveal his secret and how will Erica respond?

This movie is interesting to me. One on hand, it is the traditional romantic comedy. But on the other hand the movie asks an interesting question about writing. Does one learn to write by just doing and learning from your mistakes or do we go the traditional route and learn in a classroom?

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Thank You, Ed Skrein

Hollywood whitewashing is nothing new. Audiences have become accustomed to seeing a character of color played by a Caucasian actor. Thankfully, both audiences and members of the Hollywood community have started to speak up and ensure that characters of color are played by actors of color.

Recently, actor Ed Skrein stepped away from the upcoming Hellboy reboot. Mr. Skrein, a white actor from England was to play a character who is Asian.

I say good for him. The reality of our world is that there are people of every color and creed whose stories deserve to be told. The problem is that these people and their stories are not being told or if they are being told, they are not being told as they should. For Mr. Skrein to step away from a role instead of blindly taking it, knowing that the character is Asian, represents a very public first step that will not only change the way Hollywood operates, but the way the world operates.

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