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Scarlett O'Hara

mtdmind

New Member
I just finished reading Gone With The Wind recently. I could not decide if I like the Scarlett O'Hara character. On one side she is responsible for so much, on the other she is so materialistic. What do you all think of her character?
 

pontalba

Well-Known Member
I just finished reading Gone With The Wind recently. I could not decide if I like the Scarlett O'Hara character. On one side she is responsible for so much, on the other she is so materialistic. What do you all think of her character?

Scarlett's "materialism" did not spring from selfishness, but from necessity. If she had not acted in the manner she did, her family home would have been lost. Both she and her sisters would have been tossed out on the road.

She instinctively knew what had to be done and had the courage and determination and grit to do it. At no little personal loss either IMO.
So materialistic is not a term I'd use for her.

It has been argued that her marriage to Frank was at the cost of Suellen, however the cold fact is that if Suellen had married Frank, she'd not have lifted a finger (or a penny) to help her family. The opportunity presented itself, and Scarlett grabbed it with both hands.

Ok, you could call her opportunistic, :) but to survive the times those were the only ones that survived. Ashley and Melanie would have gone down the drain as well probably without Scarlett. All those people on her back, depending on her, yet they didn't really appreciate her did they.

I admire her determination and single mindness, she focused and followed through.
 

mtdmind

New Member
Thanks for responding, Pantalba. I ,too admire her determination as well as her strength. I don't feel anyone else in her family had her focus to keep everyone fed. I feel at the end of the story after Rhett leaves her that she will probably still get back on her feet again.
 

BookManEd

New Member
I just watched "Gone with the Wind" last night lol (My wife wanted to watch it)

Didn't the sister or whoever just pass away a few weeks back? Can't think of her name off the top of my head
 

pontalba

Well-Known Member
I just watched "Gone with the Wind" last night lol (My wife wanted to watch it)

Didn't the sister or whoever just pass away a few weeks back? Can't think of her name off the top of my head

I had not seen the article about her. Ann Rutherford played Carreen, the youngest. Interesting article here

She was a tough little lady. :)
 

spywannabe

New Member
Scarlett was a casualty of the war and thrust into life and death situations. She rose to the occasion and did what she had to do in the worst of circumstances of post civil war. I saw the movie recently too and it reminded me of how much I respected her tough choices.
 

pontalba

Well-Known Member
But do you think people like her or dislike her ?

Good question. I suppose that would depend on if you were the one she ran over with that big Mack Truck of hers. :D
I think she was a hard person to really know, but if one got beneath the bluster and frippery she was a genuine and loving person. And one has to like a person with that sort of nature.

Personally, I like her. I think she had a naturally sweet disposition, she was just one of the most single-minded individuals I've encountered in fiction, or real life. She is loyal to a fault, loves her family and loves what they love, the land. It was everything to her, finally.

She had to mature mighty quickly, remember she was only 16 when the war began, and had to do it basically on her own. Sure, she used her looks to get what she wanted, that hasn't changed in centuries, and won't. Everyone does that to some extent at some time in their lives. So. No execution for that.
 

almaty

New Member
This is the best book I ever read. Scarlett O'Hara is my person of inspiration, she is the most amazing woman ever, to go from riches to rags and back to riches, it was such an amazing journey to observe. Though materialistic, she has the liveliness I always admired, like Melanie Wilkes said ;)
 
I have always admired Scarlett. She was full of "piss and vinegar" as my granddaddy used to say. She was tough. She knew what had to be done and she did it. Sometimes at the expense of others, sometimes at her own expense. She was bright and loved the land as she was taught. She worked hard and she worked others hard to save the land of her family. She saw opportunity and took full advantage of it. She liked things to be nice and comfortable but when help was needed for the injured soldiers, she dug right in. She was a product of her times when slavery was common... I wish she had been a bit of an abolitionist... but she was what she was - a complicated, fully drawn, memorable character. My profile image is a print of her that I bought from the MGM Grand in Vegas. She is one of the most memorable characters in literature and movies.
 

SeoulMan

Member
Honestly, I haven't read this book and only watched the first 1.5 hours of the movie. I associate Scarlett with Vivian Leigh. It's a very close association which is very disturbing because I can't imagine Scarlett being married to Laurence Olivier. I can, however, imagine Scarlett with mental illness, which Leigh suffered from.
 

pontalba

Well-Known Member
Honestly, I haven't read this book and only watched the first 1.5 hours of the movie. I associate Scarlett with Vivian Leigh. It's a very close association which is very disturbing because I can't imagine Scarlett being married to Laurence Olivier. I can, however, imagine Scarlett with mental illness, which Leigh suffered from.

So, from your slightly more than one-quarter viewing of a film, and no reading of the more than 1,000 page book, you have formed an informed opinion of a major character.
Fascinating.

Leigh was bi-polar and probably suffered from postpartum depression. To compare the actress with the character is not fair to the actress. IMO
 

SeoulMan

Member
This is what I do. Make snap associations of actors and the characters they portray. I'm not sure I'll ever get to the book. I have a long list of books I must read.
 

Meadow337

Former Moderator
So, from your slightly more than one-quarter viewing of a film, and no reading of the more than 1,000 page book, you have formed an informed opinion of a major character.
Fascinating.

Leigh was bi-polar and probably suffered from postpartum depression. To compare the actress with the character is not fair to the actress. IMO

or vice versa
 

Meadow337

Former Moderator
I have to confess though that I don't like Scarlett or Scarlett types IRL either. There is a point where 'I did what I had to in order to survive" wears thin as an excuse for what is essentially remarkably self-centered behaviour.

Survival does not necessitate the loss of compassion, and basic milk of human kindness. When we read stories of heroism in disasters that move our soul they are always examples of people acting with a concern, kindness and compassion for others beyond the necessity of their own survival.

Scarlett I'm afraid has her own skin firmly at position # 1 and THAT is incredibly unlikeable!
 
I see your point, Meadow. As I watch her manipulate folks (mostly men) to get what she wants, she almost seems to grow horns... However, she was a product of her time. A woman's lot in life depended upon how well she could manipulate men. Owning her own property and business was unheard of (though Scarlett managed to do both, didn't she?) Girl children were taught very differently from boy children - and it remains so today in many instances... They learned to cook, clean, sew and manage their homes (and their men) as well as manage their help and manipulate their social circle. Each girl child (especially in Scarlett's "class") was the center of her own universe. She may not have had a lot of control - but what she had - she manipulated to get. I did feel bad about Scarlett's treatment of Melanie (who was cut from a whole different cloth than Scarlett...). I grew up in the South and it has changed very much, of course, but girl children (I believe) are taught to be aware of tactics like Scarlett's. Sayings like - "A true Southern Belle can tell you to go to hell in such a way that it is 30 minutes or longer before you figure it out" When I read the book, I try to picture the time period it portrays. I may be way off base, here - but I don't think so...

Each person will judge the content of a book based on their life experience. Every book will read differently to each person who reads it - no matter what the author intended. I don't see Scarlett tossing around a lot of "the milk of human kindness" but, she was smart, feisty, determined and close to fearless -
 
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