The Hypocritical Nature of Nelly

In the poem, “Runaway Slave at Pilgrim’s Point,” the narrator mentions how there are many black things in the world that God created, yet for some reason, the people are seen as lesser or scarier than white people. Moreover, she includes how people say that African Americans “have no stars,” and “our blackness shuts like prison bars.” Furthermore, she illustrates how there are numerous other dark things in the world. She mentions, streams, frogs, and birds in her list of examples. Overall, her argument is that it is ridiculous to justify slavery and inequality by hating on someone’s skin color, when that color isn’t an issue when describing other living things; for some reason, it is an issue when it comes to humans proving how hypocritical that argument is. Consequently in chapter 34 of Wuthering Heights, Nelly is explaining her fear she was feeling of Heathcliff and remembers his “deep black eyes.” Additionally, she speaks of him in the present as an “incarnate demon,” perhaps a ghoul or vampire. She reflects on raising him, while remembering him as a “little dark thing.” If the narrator of the poem were to read these lines, she would perhaps point out the hypocritical nature of Nelly’s description. Notably, she would wonder why Nelly connects the dark physical attributes of a person to something negative and scary, while if the physical attributes were lighter in appearance, they wouldn’t even be mentioned. Hence, both these works of literature deal with the hypocrisy of connecting someone’s physical appearance, to something negative and scary.

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