Man Equals Woman

         In the 1847 book, Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë, and the 1939 film, by William Wyler, Catherine Earnshaw's predicaments and the way she handled situations can be compared with those actions of Morris Townsend in the 1800 book, Washington Square, by Henry James, and the 1949 film, The Heiress, also directed by William Wyler. Both characters foolishly lost the person they should have spent the rest of their lives with. They both accessorized themselves with money, greedily thinking this would make them happy in life.

         Catherine Earnshaw played with Heathcliff's emotions, letting him know that she loved him entirely, and then she deceived him by marrying Edgar Linton for money, not love. She was more greedy and deceitful towards Heathcliff in the movie, causing him, at one point, to smash his hands through a window because of her insults she proclaimed right after also professing her love for him. Morris Townsend also made greedy decisions with Catherine by playing off that he loved her immensely, and they were to be married. Later on, before their marriage, he left and did not see her for years. He did not marry her because he thought that her father would disinherit them, leaving them with no money, which was precisely the only thing that he cared about. He was more heartless in the movie when he left town the night of their marriage; she was waiting for him, and he never showed up. He, of course, married someone else as well. Both Catherine and Morris broke their lover's hearts with deceit.

         Catherine and Morris later encountered the same problems as a result of their despicable behavior. Catherine found herself unhappy with Edgar when she was reunited with Heathcliff, realizing that he was the one she loved and wanted to spend her life with. In the movie, she was able to spend her last seconds with Heathcliff by the window, the only time she really knew love. She then knew that money does not make a person's life worth living; only love can make one's life accountable. Morris, after his first wife died, went back to see Catherine in hopes that she might take him back and love him, realizing that he made a mistake in leaving an honest girl that he really did love. In the movie, Catherine revenged him better than in the book, by telling him they would be married and that she forgave him; yet, after he left to get his things, she locked him out, never to see him again. He too discovered that money is not as important and fulfilling as the love of one's life.

         Both of these characters seriously took for granted the things they wanted most in life, and they went after the petty things that a good fortune could buy. Of course, karma came back on them, and they had to face the facts that they ruined their lives with no turning back. People cannot change the past, and they cannot amend it after years have passed them by. Both movies expressed this concept a little better than the book, using more emotion and revenge in the end.

Rebecca Hardin

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