Greed and Love

        The leading characters of Wuthering Heights and Washington Square have only one thing in common; their names. They both go by the name of Catherine; however, their personalities contrast in several ways. We all ask ourselves sometime in our lives whether we would rather have the warmth of love or the solitude of money. Each of these young women had these qualities, and we will see how they go through hardships to achieve these common goals.

        In the 1847 novel Wuthering Heights, filmed in 1939 by William Wyler, Emily Brontë creates a character named Catherine Earnshaw, who is a naive, young girl who falls in love with the enemy. Heathcliff (Laurence Olivier) is a daring, young man who will do anything for the love of Catherine (Merle Oberon). After Heathcliff leaves, Catherine has to settle for the next man in line, Edgar Linton (David Niven). Edgar is a polite man and has everything going for him, but is lacking one thing; love from Catherine. When Heathcliff returns, he finds that Catherine has not waited for him. With this news he becomes irate and fights for his one true love. In the end, Heathcliff and Catherine both get their wishes and are together on Catherine’s deathbed. Heathcliff and Catherine are buried beside each other, so that they can be together eternally.

        In the 1880 novel Washington Square (filmed in 1949 as The Heiress by William Wyler), Henry James creates a shy, easy manipulated young woman; Catherine Sloper. Olivia de Havilland is not a very bright girl and is certainly treated that way by people that are close to her. When the first eligible man in her life appears, Morris Townsend (Montgomery Clift), she falls head over heels in love. Catherine’s father (Ralph Richardson) is a very respectable doctor and has a large family fortune. Morris is fully aware of this and pursues Catherine. Dr. Sloper (Catherine’s father) informs Catherine that Morris is only with her because of the family’s wealth. Catherine is in denial: she cannot believe her father would say something like this and refuses to listen to her father. When Morris stands Catherine up and leaves her; Catherine realizes that her father was right all along.

        We all long to be successful in life and to be in love. Many women in this world make the same mistakes as both of these young ladies did. We are all young, and naive at some point in our lives, and we must see past that and make mature decisions.

Rebecca Cross