I have a confession to make. I absolutely adore Scarlett O’Hara.
She is, by and large, a terrible person. She a product of her times – the 1860s – and her raising – a plantation in Georgia during the Civil War and the time after. In her novel “Gone with the Wind”, Margaret Mitchell offers no illusions about Scarlett’s selfishness, greed, and heartlessness. As her life goes on, she becomes an apathetic drunkard and realizes far too late that she has lost everything that mattered to her. Who in their right mind would love such a creature?
I do. Because I want to take Scarlett out of her usual context. Scarlett is raised to be a perfect lady with grace and poise, a sweet smile, all molded to catch a good husband. Externally, she is this doll. Internally, she has a fighting spirit. She looks at the things she wants, and she will let nothing stand in her way. While her methods are often questionable – and certainly the time and place of her raising affects some of these choices – she is resolute.
Unlike her counterpart, Rhett Butler, Scarlett does not manipulate and dance around to get the things she wants. She is brave and daring. She learns quickly that there are faster and easier ways of getting the things she wants. She uses surprise, and her cruel cunning to fight her way through the difficult, reconstructed South. She fears nobody, although she also allows herself to love nobody.
Still, isn’t there something to admire about her strength? About her determination? Her bravery at the escape from Atlanta? Her resolution to feed her family and keep Tara? These are the things for which I adore the character – the strength within her, not the choices she made. I wish I had half her daring.
“Daring” – The Daily Post Promt, Oct. 4, 2016