By L. Sternlieb
The feminine Narrator within the British Novel experiences first-person narratives and demonstrates that how a girl tells her tale is essential to our knowing of its content material, for a novel's mode of narration usually undermines its ostensible plot. interpreting relationships among the sexes when it comes to battles for narrative authority, Sternlieb argues for a rethinking of the heritage of the wedding plot.
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Extra resources for The Female Narrator in the British Novel: Hidden Agendas
Jane’s description of herself in this scene is a textbook example of a virtuous Victorian woman – silent, obedient, content to know nothing. When Jane arrives at Thornﬁeld, her overactive and remarkably astute imagination is still intact. Her immediate impression of Thornﬁeld’s third story is of “a corridor in some Bluebeard’s castle” (p. 129). And her instant disappointment in Mrs. Fairfax is due to the fact that she seems to have no notion of sketching a character, or observing and describing salient points, either in persons or things … my queries puzzled, but did not draw her out.
Winifred Gérin points to Tabby as quite possibly Brontë’s most important literary inﬂuence: “To Tabby’s doric parlance she owed the homeliness of her epithet in place of the laboured one. ’10 But Tabby and Nelly are also signiﬁcantly different. She spoke in the thick Yorkshire dialect that Brontë reserves solely for Joseph. She entered the Brontë home in her ﬁfties and was seventy-seven when Brontë wrote her novel. It is quite conceivable that Charlotte was thinking of Tabby while reading Wuthering Heights, hence her glowing portrait of a wholly benevolent ﬁgure.
Jane’s narration, written ten years after the fact, does not affect her Nelly Dean: Changing Tactics 41 plot; Nelly’s narrative, told in medias res, can, she hopes, create a different plot. Nelly’s confession is only partly motivated by a need to clear her conscience. She has a more pressing agenda, a new husband for Cathy, a new employer for herself. It will be obvious from many of the passages that I quote that Nelly’s is an unwilling confession. Nelly is wellpracticed at all forms of deceit.
The Female Narrator in the British Novel: Hidden Agendas by L. Sternlieb