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A Comparison of Wuthering Heights and Heart of Darkness

A Comparison of Wuthering Heights and Heart of Darkness

Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights and Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness are two similar stories in the effect that they both have dual narrators and that the narrators of both are manipulated to tell stories of similar morals. They differ, however, in the narrative frames, points of view, and some personality traits of the narrators.

The dual narrator arrangement of Wuthering Heights begins with Mr. Lockwood, the naive new tenant of Thrushcross Grange. He seems to be quite the social person and goes to visit Heathcliff who is not so social and actually seems downright inhospitable. Due to weather conditions at the time (which Lockwood was not wise to go out in) Lockwood becomes stranded at Wuthering Heights where he feels quite unwelcome. While spending the night at Wuthering Heights, the curious Lockwood snoops through some books where he find things inscribed by Catherine. He hears the voice of Catherine calling, and calls for help. Heathcliff then runs after the girl who is not in fact a girl, but Catherine’s ghost. Heathcliff embraces this ghost and dies with her in his arms. That pretty much sums up the narrative present and Lockwood’s role as narrator. Out of curiosity (Lockwood’s most important personality trait), he asks Nelly Dean questions about Heathcliff and the girl. At this point Nelly takes over the role of narrator and we shift into the narrative past.

Nelly Dean is quite knowledgeable about Wuthering Heights and the events that transpired there; however, she is blunt and opinionated. She does not fail to mention that he has taken a genuine interest in Heathcliff sinc…

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…ts we learn about Heathcliff’s character in the beginning of the story. In Heart of Darkness we do not find out about Kurtz until the end. In both stories, we depend greatly on the narrators to illustrate the significance of theirs lives. While Nelly was opinionated, she was still able to illustrate the moral of the story as well as the more objective narrator, Marlow. Heathcliff took possession of both the Grange and the Heights, but lost his true love, and Kurtz had fame, jewels, ivory and the gorgeous amazon woman, but not the love of his Intended. The most important similarity, however, was held in common not only by the narrators but by the reader as well. Without curiosity the story of Wuthering Heights would not have begun, Heart of Darkness would not have continued, and the reader would not have held interest in either one.

Marlow and Kurtz in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness

Marlow and Kurtz in Heart of Darkness

Conrad’s novel, Heart of Darkness revolves around the enigmatic character of Kurtz, a renegade that has split from the authority and control of his organization, that wants to put a stop to his extreme measures and “unsound methods” (Coppola, 1979; Longman, 2000). As a result of Kurtz actions, the character of Marlow is sent to retrieve Kurtz from the desolate outback and as the reader we are lead through the involvement of a tension-building journey up the great river Congo. Along the way, Marlow is given bits of information about Kurtz’s actions and finds that he himself identifies with, and becoming somewhat fond of the man. Their relationship and ending moments helps to bring about a change in Marlowe’s very perceptions on colonialism as well as enlightening the reader to various components held within their characters.

By the time Marlow and Kurtz meet, Marlow is already aware of the sim…

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…tz did, and indeed suffer the same fate. Not only did Kurtz lose his life to his beliefs and actions, but he too suffered a degradation of the soul. Marlow returns home, Kurtz spiritually and physically is unable to.

Works Cited and Consulted

Apocalypse Now (1979). Metro Goldwyn Mayer/ United Artists. Video: Prarmount Home Video.

Longman, (2000). The Longman Anthology of British Literature, vol. B. Damrosch, D. (ed.). NY, LA: Addison Wesley Longman, Inc.

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