Justine Musk (moschus) wrote,
Justine Musk
moschus

heathcliff was a psycho

1

A Facebook friend drew my attention to this lovely project on Kickstarter.com, by two young female artists:

Dreamscape Memory Cave

I love the ideas they're working with, so I pledged a few dollars and brought them closer to their $2000.00 goal.  Check it out.  Help them if you can. They might make you a chandelier. 

(I am becoming fascinated with chandeliers.)

2

I had dinner with my great friend Nia who recently saw the new movie JANE EYRE.

"I had some serious problems with Rochester," she said.

She wasn't talking about the actor.  

"That whole Byronic hero thing," she continued.  "I was into it when I was younger, but now it turns me off.  It doesn't translate well to life."

"Heathcliff," I agreed, referencing a different novel entirely but eager to make my point,  "was a psycho."

We're talking about a character who kills his new wife's dog just to torment her because she isn't Catherine. (This is how I remember it, anyway.)  That is not romantic. Cruelty to animals is one of the signs of a potential serial killer*.

Nia said, "I don't want to impose contemporary values on, you know, a different historical period, but I was watching the movie and I thought -- Am I the only one bothered by the fact that he locked this woman in the attic?"

"Have you read --"

"I mean, he locked her in the attic."

" -- WIDE SARGASSO SEA?"  It's a slender novel of gorgeousness written by Jean Rhys, imagining the story of the "mad" wife Bertha: where she came from, how her relationship with Rochester developed including how she got to be in Rochester's attic. You can probably tell that it does not end happily.

We talked for a bit, and I said, "It kind of disturbs me now about how it didn't disturb me then when I read the book in my teens, and then again in college. I was just completely accepting of the whole situation.  But all we have is Rochester's word that she was insane to begin with, and guys can be so quick to call a woman crazy. It can be very convenient for them. And of course she was dangerous and pissed off.  Who wouldn't be, in her situation?"  For all we know, the woman just wanted to go shopping.

One of the things a smart girl is supposed to do when considering a guy's boyfriend potential, is to look at the way he treats the women in his life: mother, sisters if he has any, female friends if he has any (and if he doesn't, that's not a good sign), and especially ex-girlfriends. The idea being: how a guy talks about his ex is the way he will one day talk about you.**

So a guy who is on good terms with his exes is generally an excellent find.  It means he treated them well, broke up well, and gave them no reason to actively hate him.  A guy who refers to his exes as "crazy" or "psycho" or "bitches" should send up a major red flag.  Chances are he is a) attracted to psychos, which means you should probably question why he's with you, or b) he has no respect for women and takes no accountability for the part that he played in the apparently destructive dynamic between them, which does not bode well for the dynamic that he will develop with you.

So if Jane and Rochester were chatting each other up at a local Starbucks -- shooting the breeze, getting to know each other -- and Rochester were to let it slip that, well, yeah, technically he's married, but his wife doesn't understand him because she's such a psycho, and even though they live together they don't really live together because, you know, he locked her in the attic, which means he's totally free to see other people and so, hey, how about dinner and a movie....

Jane should say no.  Or use him for sex and then dump his ass.



* together with arson and bedwetting: the childhood unholy triad that could signal a potential sociopath. (The bedwetting part I don't really get.)  (Edited to add: a wise person in the comment section below has pointed out that not all sociopaths become serial killers. Some of them go into politics. Or corporate life, for that matter.)

** My very wise, older friend M. once said to me, "I think there should be a rule. No woman should marry a man before she has a serious conversation with his ex-wife, who knows him better than anyone."

"I'm an ex-wife," I pointed out, "and we have no credibility. We're, you know, all bitter and crazy and shit."

"Not all of you," M said.
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