When I first entered the bookstore and saw the book, H: The Story of
Heathcliff's Journey Back to Wuthering Heights my heart literally
stopped beating for a moment. My favorite book, Wuthering Heights, had a
sequel? With Emily Bronte being dead for one hundred and forty-four years, who,
then, had the nerve to tell the literary world what really happened to
Heathcliff? Curiosity overwhelmed me and I purchased Lin
Haire-Sargeant's book. The temptation was too great to ignore. I devoured it in two
days. The ending was unbelievable; I couldn't have hoped for anything more.
But, what about Emily Bronte? Was she perhaps rolling over in her grave?
Wuthering Heights taught us about unrequited love. It taught us about
lifelong suffering. Emily Bronte never intended for Cathy and
Heathcliff to live "happily ever after." In fact, if Cathy and Heathcliff had
ended up together, the book may not have been the success that it is today.
The attraction of Wuthering Heights is the extreme sorrow associated with
its characters; the bitterness Heathcliff endured because he could never
have the woman he loved. These are the reasons that novel became a classic!
If Emily Bronte had given Heathcliff and Cathy a "happily ever after"
ending, then her book would not have stood above so many others. We never
forgot Wuthering Heights because of its powerful and agonizing conclusion.
And no one can forget Rhett Butler's parting words to Scarlett, "My
dear, I don't give a damn." That statement alone made Margaret
Mitchell's Gone with the Winda tremendous force in literary history. As much as
we wanted Rhett to forgive Scarlett, we knew that he could not! Rhett had
to preserve what little dignity he had left. The book would have NOT lived
so long in our hearts and minds had Scarlett and Rhett ended up together.
When Alexandra Ripley's sequel, Scarlett, became a bestseller, how
could I resist knowing what became of that spoiled brat, Scarlett
O'Hara? But, like Emily Bronte, what did Margaret Mitchell think of this
renowned union of her two forlorn lovers, Rhett and Scarlett? It was never
supposed to be.
Gone with the Wind emphasized that people like Scarlett O'Hara end up
alone. Greed and careless desires have no place in humanity. Margaret
Mitchell showed the world that people get what they have coming to
them. Scarlett thought that Rhett would wait forever while she
continually rebuffed him. This book never would have risen to "classic"
proportions had Rhett forgiven the woman who had given him so much grief
and heartache. It was an important literary lesson.
I can't, however, say that I wasn't overjoyed when Alexandra Ripley's
novel finally brought Rhett and Scarlett together. What I do question,
though, is the validity of a sequel. If it was destined to have the
Rhett and Scarletts, the Cathy and Heathcliffs, TOGETHER, then the original,
history-making authors would have done so. These things were not meant
to be. When will it end? Perhaps the next step is to discover that after
Romeo kills himself, Juliet, who survives her stab wounds, opens her
eyes and says, "Thou art a fool, Romeo." and laughs herself senseless. Could
it ever happen? Juliet: Portrait of a Seductress just might "becometh" my