Ezra Jennings Character Analysis
First impressions often predetermine your judgment of a person, without actually knowing the person at all. Such is the case with Ezra Jennings in the novel, The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. Ezra Jennings is a good person but he is looked down upon by Victorian society because of his appearance and his background. Even with society frowning down upon him, and although he does not have the life that he wants, Ezra Jennings proves to be a gentleman who truly values love and friendship.
Ezra Jennings is described to have a contradicting appearance, as Franklin Blake describes when he sees Ezra for the first time (Collins, 330). He is described as a person who has the physique and movement of a young man, but has the face of an elderly man. Blake even goes as far to say that he looks to be the elder when compared to Gabriel Betteredge (Collins, 330). It is then realized later on in the novel, that Jennings is only forty years of age. Jennings says that his elderly face was caused by years of misery in which he had to endure (Collins, 387).
The physical appearance is very interesting because it shows a man who is not old, but goes through hardships and pains that cause him to become old quickly. It is interesting that his physique represents his youth, but his face and personality represent someone who wants their life to end. Ezra Jennings leads a very miserable and painful life. Ezra Jennings is not even his real name. He is not respected by colleagues or society in general because he is different from everyone else. He says that his father was an Englishman, but his mother belonged to a different race (Collins, 379).
He also admits to be being a Christian (Collins, 387). Even though he shares similarities with the normal man in the Victorian era, he doesn’t get treated fairly and his opinions and methods carry no value because of the mere fact that he is different. He gets in a fight with two physicians on how to treat Mr. Candy when he is ill, and they end up walking away from the case because he refused to use their methods (Collins, 380). Although he is sad about the life he leads, he never states that he is not proud of it.
He even goes so far as to credit his revival of Mr.Candy to his lack of a prosperous life and his lack of friends (Collins, 381). If he had had friends, he wouldn’t have been as scared and determined to save Mr. Candy because he would have friends to go to. It is the fact that he is lonely and an outcast that he is able to save Mr. Candy.
Before Jennings’ experiment with Blake, Betteredge refuses to put Blake through the experiment, and they reluctantly accept only because Betteredge knows that he must obey Blake’s orders (Collins, 411) Ezra suffered from a lethal disease, in which he confides to Blake (Collins, 388).It is because of this disease that he turned to use of the drug, opium. He says that having the disease, led him to the use of opium, and eventually, to the abuse of it. He says that he starts to feel the “penalty” of the drug because his nervous system is failing and he is unable to sleep every night (Collins, 388). He, himself, knows that his end is near, and he seems to embrace it with open arms.
He is ready to die, but when he takes up the task of helping Blake reunite with Rachel, he doesn’t give up until the very end of his life.Aside from the fact that he is not respected by society, he also goes through the loss of his one true love. It is realized that Ezra had to leave his love because of the disrespect and “slander” that he received from his colleagues, and that he didn’t want to put his love through that torture. He thought that she would be ashamed in loving him and it would condemn her (Collins, 387). We later find out that his love’s name is Ella. Mr.
Candy heard him muttering her name on his deathbed, as he described in his letter to Blake (Collins, 471).Although Ezra Jennings faces prejudice every day in his life, and is lonely all the time, there is no doubt that Jennings is a gentleman. The first words he says in the novel are, “I beg your pardon. ” This proves that he is very polite, even though no one is to him (Collins, 331). Throughout the novel, he never treats anyone with a low amount of respect.
He always communicates in a manner that is clean and polite. Even when Betteredge has a fight with him over Robinson Crusoe, he replied in a simple and polite way (Collins, 418). Even though Jennings is of a lower social class than others, he seems very uch like a gentleman in the Victorian era in the way he communicates with others. Franklin Blake even says, “The little that he had said, thus far, had been sufficient enough to convince me that I was speaking to a gentleman. ” (Collins, 378) Jennings had impressed Franklin Blake with how he presented himself to him and how he explained his situation regarding Mr. Candy, so much that he was convinced that he was a gentleman.
It was hard to be considered a gentleman in Victorian England, because you had to be born into a rich family with high social status in order to be considered one.Ezra certainly was not born into a rich family with a high social status, but all his years of dealing with doctors and real gentlemen had caused him to become an “unofficial” gentleman. During that time, in Victorian England, someone like Ezra would be considered and treated like an outcast, so whenever he did make friends, he cherished and valued the friendship more than anything else. He considers Mr. Candy to be his first real friend, and he gets very emotional when he retells the story of how he cured him because, at that time, he was afraid that he was going to lose the only friend he had ever made.
He says that he was willing to risk anything rather than let the one person who befriended die (Collins, 380). He also values the friendship he makes with Blake very much. On his deathbed, he says, “I am indebted to Mr. Franklin Blake for having seen some happy days. ” He even says that he doesn’t want Mr.
Candy to disturb him after he dies (Collins, 470). Also, although his relationship with Betteredge was complicated, he enjoyed having Betteredge as an acquaintance. He loves having people who he can call his friends, and it made him feel like he was in the happiest time of his life.When Blake goes back to London to retrieve the Moonstone, Jennings laments on how his happy time is over and that he has seen some sunshine in his life. The sole reason that Ezra Jennings decides to help Franklin Blake is to reunite Blake and Rachel. He knows how it feels to lose the one who you love more than anyone in the world, and he doesn’t want anyone else to experience that.
When Blake asks him for his help, although Jennings is genuinely sorry, he felt that he couldn’t have been of any assistance to him, but when Blake told him that he is not after the stone, but rather to reunite with is lover, Jennings immediately decides to help Blake in every way he thought was possible (Collins, 385). The prospect of reuniting two lovers who were separated because of theft of the Moonstone, gives him happiness and meaning to his life. He feels that doing this for Blake will be his last good act before he passes, and it does, in fact, end up being his final act of kindness. It can be argued that Ezra Jennings is the character in The Moonstone, who portrays Wilkie Collins the best out of all of the characters in the novel. Wilkie Collins is known to be an opium addict, just like Ezra Jennings is.
He started off with opium to ease pain, but then it later grew into an addiction[i]. Wilkie Collins was also a person who wasn’t exactly popular with Victorian Society. He had two wives and didn’t bother to hide them. He often poked fun at the Victorian structure of life, as he does in this novel many times. Although Ezra Jennings didn’t have two wives, he was a person who was misunderstood by society.
Gabriel Betteredge’s opinion proves that first impressions by the public should not cloud your judgment on someone. When Betteredge first talked about Jennings, he talked about him as if he was unwanted and a nuisance (Collins, 332).He adopted the public’s opinion of Jennings. After Betteredge got to know Jennings, he apologized for his rudeness and is playful with him. His initial thoughts on Ezra changed entirely. Although the death of Ezra Jennings at the end of the novel was one of the more depressing moments, it serves a purpose of poetic justice.
Jennings had got what he had wanted. Ezra knew his life was going to end, and he wanted it to end. He constantly talks about how he knows the end is near and he is ready for it. He didn’t want to be remembered. He specifically asks Mr.Candy for him not to have a gravestone placed on his grave (Collins, 471).
He just wants to be forgotten. It is a shame however that the happiest moments in his life, happen towards the end of his life. Ezra Jennings is a man of contradictions. He has movements and the physique of a youthful man, but has the face and mindset of a man who is about to die. Ezra Jennings leads a sad and depressing life.
He was shunned by society, lost his love, and ends up dying. People never wanted to know him because of how he looked. They went along with the general consensus of the public.That opinion turned out to be wrong because Ezra Jennings is a gentleman who values and cherishes love and friendship more than anything else. Ezra Jennings is a good man who is looked down upon by Victorian society. Ezra spent the last moments of his life to help two lovers get together again.
Right up to his last breath. ———————–  Most likely Middle-Eastern because of the name Ezra and its Jewish connections. ———————– [i] Gasson, Andrew. “Wilkie Collins and Laudanum. ” Wilkie Collins Info. N.
p. , 2010. Web. Oct 31 2011. .