Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A-Z Challenge: Margaret Mitchell's Scarlett O’Hara

The A-Z Challenge continues with the letter "O."  Truthfully, I had a difficult time deciding on this one--Margaret Mitchell's Scarlett O’Hara.  She's not a sci-fi, fantasy, or even a paranormal romance character, but she is a classic.  And everyone knows how much I love classics.
Scarlett is an incredibly domineering female protagonist for being a mere woman during the Civil War era.  This natural-born survivor is complex, cunning, selfish, demanding, tenacious and a complete pain in the a** when it comes to getting her way.  And what's even more interesting is how her character evolved throughout the story.  I thought I'd highlight her brief introduction in Mitchell's words about Scarlet:


“Scarlet O'Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were. In her face were too sharply blended the delicate features of her mother, a Coast aristocrat of French descent, and the heavy ones of her florid Irish father. But it was an arresting face, pointed of chin, square of jaw. Her eyes were pale green without a touch of hazel, starred with bristly black lashes and slightly tilted at the ends. Above them, her thick black brows slanted upward, cutting a startling oblique line in her magnolia-white skin-that skin so prized by Southern women and so carefully guarded with bonnets, veils and mittens against hot Georgia suns.”
Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind 


Classic quotes from Scarlett:

- Scarlett:"I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow."

- Scarlett: "Tara! Home. I'll go home. And I'll think of some way to get him back. After all... tomorrow is another day."

- Scarlett: "Cathleen, who's that?"
Cathleen Calvert: "Who?"
Scarlett: "That man looking at us and smiling. The nasty, dark one."
Cathleen Calvert: "My dear, don't you know? That's Rhett Butler. He's from Charleston. He has the most terrible reputation."
Scarlett: "He looks as if... as if he knows what I look like without my shimmy."

- Scarlett: "Fiddledee dee"

- Scarlett: "As God is my witness, as God is my witness they're not going to lick me. I'm going to live through this and when it's all over, I'll never be hungry again. No, nor any of my folk. If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill. As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again."

Scarlett: "Oh, Rhett," she laughs. "I want everybody who's been mean to me to be pea-green with envy!"


And one of my favs:

Scarlett: "Sir, you are no gentleman."
Rhett Butler: "And you, Miss, are no lady."


Scarlett was completely imperfect which is one reason why she was so memorable. Do you like/hate this classic character? Did you appreciate how her character evolved in the story?

Mina B.

18 comments:

DonnaGalanti said...

Mina, I adore OHara! She was tough, stoic, feisty and had the gumption to face any odds. She even lost her man over it and pulled herself up - tomorrow is another day. This is a classic that I will always love. Best movie lines ever too!

Geeky Daddy said...

Mina, my wife says that there is something wrong with me that I have not seem Gone With the Wind in its entirety.I have seem bits and pieces.

Jennifer Hoffine said...

Scarlett always struck me as tragic, always longing instead of seeing what she had in Rhett and her daughter.

An amazing character, from a writer's POV.

Lynn Proctor said...

i always thought--that vivian made an absolutely stunning scarlet--this was one of the few movies, my mother saw over 20 times-and read the book as much or more

Elise Fallson said...

I saw GWW as a teenager and hated it. All I wanted to do was smack the **** out of Scarlet. I need to see this again. I'm pretty sure I'll feel differently now, being older and wiser. Well, mostly older at least. (;

S. L. Hennessy said...

I always loved her. She was kind of a witch at times, but an endearing one. And pretty sassy.

Rachel Morgan said...

Is someone going to throw something at me if I admit that I've never read Gone with the Wind?!

David P. King said...

Frankly, my dear ...

Man. Such a slow movie, but still a good one. I should probably read the book sometime. :)

Cecilia M. said...

Oh, Scarlett! Loved her character as well. and now I have the sudden urge to watch the movie again. :) Great post, Mina.

Kayla Beck said...

Like her? Ha! I wanted to BE her from the first time that I saw the movie! (I wasn't old enough to read the book, then.) She is so unapologetically herself and goes for what she wants. I think that everyone should have a little bit of Scarlett in them. :-)

Scarlett said...

My mother, clearly, adored the character of Scarlett O'Hara. I was named after her almost 44 years ago, back when it was nearly unheard of. It has been a talking piece my entire life. Though for some reason it has been confused with Crystal, more times than I count.

I always enjoyed the four hour, plus, presentation of GWTW every year on television growing up. Though I enjoyed The Sound of Music more! But when I read Margaret Mitchell's novel, I was hooked more than ever to the tragic story of civil war, southern prejudices and the life of spoiled, sheltered debutantes of the day. Who didn't love to hate Scarlett O'Hara? Genius, in my eyes!

One of my all-time favorites!

Nick Wilford said...

OK, I'll put my hands up, I've never read the book OR seen the film... but I kind of like Scarlett, now I know a bit more about her.

Cynthia said...

I never read the book but I saw the movie a long time ago. I could see how Scarlett's personality would add spice to the story. There was this other character- she was the nice girl that Scarlett was competitive with. I liked her a bit better.

Ciara said...

I loved the movie and I've always wanted to read the book. I'm hoping this year, but we will see. :) Great choice for the letter O.

Michael Pierce said...

Thank you for informing me more on a classic that I should know more about. I know my wife loves the movie, we just haven't watched it together. It's on the list!

D.G. Hudson said...

I liked Scarlett, she had definite survivor qualities. However, she had poor taste in men, she shouldn't have wasted her time on Ashley, Rhett was the man to go for.

Good choice of O subject!

Carrie Butler said...

"My dear, don't you know? That's Rhett Butler. He's from Charleston. He has the most terrible reputation." >

Butlers always do... ;) Great post, Mina!

mooderino said...

A good example of a fascinating character who isn't particularly likeable.

mood