“Gone with the Wind” is not only a favorite of mine but also a brilliant, witty and timeless novel filled with thought-provoking symbols and rich in themes like slavery, human nature, and gender dynamics. I have read it and re-read it, watched the movie countless times and the artistry of it all still leaves me breathless. But apart from the social themes that I became aware of at a later time, what initially attracted me to this piece is the strength, boldness, and vanity of the lead character, Katie Scarlett O’Hara Hamilton Kennedy Butler.
Scarlett, a green-eyed southern belle, is used as a symbol and embodies both the Old and New South, in a civil war novel.
For most of the plot, Scarlett is foolishly infatuated with the aristocrat and master of Twelve Oaks, Ashley Wilkes and that drives many of her decisions and actions.
If at the beginning of the novel, I fell in love with her wit, in the second part of the plot, I discovered a contrasting woman, capable of unmeasurable courage and discipline of the mind.
While remaining shrewd, frivolous, and mostly unaffectionate, the war transforms her into a businesswoman with leadership pursuits. These are only a few of my favorite lines:
“Burdens are for shoulders strong enough to carry them.”
“Great balls of fire. Don’t bother me anymore, and don’t call me sugar.”
“Marriage, fun? Fiddle-dee-dee. Fun for men you mean.”
“You’d rather live with that silly little fool who can’t open her mouth except to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and raise a passel of mealy-mouthed brats just like her.”
“If he’s forgotten me, I’ll make him remember me. I’ll make him want me again.”
“I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.”
“As God is my witness, as God is my witness they are 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 folks. If I have to lie, steal, cheat, or kill, as God is my witness I’ll never be hungry again.”
And let us not forget her notorious closing line: “After all, tomorrow is another day.”
Along with visually striking elements like landscape, costumes etc., Vivien Leigh assigned for the role of Scarlett O’Hara was, most probably, the reason for the massive success the movie, released in 1939, had and still has. No amount of pencil strokes could ever capture the dignified and composed stature of this gracious character. While I was able to draw her infamous lifted eyebrow and her flared nostrils, I can’t ever reproduce her proud, contentious gaze and striking beauty.