Interesting Differences

        It is interesting that many times a way a person is brought up does not seem to be the way he or she wishes to remain. The novels Wuthering Heights and Washington Square and their cinematic counterparts are excellent examples of this. Both novels and movies have characters by the name of Catherine, and in both the women are raised one way and grow to want another.

        Catherine Earnshaw in Emily Brontė's 1847 Wuthering Heights, filmed in 1939 by William Wyler, was raised in a home that in present times would be considered to be middle-class, but she longed to be more. The Linton family was a high-class family that lived nearby. As a child (Sarita Wooten) she was curious about their lifestyle; and, as she grew older, she began to want to be part of it. She grew up, as played by Merle Oberon, in one world but wanted to be a part of another. This is often heard of people who want to better themselves and become more. They often want to be one of those people that others envy.

        On the other side Catherine Sloper in Henry James's 1880 Washington Square, filmed in 1949 as The Heiress by William Wyler, was quite the opposite. Catherine (Olivia de Havilland) was raised in a high-class family where her father (Ralph Richardson) was a doctor and Catherine was very wealthy herself; but, once her father passed, she would be even more so. But for love Catherine did not care to lose it all; she wanted to go from being a wealthy high-class woman to poor to be with the man, Morris Townsend (Montgomery Clift), she loved. Catherine had lived one life as a rich woman with all of the high society friends, but she did not want to continue that life anymore because she wanted less out of life in the end.

        I just found it interesting to compare the two women. One came from nothing and wanted everything, and the other came from everything and wanted nothing. This is a prime example of the human race; we want what we do not have. There are two women from two different worlds, and each of them wants what the other has. Another irony is Catherine Sloper only wanted to be loved and was willing to give up her money for love, and Catherine Earnshaw had a great love and was willing to give it up for money. We are never satisfied with what we have; these are two excellent examples of why we should be.

Tiffany Deese

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