Wuthering Heights Character Review: Hareton Earnshaw

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about Emily Bronte’s classic novel, Wuthering Heights. Read at your own risk if you are unfamiliar with the either book or the various adaptations.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Wuthering Heights to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

When we are children, the only environment we know is our family and our small world. The problem is that sometimes, when we grow up, we don’t grow out of the scars that we receive either consciously or unconsciously from our families and the world of our childhoods.

Hareton Earnshaw is the only child and heir to the Earnshaw name and estate. The problem is his father, Hindley Earnshaw drank and gambled away the family fortune after the death of his wife. After his father passes, Hareton is taken in (if you want to call it that) by Heathcliff to be used as a means of revenge.

As an adult, Hareton is treated as a servant in his ancestral home and treated poorly by Heathcliff. His only solace is his cousin, Catherine Linton, who is as imprisoned by Heathcliff as Hareton is.

To sum it up: The thing that always strikes me about Hareton is that despite the fact that is being degraded day after day by Heathcliff, he has a sense of pride. He takes pride in being an Earnshaw, and is not willing to completely bow to his captor. He is also sees an opportunity when Catherine also imprisoned in Wuthering Heights. She teaches him to read and they eventually get together, healing the wounds of the previous generation. When a character has enough pride and enough sense of self, despite a crappy childhood, to find peace within themselves, readers remember that. If a reader can finish a book, feel satisfied and feel like they have learned something about themselves because of a particular character’s journey, then the writer has done his or her job.



Thoughts On the Passing of Hugh Hefner

Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner passed away yesterday. He was 91.

I have to admit that I have mixed feelings about the man.

There is no doubt that he is one of the reasons that we are no longer living within the same social and moral constrictions that existed in the 1950’s and 1960’s. He was a progressive who believed in free speech and civil rights. Depending one’s position, one could also argue that Mr. Hefner helped to empower women to move beyond the traditional confines of marriage and children. His organization employed many women, including his own daughter, who ran Playboy for a number of years.

But….he also published a magazine that was known for pinups of nude or nearly nude women. He dated multiple women at the same time, some of whom were young enough to be his daughters or granddaughters. I’ve heard that the magazine also features articles by some of the best writers, but honestly, when we think of Playboy, most people conjure up the image of women being photographed in their birthday suit. The main goal of feminism is for women to be seen and respected as full-fledged human beings, not as individual body parts and not as a convenient sex partner when one has the urge.

To be honest, I’m kind of straddling the fence on this topic. I will let the ladies of The View weigh in on the topic.

What do you think about Hugh Hefner? Was he the icon of a progressive ideal or just another man portraying women as mere sexual partners without brains or ambitions? Leave your comments below, I’m curious to know what you think.

Throwback Thursday-Warm Springs (2005)

We have two choices when life throws us a curve ball. We can either roll over and take it or see the opportunities in the curve ball.

In 1921, future President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was crippled by polio. He sought treatment in Warm Springs, Georgia.

In 2005, this period of FDR’s was dramatized in the TV movie, Warm Springs. Stepping into the fictionalized shoes of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt were Kenneth Branagh and Cynthia Nixon. While FDR is being treated for polio, he is helping to revitalize the spa and inspire the other patients, in addition to trying to keep his marriage afloat.

In American politics and American history, both FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt are giants. In humanizing the main characters, the audience sees another to the late President and First Lady that only a select few during his time in office saw.

I recommend it.

%d bloggers like this: