|How the world sees Scarlett|
I just cannot figure out how I feel about her. I'm still trying to decide whether I love her or hate her eight months after finishing Gone With the Wind! She reminds me of Anna Karenina in that respect. (Coincidence that Vivien Leigh portrayed both women? Probably not.) Scarlett is a huge mix of contradictions. Maybe she has a multiple personality disorder! But that's not it either. All of her traits make sense together when you step back and look at them the right way, it's just not immediately obvious.
Anyway, I guess you can already tell this is going to be a rambling post.
As I sat down to write this, I was thinking that Scarlett is dumb as a post (I was thinking about a line early in the book where she cracked me up with her utter ignorance of history). But that's not at all true. She's actually too smart for her own good. She's weak on "book smarts" but I'm guessing that's because she's too busy having fun and flirting to bother with books. She has a good head for business and she's not afraid to use it. She's also great at getting what she wants. If charm doesn't work, she has a sort of alley cat shrewdness that lets her see exactly how to manipulate people.
She is a survivor above all. Her world is burned down around her and she comes back stronger than ever. While all the other people of her class are stoically and heroically starving to death, she is picking cotton, growing food, and striking deals with the Yankees. Honor never seemed to mean much to her to start with, but she definitely ditched the concept when her life was on the line.
|Scarlett showing her true character|
She is one of the worst mothers in literature, I swear! If you've only seen the movie, you might be surprised to find out that she has several children. Even if you've read the book, you'd be forgiven for forgetting about them; Scarlett forgets about them herself. If it weren't for sweet Melanie, the poor things would never get any kind of maternal love.
But while I'm loathing her for ruining men's lives, wanting a married man, neglecting her children, and exploiting everyone around her, I'm also admiring the way she steps up. It wouldn't have surprised me if she had just decided to look out for herself when the family was all but starving. But she didn't let that happen. I think that was because of her vanity as well. "Not on my watch!" That's not fair; she does care about the others just a little bit. My inner feminist likes the way that she refuses to do what society expects of her just because she's a member of the "weaker" sex. She wants a business, so she darn well gets one. My outer wallflower admires that too.
Whatever I felt for her, I always felt it strongly. I was never indifferent to her. I know I'll be thinking about her for years to come.
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Who do ya love?
Or love to hate?
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