Many Possibilities for a Bad Boy

     Many people commonly believe that there is only one outcome for a good girl falling in love with a bad boy. Popular belief leads one to believe that the good girl will be led into a life of shame and ultimately be let down by the bad boy. However, there are other outcomes. If the love the two shares is genuine then it should last forever regardless of the obstacles presented to them. It is possible for that love to survive by convincing society it is natural or by forever holding on to the love under the surface. These two outcomes can be illustrated by looking at the movie Dirty Dancing and the book Wuthering Heights, filmed by William Wyler.

     In Dirty Dancing, directed by Emile Ardolino in 1987, Baby, played by Jennifer Grey, falls in love with the bad boy, Johnny, played by Patrick Swayze. They face the opposition of the society within the resort and from family. It is expected that Baby will fall for the good boy, Neal, and it is also encouraged. However, Neal is void of personality or character and Baby does not wish to be with him. To begin with, Baby is mainly in lust with Johnny partly because of his bad boy image. After she meets him, she finds several reasons to fall in love with him. Johnny has a rough exterior, but he also has a soft side revealed to her in many ways. The way he stands by his friend Penny in her time of need is a perfect example of his soft side. Baby tells Johnny how she feels about him, which leads to them getting together. Despite the fact he has no social standing, she is willing to risk her wealth and family for him. Baby defies her father in order to be with Johnny. She reveals her relationship with Johnny in order to save him and at great risk to herself. In the end, Johnny remains true to her despite opportunities to stray and leave her. As a result of their perseverance and obvious devotion to one another, society and her family accept the relationship.

     On the other hand, Wuthering Heights has a completely different twist. Both the 1847 novel, written by Emily Brontë, and the movie, directed by William Wyler in 1939, illustrate this point. Catherine, played by Merle Oberon in the movie, does not tell Heathcliff, depicted by Laurence Olivier in the movie, how she feels about him. She tells Ellen, portrayed by Flora Robson, and their devotion to each other is implied; but she does not actually say the words to him. As a result, he leaves for a period of time, and they are not together. Even if he did not leave, it is very likely she would not have married him. General society expects Catherine to marry the good boy, Edgar Linton, acted on screen by David Niven. However, similar to his counterpart in Dirty Dancing, Edgar also lacks a strong personality and character. Heathcliff is considered a ruffian and a gypsy by the general society, and a relationship with him is discouraged. He also has a soft side only seen by Catherine. However, she coincides with society and believes it is beneath her to marry Heathcliff. In the end, Catherine denies Heathcliff and sides with society by marrying Edgar. As a result, Catherine and Heathcliff both live severely unhappy lives and die in torment.

     Obviously, there are different outcomes for the good girl falling in love with the bad boy. It is unfortunate that the outcome in Dirty Dancing cannot always be the case. However, these are only two outcomes. There are many others, depending on the circumstances. It does go to show, however, that there is not just the one generally assumed outcome. The good girl getting burned by the bad boy scenario is a myth and should be recognized as such.

Allison Groner

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