Some Things Never Change

     Over the many years of my life I have read literally hundreds of books. My mother always encouraged the four of us to read, and she always made sure that there was an ample supply of books in our home. I had heard of the book, Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights, written in 1847, yet I had never read it. Perhaps it was the title that did not spark my interest. Is "Wuthering" even a word? I looked it up in the dictionary only to not find it.

     When I was assigned this "classic" novel to read I was curious. I opened the first page with anticipation, I was reading one of the great classics of all time, or I thought I would be reading, in actuality, I struggled all the way through it. I did not enjoy one word. Then, I found that I would be sitting through the screenplay. Great, perhaps I would be able to understand the book by seeing the 1939 movie, directed by William Wyler. Wrong again. I was left just as confused as I had been after finishing the book.

     I felt that the screenplay was stiff, and phony, and greatly differed from the book. Yet, I suppose that will always happen when a book is converted to a movie. Yet, through all this I did find a redeeming value to this book and movie. Many of the same issues that people deal with in the movie are the very same issues that we deal with today. Within the movie I saw materialism, anger, greed, jealously, and dependency, just to name a few. These issues ruled the players' lives and became the reasons for many of the heartaches they suffered. It is my feeling that these issues need to be addressed in American society today just as they needed to be addressed in the 1930s.

     The main character, Cathy was spoiled, in the book and, in the movie, as played by Sarita Wooten and Merle Oberon. What Cathy wanted, Cathy got. Like so many women today, Cathy needed a man, first it was Heathcliff (Rex Downing/Laurence Olivier) on screen). and then it was Edgar (David Niven in the film). Both of these men loved her, and she knew it. She played on this; and regardless of how badly she treated either one, she knew they would always be there for her. It gave Cathy pleasure to know these two men were "fighting over her." This gave her a feeling of power and of importance. She needed a man to raise her self-esteem. She seemed to feel that by having a man or two in her life she was some how more important, more complete. She could say someone loves me, therefore I am whole. This eventually destroyed her, as well as her two lovers.

     As this was the case then, it is now. Many women today, feel they are not complete unless they have a man. Teenagers today will do just about anything to have that all-important boyfriend. When will women realize that they can be whole, complete and happy just being themselves, by themselves? Just as women are dependent today, there are still Cathys, Edgars and Heathcliffs around today. We are still seeing relationships destroying families.

     So, even though I did not like the movie nor the book, I was able to see these things; and I have come to realize that we really have not come such a "long way baby" in our relationships.

Rory Hughes-Melton

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