Great Expectations

         Estella or Cathy?--They are two of the same. Estella (Gwyneth Paltrow) in Great Expectations the movie (1998), directed by Alphonso Cuaron and based on the book written by Charles Dickens, and Cathy, (Merle Oberon) in Wuthering Heights the movie (1939), directed by William Wyler and based on Emily Brontë's 1847 book, share the same brain. As children, they both fall in love with their respective childhood playmates. As they get older, each of the two women cannot decide what they want with the men anymore. They forget about love and move onto men with money.

         As children, Heathcliff and Finnegan are in love with the two girls, who in turn are wealthy, beautiful and backstabbing. As the girls grow older, they decide they want a man who is rich and handsome, which neither of the two are. Cathy and Estella cannot make up their minds and end up playing games with Finnegan and Heathcliff. As a result, this breaks their hearts and scars them for life. Neither of the men ever falls in love again.

         Near the end of both stories, the two women want the men because they have gone out in the world and made something of themselves. They are good looking, wealthy, and have moved on to new and better things. But, deep down they still love the women.

         Heathcliff (Laurence Olivier as an adult) marries Isabella (Geraldine Fitzgerald) but treats her dreadfully because he has no love for her. Finnegan (Ethan Hawke as an adult) takes his talent with art and opens an art gallery. He becomes rich and famous and gets lost in his art and forgets about Estella. Neither of them ends up with the girl in the end. Wealth and fame are not as important as finding true love. The women realize their mistakes when it is too late. Their men have found a different meaning of love. It is love for themselves.

         It really frustrated me that the women have treated their men that way. I did not even want to finish the book Wuthering Heights because Cathy made me so mad. She had got what she deserved. She is not in love with Hindley. She is in love with herself. The same goes for Estella. Their great expectations have got them nowhere.

Caitlin Summers

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