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Diana Rybak First Year English Research Paper Final Draft April 30 2001 Servitude during the 1800s has been the subject of much research and discussion A Victorian novel about the conflicts of an upper-class family is not complete without the inclusion of a trusty servant or a nosy maid who often add a great deal to the plot and character of the novel overall The main servant figures in Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte 1847 Nelly Dean serves as unusual example of the patterns of servitude prevalent in the 1800 During a time of turbulent social change stays with the family for years despite as history dictates the opportunities that others of the lower class had at the time In order to properly analyze the roles Nelly and Joseph play in Wuthering Heights one must look at the social conditions of servants during the time the novel was written and takes place Since the 1780s when a tax was imposed on all male domestic servants to encourage men to go into the army most servants in a household were often women In an upper class household there was often a hierarchy between the servants themselves One servant who has often been with the family for a number of years in the case of Wuthering Heights Nelly made sure the household was running smoothly and was often more educated that the rest I have read more than you would fancy Mr Lockwood You could not open a book in this library that I have not looked into and got something out of 62 Others were often the children of poor farmers or landless peasants who were forced to go into servitude for lack of education andor better employment opportunities Cannon 1997 There was a range of positions that the servants heldthere were upper servants such as a butler footman governess skilled cook housekeeper senior parlor-maid head house-maid and ladys maid as well as the lower
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