Being a twenty-something single girl in a college town, I learn from my friends' mistakes. All my friends have boyfriends, and I have to hear the ups and downs of their relationships. I have never heard stories from my friends like ones the woman in the novels Wuthering Heights, written in 1847 by Emily Brontë and filmed in 1939 by William Wyler, and Washington Square, written in 1880 by Henry James and filmed as The Heiress in 1949 by William Wyler, put up with. Catherine Earnshaw and Catherine Sloper have issues with the opposite sex. I do not think I am a genius at the opposite sex, but I do think I could offer both Catherines help in the area of love.
Catherine Earnshaw (Merle Oberon in the film) is head over heels for Heathcliff (Laurence Oliver on screen). They grew up together and fell in love. Heathcliff took it over the edge, as some men can, and became obsessed. After Catherine married Edgar (David Niven in the movie), he continued to seek her out and come between them. In the end, it worked; he is the one who held Catherine as she died. This is where I start to blame women just as much as men. Catherine said she loved Heathcliff but married Edgar. She stayed with Edgar because she was pregnant with his child in the book but not in the movie but all the while sought out Heathcliff.
Catherine Sloper (Olivia de Havilland in the film), on the other hand, had Morris (Montgomery Clift on screen) after her. She was not used to the attention Morris was giving her because she was rather slow and anti-social. Unfortunately Catherine, he is into you for the wrong reasons. He wants your money. He is arrogant and selfish, but Catherine does not realize this because she unfamiliar with men. If Catherine and I had been friends, I like to think I could have helped her in this situation in a more positive way than her heartbreaking father (Ralph Richardson) tried to do. Fortunately, even without my help, she did the right thing in the end by giving him a little taste of his own medicine.
Both of these women were like so many I know, including myself. We all become smitten by men, letting them walk all over us, but in the end giving them a taste of their own medicine is all they need. Women all over the world can learn from one another and relate to the women in these two novels and movies if we stick together.