Universal Plots: A further thought on star-crossed lovers

If you are interested in the star-crossed lovers plot you might go back to the Bronte sisters who mastered this plot in the mid-19th century. Both Charlotte’s novel Jane Eyre and Emily’s story Wuthering Heights are masterful examples of the star-crossed lovers plot. If you don’t feel ready to attempt a 19th-century novel start with the 2011 movie version of Jane Eyre starring Mia Wasikowska in the title role and an interesting 2011 version of Wuthering Heights.

Poor governess Jane falls for her rich and brooding employer Mr Rochester. Separated by social class their love is also doomed by a mysterious mad woman in the attic. As well as the star-crossed lovers plot, Jane Eyre is also the tale of a young woman’s journey towards inner strength and self knowledge.

In Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff is adopted into a wealthy landowning family as a child but is never treated as an equal. Although he and his foster sister Cathy love each other, their love is doomed by this inequality. (The 2011 movie chose to cast a black actor as Heathcliff which makes the story about race as well as class.) Wuthering Heights also has a rags-to-riches sub-plot. (More of that in a future post!)

About Carol Jones

Carol Jones is the author of 'The Concubine's Child', set in 1930s Malaya and The Boy With Blue Trousers set in 1850s China and Australia. Born in Brisbane, Australia, she taught English and Drama at secondary schools before working as an editor of children's magazines. She is also the author of several young adult novels as well as children's non-fiction.
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