Structure and Narrative Technique in "Wurthering Heights" and "Return of the Native"

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Thomas Hardy employs an `omniscient' narrator in his rural novel `Return of the Native', as he attempts to mimic classical tragedy by uniting the essential elements of time, place and action. The fact that the novel was originally intended to be of a five book structure, with monthly instalments, ending with a final, devastating climax, coupled with the numerous classical references to "Hades." "Hercules" and "Prometheus", shows even further Hardy's desire to create an immensely tragic novel, void of a desire to please societies middle-class novel reading public. Although it was to be this novel which eventually underwent serious revision, `Wuthering Heights' would have ultimately appeared as more baffling to Victorian …show more content…
One insistent feature of his language in the initial chapters, is the frequent use of guesswork; "I suppose", "perhaps" and "I conjectured." The effect of this style is to focus our attention on the narration itself, as Lockwood struggles to translate his impressions for us. Brontës use of repeated guesswork and hesitancy allows us to remember that the novel is being relayed to us by a struggling, foreign observer. Due to this uncertainty, only a small portion of the story filters through to the reader, and we may expect that the effect of the narrative is rather economical. `Nicolas Marsh' however argues differently in his essay `Analysing Wuthering Heights', as he claims that this lack of information paradoxically has the opposite effect, and that it creates an unlimited, obscured environment for the story itself to be encompassed within.

Nelly's language, on the other hand, can be vividly descriptive, as when she describes Cathy on the moors musing over "a bit of moss, or a tuft of branched grass, or a fungus spreading its bright orange among the heaps of brown foliage." Sometimes her language is not unlike Lockwood's, as she claims Heathcliff's "naturally reserved disposition was exaggerated into an almost idiotic excess of unsociable moroseness." However, once again the narrator's character interferes
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