Importance of Children

         After reading Emily Brontë's 1847 Wuthering Heights, I found the second half to be the most interesting. I had found the story of Cathy and Heathcliff to be a little too extreme. It was too obsessive for me; however, the story of their children and the child of Hindley, Cathy's brother, was much more to my liking. Therefore, I was very disappointed that they were not included in the 1954 Luis Buñuel Mexican version; the role of Ricardo's (Hindley's) (Luis Aceves Castenada) son, Jorgecito (Hareton) (Jaime González) was very small; and Catalina (Irasema Dilian) gave birth to a son, who is never seen, while in the 1939 William Wyler version, there was no mention of the children at all. In order to fully show the depths that Heathcliff would go to for his revenge against those he felt had injured him the inclusion of the children was a very necessary part. I also found the inclusion of the children in the book gave the story a much better ending than either of the films. I like happy endings.

         The Heathcliff of the Wyler film (Rex Downing/Laurence Olivier) was someone that could be pitied. His life had been tough, and his only real experience of being loved was by Cathy (Sarita Wooten/Merle Oberon) and her father (Cecil Kellaway). At times it seemed as though Ellen Dean (Flora Robson) also had some affection for him, but it was not consistent. Hindley (Douglas Scott/Hugh Williams) treated him with cruelty, and Edgar Linton (David Niven) treated him as beneath his contempt. The kind of love that Cathy had for him did more harm than good. However, in the film version, the only revenge he got was to marry Isabella (Geraldine Fitzgerald) and to take control of Hindley's home, Wuthering Heights. While this was bad enough, the book shows a much more heartless version of Heathcliff; and in the end there was nothing left to pity.

         Through his own child and the child of Cathy, he showed himself to be a man that would stop at nothing to avenge himself on Edgar. He protected his son, Linton, and let him order Hindley's son, Hareton, around. He waited for a chance to get Edgar and Cathy's daughter, Catherine, in a position that forced her marriage to Linton. Then, when he had completed this mission, he let his son die without letting a doctor see him. Though Linton was not worthy of Catherine, he did not deserve to die the way he did. Because the children were left out of the movie, it was not possible to see this truly evil side of Heathcliff.

         I especially liked the ending of the book when Catherine and Hareton, who had risen above the cruelty of Heathcliff, were putting the past behind them and thus planning to be married on New Year's Day. The redeeming story of the children should have been included in the film version for more fitting conclusions.

Deborah Black

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