Who Is the “Bad Guy" or the "Bad Brat?"

         Throughout reading the story of Wuthering Heights, written in 1847 by Emily Brontë, and then watching the movie of the same story, directed in 1939 by William Wyler, I seemed to see the characters of Heathcliff and Catherine in a whole new light. From reading the story and listening to what everyone had to say on the panel discussion, I had made many assumptions of what I thought Heathcliff and Catherine to be. At first, I thought that Heathcliff was a rude and unthoughtful person. He was really unfriendly; and, when he spoke, he only spoke of unhappiness. One minute he was telling Catherine how much he loved her, and in the next it seemed almost had if he wanted to kill her.

         Catherine at first seemed to be this quiet, princess girl. She came from a somewhat wealthy family, and she would never do any harm to any person that she loved. She loved Heathcliff with all her heart, and she would do anything for him. This being my first impressions of Heathcliff and Catherine, I never thought twice about the validity of how they might change when I saw them acting in the movie.

         The movie, however, changed my perception of both characters in drastic ways. I started to see Heathcliff (Laurence Olivier) as the victim instead of the intruder. I could see why he was so hurtful in the story. He was so in love with Catherine (Merle Oberon) that he ached him to be around her, knowing that he could never be with her. He would have done anything that she wanted and was always trying to make her happy.

         On the other hand, Catherine was a conniving, brat. All she wanted in life was to have prestige, money, and looks. I like to think of her as a material girl because she only cared about material things. She too was in love with Heathcliff terribly; but, due to her greed for wealth and high social status, she totally tried to block out any feeling she had for Heathcliff. Therefore, at night she would find herself alone and crying.

         I think that by watching the movie, I was visually able to see for myself just what each of these characters was made up of. In fact, I really altered my opinions of the two main characters because in the movie Heathcliff had gone from "bad guy" to "good guy," and Catherine had gone from "good princess" to "bad brat."

Wendy Barger

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