One Love for Another

         Many people say that when a girl looks for her future husband, she looks for a man who shares the same characteristics as her father. Girls grow up admiring their fathers and being loved by them, so in turn they love men that are like their fathers. They cherish the love that comes from those men above the love of any other men. This being said, it could be that if a father were to deny his daughter affection, the daughter would search for the missing affection from someone else. If this other man were to have similar characteristics to her father, it is quite possible that the daughter would not love the man because he was himself, but because he was like her father and gave her love that her father never gave her. This was most likely the case with the love that Catherine (Olivia de Havilland), a character from Henry James's 1880 novel, Washington Square, and William Wyler's 1949 film adaptation of Ruth and Augustus Goetz's 1948 play, The Heiress, had for Morris Townsend (Montgomery Clift.

        Catherine's father, Dr. Austin Sloper (Ralph Richardson, was a very clever man. He was loved by many, although those closest to him knew that he did not always behave in a lovable manner. "He was very witty, and he passed in the best society of New York for a man of the world." He was observant and naturally smart. He was also loved very much by Catherine. She longed for his affections and desired to please him.

        Unfortunately, Dr. Sloper found Catherine to be boring, dull, and so much unlike her mother that he despised her in some ways. Instead of loving Catherine's shy and aloof mannerisms, as he should have since she was his daughter, Dr. Sloper wished that she were smarter and cleverer. He blamed her for her mother's death and resented the fact that she did not make up for it by being everything her mother had been. Catherine never received the love from Dr. Sloper that she had always desired, so she went elsewhere to find it.

        Morris Townsend came into Catherine's life, and he seemed very much a younger version of Dr. Sloper. He was described by his cousin as one who was liked by many people, just as Dr. Sloper was well liked by the community. Morris was also known to be less charming to those that were closer to him, just as Dr. Sloper. He got along well at social functions, being described by his cousin as a very sociable person. He had also traveled all over the world, and therefore was seen as a "man of the world," much like Dr. Sloper. Even Dr. Sloper could not deny the fact that Morris was a very intelligent man. As Dr. Sloper states, "I don't dislike him in the least as a friend, as a companion. He seems to me a charming fellow, and I should think he would be excellent company." Dr. Sloper would have enjoyed Morris' company because he saw so much of himself in the young man. Just as Dr. Sloper selfishly kept his love from his own daughter because she was not who he wanted her to be, Morris selfishly gave her his love, not because she was what he wanted, but because she had the money he wanted. Dr. Sloper and Morris Townsend were like two peas in a pod, and Catherine got caught up in that.

        Catherine fell in love with Morris because he gave her the attention she had always been denied by her father. He possessed so many of the same qualities as her father; so when he gave her the attention she so desired, he replaced the love she had longed for from her father. Catherine did not actually love Morris; she loved the man that he acted like and the hole that he filled.

        Unfortunately for Catherine, Morris was only a temporary fill for the hole in her heart. When he wore off, she was left with the bitterness her father gave her with his absent affections and a new bitterness for Morris. When Morris returned to her, years later, Catherine found that he did not attract her the way he once had. She did not long for her father's affections anymore, and therefore the replacement affections that Morris gave her were no longer needed.

        Catherine's love for her father was the same as her love for Morris. The two loves were simply lived out in two different ways. Her love for Morris replaced the love she needed from her father, however, when her love for her father died, so did her love for Morris. On their own, the two loves could not stand.

Adrienne Haley

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