Christmastime is just around the corner, so the season of giving is in full swing! As the semester's end draws near, I feel I have almost come to know the characters I have read about and watched in films. Due to the "friendships" that have developed, I almost feel as if these characters should be included in the festivities. Keeping in the holiday spirit, I would like to give Catherine Sloper, from the 1880 novel Washington Square by Henry James and The Heiress, a film directed by William Wyler in 1949, the present of a bottle of whiskey and a shot glass for Christmas!
Catherine's gift may seem a little strange, but liquor and wine are often given as presents during the holidays, perhaps as hostess gifts. Christmas is a time to celebrate and indulge oneself! To Catherine Sloper, though, indulgences are few and far between. Not only is Catherine plain and stuffy in her looks and dress, but also she is very reserved in her attitude. That brings about one reason why Catherine needs whiskey for Christmas. Maybe if Catherine had a stiff drink or a few shots before going to a party, she would loosen her collar a bit and learn how to enjoy herself!
Induced by alcohol, Catherine (Olivia de Havilland) finally opens herself up, with some persuasion, to the young and handsome Morris Townsend (Montgomery Clift). He truly is a beautiful man! Since Catherine has never really felt pretty, she is instantly swept away when such an attractive man finds interest in her simplicity. Consequently, Morris' intentions are unjustified. Morris had learned Catherine's father (Ralph Richardson) was a doctor and discovered she was independently wealthy. Dr. Sloper had been against the relationship from the beginning because he believed Morris was after Catherine's money. Morris supposedly wanted to marry Catherine, but Dr. Sloper declared that Catherine would be mostly disinherited by himself if the marriage took place. When Catherine tells Morris she would give up her fortune for him, he flees without giving her an explanation. Catherine is left devastated and brokenhearted.
First of all, seeing as how I am giving out presents, I would give Morris a lump of coal in his stocking and a swift kick in the pants, but that is beside the point. Once again, Catherine needs some whiskey to save the day! I have learned through observation that being drunk off whiskey tends to bring out pent-up emotions and can cause one to show one's true colors. When Morris comes back to "apologize" and win her back, Catherine needs to take a few shots of whiskey, or better yet, throw back the whole bottle. With the aid of intoxication, Catherine will be loaded with the ammunition needed to tell off Morris, as well as gain some self-respect. I know getting drunk does not really give one anything more than a hangover in the morning, but at the time it can give one the confidence to do just about anything!
Having a fifth of whiskey with Catherine's name on it under the Christmas tree will ensure that the Sloper household will be full of good cheer this Christmas season! I hope that Morris will not be around to have a drink! Just remember, though, if a boy ever breaks my heart at Christmastime, I only drink Crown Royal!