Something besides Disney

        Once upon a time there was a lovely girl and a handsome boy. The two were unhappy with their lives, but then they met and lived happily ever after. This story is the cliché of almost every Disney movie; Sleeping Beauty, Aladdin, Little Mermaid, and the list goes on. The 1847 novel Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë, and filmed in 1939 by William Wyler, portrays a somewhat different story; there is no “happily ever after”, and the reader is left sad, confused, and let down from the failure of relationships. Due to the harshness of this story, most of the class agreed that Wuthering Heights is only appropriate for adults. But, I beg to differ. In real life, how often does the Disney story happen? And how often do people invariably expect the Disney story, even if it is with the wrong person? This poor judgment is due to unrealistic stories told at a young age. A child appropriate movie of Wuthering Heights should be made in order to show kids that love does not always work out, due to a differing priorities and unexpected changes.

        The story of Wuthering Heights shows how lovers will often want different things and do not work out their differences. Catherine (Sarita Wooten/Merle Oberon), for example, showed she loved Heathcliff through their adventures together, defending him from her brother (Douglas Scott/Hugh Williams) and her devastation when she married another man. In addition to Heathcliff, however, Catherine wanted wealth and luxury. She proves this when she marries Linton (Edgar Linton) in order to marry into a proper, well-to-do family. In real life, we do not just take one’s hand in marriage; we take his/her salary too. Although many young people will feel a mutual “spark,” the girl is eager to know what the guy’s major is . . . even if she likes the guy as an individual, she could not see herself marrying a school teacher or artist. Perhaps if Heathcilff had read not-so-happily-ever after love stories in his childhood, he might have faced the fact that Catherine would choose a lifestyle over their love, and he would not have spent so much time pursuing Catherine, which led to his despair. Sometimes, however, people’s priorities parallel with their love interest. But, overtime, sometimes these priorities change, or people pretend like they have certain priorities in order to deceive someone else. The story of Wuthering Heights shows how people change, especially Heathcliff, which can result in a crash-and-burn relationship.

        Heathcliff’s relationship with Isabella shows how partners or spouses will put up fronts to deceive the other person. Heathcliff pretended to be in love with Isabella (Geraldine Fitzgerald) in order to marry her out of his spite for Catherine. By his sweet kisses and words, Isabella had reason to believe that Heathcliff would have been a proper husband. However, once married, Heathcliff instantly changed into a hostile, uncaring person; and Isabella fully regretted marrying him. She even goes to the extent of escaping back to her brother because she is so miserable. Very much in life, couples go through the “honeymoon” phase while they are dating, and it is only after they are married that degenerate traits are revealed. Just because someone seems like a prince or princess, it does not mean you are going to like their “whole new world.” If it is ingrained into a child’s head that relationships like Isabella’s and Heathcliff’s are often realistic, maybe he/she will be more guarded and careful as an adult in order to read through a person’s charming front.

        From Catherine’s desires beyond her love for Heathcliff, to Heathcliff’s deceitful behavior towards Isabella, Wuthering Heights shows us the sad, but often true side of love. Of course, successful relationships are feasible, but unsuccessful relationships are overwhelmingly more common. A child should not just know the story of Wuthering Heights to be jaded and discouraged from love, but to be cautious and aware that not all relationships will work out as they expect. With this sense of serenity and realism instilled at a young age, a person will be more likely to make better decisions later in life.

Shauna Dillon