After reading Emily Brontė's 1847 book Wuthering Heights, I found it very difficult to watch William Wyler's 1939 film Wuthering Heights. Although the film was excellent for its time and the characters were well suited for their parts, there is no way possible for the film to compare to the details, especially the scenery and setting, the imagination creates while reading the book.

     In Emily Brontė's novel she does a wonderful job turning the black and white words, on the pages of the book, into a very detailed portrait created in the mind of the reader. Brontė's description allows the reader to create a picture of a dreary environment filled with humidity and gloom. The atmosphere plays an important role in the book because it creates an overcast of emotional suffering that has an effect on everyone who is exposed to it. It seemed as though I could feel the elements of the harsh environment, such as the humidity, wind, rain and snow, as they occurred in the book.

     Another vivid picture Brontė formulates in the reader's mind is the description of Wuthering Heights. The description of the house allows the reader to picture a large sturdy house built to withstand the weather created by the environment. The reader is able to formulate the way each room in the house should look, and use his or her imagination to create beautiful colors and enhance important details.

     I feel that Wyler's film Wuthering Heights did a good job expressing the story line of the first half of the book. I think the movie followed the book well except for a few minor changes. The problem that I have with the movie is that it ruins the mental picture I have already created in my head. I feel that the atmosphere is one of the key elements that Wyler's film did not contain. The little scenery showed in the film was of the southern California mountains, which is very different from what I had pictured.

     Another picture that was distorted after watching the film was the description of Wuthering Heights. When reading the novel I was able to picture great detail and beautiful colors. I did not see the inside of the house as a dirt-filled rat-hole as the movie makes it out to be.

     Overall I enjoyed both the novel and the film. When I compare the film to other films it rates pretty high. However, when I compare the film to the novel, in my opinion, there is no comparison. I just feel that television and movies take away the need for people to use their own imagination to create mental pictures. I feel lucky to have read the book with its incredible scenery and setting first. The images my mind created were much better than the images of those created by the film.

Kimberly A. Hunt

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