Good Girls, Bad Boys

        Why is it that good, innocent girls are attracted to bad, rebellious boys? Since the beginning of dating, this has been the case. This is a common theme for many movies made and books written. For instance, Wuthering Heights and Washington Square both show this good girl, bad boy relationship.

        Emily Brontë's 1847 classic, Wuthering Heights, tells of Catherine, a young girl who falls for the bad and dirty Heathcliff. Although she ends up marrying Edgar Linton, a classic "good guy," she always has a thing for the bad boy in Heathcliff. Not only that, Catherine's sister-in-law, Isabella, also falls for Heathcliff. Why is this? I think it is so because both Catherine and Isabella like the mystery, excitement and thrill that Heathcliff can bring to them. In the 1939 film Wuthering Heights, directed by William Wyler, audiences saw a similar adaptation. Cathy (played by Merle Oberon) denies her love to Heathcliff (Laurence Olivier) and marries Edgar Linton (David Niven). However, Cathy dies in the arms of Heathcliff, which shows her true love for him.

        In Henry James's 1880 novel, Washington Square, readers find another bad boy, good girl scenario. This time the main character, Catherine, falls for Morris, a man her father (Dr. Sloper) hates. This is often the case; the father rarely wants his daughter to date a bad boy. Catherine loves Morris and sees only his good qualities, when in the end he is only trying to use her for money. Morris gives Catherine the attention she has always yearned for; and like many bad boy, he makes him fall in love with him. However, the relationship never builds on this because Catherine's father does everything in his power to stop it. Regardless, he cannot stop the love that Catherine feels for Morris.

        In the 1949 film directed by William Wyler, titled The Heiress, the good girl, bad boy story is shown on film. The movie is an adaptation of Washington Square, but I do not think that Morris appears to be nearly as bad in the movie as he seems in the book. By using Montgomery Clift as "Morris," Wyler created a character that kept the audience wondering, "Is this guy really bad?" In the end, however, we see that he is bad and that he does not deserve Catherine's (Olivia de Havilland) love.

        Both of these love stories feature a good girl in love with a bad boy. You see it everyday, in movies and in books. Perhaps you even know someone that is in this type of relationship. Or even worse, maybe you are the good girl that has fallen for a bad boy. If this is the case, just remember that bad boys are just that-bad! A good girl deserves someone that will treat her right, not just sweep her off her feet!

Amber Lyles

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