No Second Generation

         I have to say that I really did not enjoy reading the 1847 book Wuthering Heights, mainly because I am a visual learner. I did, however, enjoy watching the English-language version of the book by Emily Brontë, directed in 1939 by William Wyler. As I watched the movie, I began to see various and numerous differences between the book itself and the movie. The most noticeable difference between the two is that in the book, the couples who were married had children, and in the movie they did not. The children play such a big part in the book that I do not see how they could be left out of the movie.

         In the movie, Catherine (Merle Oberon), married to Edgar Linton (David Niven), dies without giving birth to a daughter. Hindley (Hugh Williams) is never married and never has a son. Heathcliff (Laurence Olivier) and Isabella (Geraldine Fitzgerald) do marry, but she never gives birth to Linton. When Catherine dies, the movie drags on for a short while without anything of importance happening.

         The book, however, is slightly different. Catherine dies while giving birth to her daughter, Catherine. Isabella flees to London and has Heathcliff's son, Linton. Hindley marries Frances and has a son, Hindley. Young Catherine and Linton have a secret romance that lasts for quite a while. Heathcliff forces this, hoping that, if the two marry, he will gain control over Thrushcross Grange and will have his final revenge on Edgar. Heathcliff holds Catherine and Nelly hostage until Catherine marries Linton. Linton soon dies, but his father now has control over Thrushcross and Wuthering Heights. After Heathcliff dies in an attempt to rejoin his beloved Catherine, Hareton and young Catherine grow fond of each other and are planning to get married at the end of the story.

         I could not believe that the movie did not include this. This extra "generation" is the way in which Heathcliff comes to own Wuthering Heights. It tells, in my opinion, how everyone else gets what he or she has deserved, and the only two deserving people end up with everything.

Josh Smith

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