The Raising Of Children Essay, Research Paper
The raising of the children in Wuthering Heights seemed to be mostly done by the
nannies. In fact, the story is mainly told from the perspective of Nelly Dean, the
housekeeper of Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering Heights. Upper-class parents
delegated the entire care of their children to a nurse or a "nanny".
The nanny and the children occupied a separate wing or floor of the house. Ideally, the
wing or floor had a day nursery, one or more night nurseries for children of different ages,
bedrooms for older children and their governess, and a schoolroom or older children’s
sitting room. The fully staffed nursery had additional nurserymaids, a schoolroom maid, a
laundress, and sometimes a cook. The reason children were separated from adults was
that they were to be sheltered from adult life and given a structured routine and also to
hvae their characters trained. The adults were freed for their own pleasures and
responsibilities, and for the London season and foreign travel which were expected parts
of aristocratic life.
The full-fledged nanny was a professional and she had full charge of the children and
their upbringing. Mothers recognized their own deficiencies and deferred to the nanny’s
training and experience. Children spent mostly all of their time with the nanny. Her bed
was in the night nursery where they slept. The parents paid little attention to the everyday
happenings as in seen in Wuthering Heights. Catherine and Francis depended on Nelly’s
care of the children all throughout Wuthering Heights. When the kids were about eight,
their lessons began to occupy most of their time. Boys went to boarding school and girls
became primarily responsible to the governess.
Despite a nanny’s absolute authority, children were still called "miss" or "master" when
they were spoken to or spoken of. The life of nursery children was intended to teach them
self-control, obedience, and discipline. Nannies made sure the children treated their
parents with respect. Even with this, the children knew they were socially superior to the
people who took care of them. In Wuthering Heights, this is clearly seen, as Isabella
regularly taunts Nelly Dean in just this manner.