How is Ellen's first hand knowledge of both families so well acquainted with events of the novel?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Nelly Dean is a mainstay in both Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. She has "seen it all" through serving the generations of Earnshaws and Lintons. Fortunately for the reader, Nelly is a regular "chatty cathy" and loves to tell the extended tale of tormented love on the moors.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

When Ellen (Nelly) Dean picks up the narration of the story, it is her familiarity with what happened to both families that gives the story its strength. She's almost always in the position of having to be the bearer of fateful news. For example, she has to tell Heathcliff of the first Catherine's death even though she doesn't want to. She sort of imposes herself into the other characters' lives. She boldly questions Catherine about her reasons for marrying Edgar. At the end, she suggests that Heathcliff should make his confession before dying.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial