As human beings, we want to feel love and compassion from others, especially from our parents. When we do not feel acceptance from our parents, we lack self confidence because we are not receiving encouragement from the people who we care about the most, and who should be the ones who care for us the most. Even if we try our hardest to please our parents, sometimes we still do not receive the encouragement and confidence our parents should have in us, and we feel that we should not have to work hard to make our parents proud because they already have their set ways.

         This is how Catherine Sloper feels in the film The Heiress, directed by William Wyler in 1949, which is derived from the novel Washington Square, written by Henry James in 1880. Olivia de Havilland plays Catherine in the film. She shows the hardship the young girl, Catherine, experiences by not feeling accepted by her father, Dr. Sloper, depicted by Ralph Richardson. Catherine meets Mr. Morris Townsend, who is portrayed by Montgomery Clift, and falls in love with him. Morris soon falls in love with Catherine after finding out the Sloper family is wealthy. Catherine finally thinks she has made her father proud and continues to fall deeper and deeper in love with Morris. Morris plays it off, hoping no one sees through his façade. This shows how people are selfish with their feelings. One can choose to give, or not give, as much of one's self to another as one pleases. One cannot force another to have feelings for one's own self, and one cannot force onself to have feelings for someone else and mean it. Who is to say Morris would have stayed with Catherine if they got married? He could have taken the money and run.

         In the end, Catherine chooses not to be with Morris; even though she still has feelings for him, she realizes she is stronger as a person now than she was. I believe her father would have been proud of her, if he had still been alive, and accepted her more after knowing how she ignored Morris at the end, leaving him with feelings of loss and insecurity, as she felt in the beginning.

Allison Armstrong

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