It's a Classic. So What?

         When I initially signed up for this class, I was completely oblivious to its true content. I did, however, feel that the title encompassed my two biggest passions: books and movies. As a child brought up with only thirty minutes of TV a day, I often read; and my reading developed into an important distraction. As life went on, reading became not only a distraction but also a requirement for the English classes I took.

         It was not until my senior year that I came in contact with the dreaded Wuthering Heights, written in 1847 by Emily Brontë. This book was the first that I was ever assigned that I could not enjoy. "Where is the plot? How do I sort out all the characters? What the hell is going on?" All of these questions, and yet the answers were sparse. It was this initial run-in with the novel that developed my dread of it being taught to me again. Chalk up another point for Lauren as she re-tackles the novel that most interfered with her love of books. But wait, there's more, two movies more!

         All of this information has a purpose, to become a thesis; but to further demonstrate, I have chosen to be as long-winded as Brontë. I just made you read that whole paragraph of not-so-vital information just to say this: Out of all the knowledge I gained, Wuthering Heights' knowledge will never seep out into my life beyond this class unless, by some mystery of God, I am required by another class to be subjected to it. In short, Wuthering Heights is a great negative example of what I learned in English 213.

         And so it begins: To start with, my biggest beef with Brontë is that she clutters her writing with the inclusion of character upon character upon character. Not only do we learn of Catherine and Heathcliff, the central characters, but also we are force-fed so many more, it is easy to get lost with all of the deaths and underlying themes. She might as well have shoveled the book down my throat. In my opinionated mind, I might have found more enjoyment if Brontë had written a TV series of Wuthering Heights, or someone had at least turned it into the longest-running soap opera on ABC.

         Turning to the movie, one could hope for a more simplistic approach; if nothing else, the big screen is easier on the eyes than the run-ons Brontë produced. The movie produced from the novel proved to be much easier to follow; however, director William Wyler definitely made the 1939 movie feel long and drawn-out just by filling long scenes with insignificant detail and close-ups of the actors' faces. All in all, the film was much more entertaining than the novel but equally as painful.

         Now you may be wondering, do I have anything positive to say about Wuthering Heights? Why yes I do. Another adaptation of the novel, a 1954 film called Los Abismos de Pasión helped me to find a lasting enjoyment of it all. When originally reading the novel, I noticed that there was not central point of action, but hundreds. Back-stabbing and death lay the road for a promising and entertaining movie, but Wyler never quite got there. And then I saw the latter film, directed by Luis Buñuel. We do not need sassy English folk trying to play out these characters; we need melodramatic Hispanics for these roles. Finally, it came to life for me, drama and overacting at every turn--everything Brontë could have ever hoped for in an adaptation.

Lauren Miller

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