If Catherine Were Here Today

            Society today has seen no drastic changes since the production of the film Wuthering Heights in 1939. Directed by William Wyler and produced by Samuel Goldwyn, this film encompasses the power of love, extreme obsession, and jealousy with a twist of hate and revenge. The film was based on Emily Brontë's 1847 novel, Wuthering Heights. Catherine (Merle Oberon), a main character, unfortunately would fit into today's society. Living in the late eighteenth-early nineteenth century (since the movie had been updated to the Regency Period from just the late eighteenth century), she was far too aware for her own good that social class was of extreme importance. I believe this film portrayed Catherine as very materialistic. Coming from a family, which was considered part of the "middle class," Catherine seemed to want more. Materialism and social rank were her great concerns as a young adult. These vices forced her to throw aside the workingman, Heathcliff (Laurence Olivier), and focus on the elite, Mr. Edgar Linton (David Niven). If she were here today, I think she would teach our society a good lesson.

            Edgar gave Catherine everything she dream of from a beautiful estate to gorgeous gowns to elite social status. I do believe Catherine developed a certain love for Edgar. After all, he did provide for her; and, most importantly, gave her the social status she envisioned. However, the love was not as profound for Edgar as it was for Heathcliff. This proves social status and money cannot make everyone happy.

            In today's society, many people are still concerned with materialistic items, such as money, clothing, jewelry, fame, and social status. Unfortunately, like Catherine, many people base love on these materialistic items. Materialism has taken over society and as a result has left many people empty-hearted and unhappy. For example, do you really believe Anna Nicole Smith was deeply in love with her ninety-six-year-old billionaire husband? My guess is no. Both Catherine and Anna chose wealth over love, causing them to suffer in the end.

            In the end Catherine and I would agree that love should not be based on materialistic items, but more so on the lengths a man would go to prove his love. Heathcliff indeed proved his love, leaving Catherine for many years only to come back to her with everything she dreamed of. Unfortunately, Catherine and Heathcliff's love was doomed by fate. I believe if a sadder and wiser Catherine were here today, her advice to the materialistic world would be follow one's heart and not one's selfish thoughts. After all, look where Catherine ended up, dying in her true love's arms instead of living her life in them.

Melanie Brewer

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