Apr 10, 2012

J is for: Jealousy

It's one of the seven deadly sins. When it rears its ugly green head (no idea why jealousy is always metaphorically green), bad things happen.

Stories happen.

Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights is basically a story about jealousy. Yeah, Catherine and Heathcliffe are supposedly this great love story but if you take a hard look at their characters, both are motivated by a mishmash of jealousy, lust and spite. A horrid, polluting combo, which makes me think Miss E was merciful in killing one of them off.

Or how about Snow White? That evil stepmother/queen couldn't stand to have anyone more beautiful than her in the entire kingdom (which, when you think about it, is a really sexist premise for a plot. No one's ever heard of a king going psycho because his stepson was a hotter hottie than he). Poor Snowy's plight is still kicking plots around today. If you haven't seen the trailer for "Snow White and the Huntsmen" yet, do. Now.

And what about Toy Story?  Buzz-the-annoying-Space-Toy shows up and blows Woody's ordered world to pieces. Woody's attempts to off Buzz are what start the whole series rolling.

Oh yes, jealousy is a handy little urge for authors. It's human nature to want what we can't have. What are some other stories where the evil J is the prime plot mover?

12 comments:

Kyra Lennon said...

Jealousy is an excellent plot motivator! It's early, so I can't think of any other stories that use it off the top of my head,but I am sure there are plenty more than the ones you mentioned!

elizabeth seckman said...

Still scratching my head that Wuthering Heights is considered a love story. What a rotten couple of people they were...but such an awesome book. "Pillaging the Bible"...one of my favorite little catch phrases courtesy of Ms. Bronte.

Lisa Regan said...

Hmmm . . . a lot of those Disney stories revolve around jealousy although not in the overt way that Snow White does!

S. L. Hennessy said...

Wuthering Heights is definitely my favorite examples of jealousy. And also just a really wonderful novel.

Lynn Proctor said...

hmmmm i will have to think about that---yes jealousy is like a disease

nutschell said...

Jealousy can be a great driving force for characters, and a juicy addition to any story:)
Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com
Dropping by from the A-Z!

Nicole said...

Great point! Jealousy has been an inciting factor in many excellent stories.

Kimberlee Turley said...

Someone else had a post about brain jelly, and since that's my mental state today, I can't think of any.

I do love those green eyes. It'd be so cool if that was someone's natural color.

Sharkbytes said...

Can't think of one. But I must have read some. I'm trying to visit all the A-Z Challenge Blogs this month.

Cynthia said...

Interesting post. In The Count of Monte Cristo, there is a theme of jealousy when the bad guys conspire against the protagonist.

Daisy Carter said...

Twilight leaps to mind, of course. And I adore Wuthering Heights - but then again, I'm more of a tragic-romance lover, so it's a great fit for me!

J.L. Campbell said...

For sure, jealousy is a powerful motivator in fiction writing.