Walk All Over Me, Please

         Imagine what society would be like today without writers expressing their ideas on paper. One major difference I imagine is how women act in today's society. Women are now bold, daring; and they can even think for themselves. I am not trying to knock the opposite sex or anything, but throughout much of history the female gender has been portrayed as the weaker sex. Not any more, though, now we see women being equal and even greater than man. I believe this is due to writers like Henry James.

         In 1880 Henry James wrote a novel called Washington Square, filmed in 1949 by William Wyler as The Heiress. The story line is based primarily on the life of a woman named Catherine Sloper. Catherine Sloper (Olivia de Havilland) was a nobody. She was just a plain girl that no one (except her father) ever really loved. Catherine was not a "looker." She did not possess any of her mother's beauty, but she was daddy's little girl. Her father (Ralph Richardson) also knew that she was not beautiful like her mother.

         Throughout the novel and movie Catherine pretty much got walked on by other men. They did not give her a second glance; if she asked them, they would rarely give her the time of day until she met Morris Townsend (Montgomery Clift), that is. Morris was only in to her for her money, but still he did seem to love her. She was taken aback when she found someone who was actually interested in her. However, when Morris stood Catherine up, she changed into a woman with a capital W. She mourned a little bit, and then she became bold. When Morris came back and wanted her once again, she stood him up.

         I feel this story through a message out to all women who read it. The message is as follows: "Don't let men walk all over you and rip your heart out while you watch." Obviously this is not a direct quotation from Henry James, but this is what I got from the book. This quotation in a way has something to do with the women in today's society standing up for themselves and being bold. Now I am not saying that Henry James is fully responsible for the change in women throughout history, but I do think he has helped.

James Smith

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