Attitude in Environment

         In the 1847 novel Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights and its neighbor, Thrushcross Grange is different in every way possible, including the people and the appearance. In the novel, the difference is to be understood; but, while watching the 1939 film, directed by William Wyler, one can see the difference was obvious.

         The visual portrait of Thrushcross Grange is elegant with extravagant landscaping and white walls that make the house look clean and bright. Wuthering Heights, especially towards the end of the novel and the film, seems run down, dirty, and dark. This could be why the inhabitants at Thrushcross Grange act differently from the inhabitants at Wuthering Heights.

         Catherine's manner varies as she switches back and forth from Wuthering Heights and Thrushcross Grange. before the Lintons' dog bites Catherine (Merle Oberon), she acts like an uncontrollable child and has the appearance of a beggar. After her stay with the Lintons at Thrushcross Grange, she returns, seeming to be a sophisticated lady instead of a scrubby child. In the film, she does not appear to be home for more than a day until she is already back to her old ways running around with Heathcliff (Laurence Olivier). Finally she marries Edgar (David Niven), and her mannerisms are back to those of a respectable woman.

         When she moves as a married woman to gloomy Wuthering Heights from the lively Thrushcross Grange, Isabella (Geraldine Fitzgerald), clearly goes from a chic young lady to a melancholic hag on the screen. However, readers of the novel cannot fully visualize the altered physical appearance caused by her unhappiness. Going from dark, savage Wuthering Heigths to light, civilized Thrushcross Grange, Catherine forms into a high-class woman because of the house and its main occupants, especially Edgar's influence. On the contrary, moving in the opposite direction, Isabella decreases into a miserable wretch in her new Heathcliff-dominated callous environment.

         Most assuredly people and environments can change the attitudes of individuals.

Maggie Marksberry

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