Mr. O’Hara was probably right about asking Mrs. O’Hara what to do all of the time. It freed him up to persue critical hobbies, like jumping fences and gossiping with Mr. Wilkes. Why he never asked her what to do about that daughter of theirs was the real mystery. Maybe he should have asked Mammy what to do, since Mammy was in fact Scarlett’s parent. The advice probably would have gone like this —
Now, we’re talking about the Scarlett of the 1939 film. I’ve never read the book upon which the film is based, and honestly, have no intention of reading it. I think the movie has supplanted that book anyways — can anybody say Scarlett O’Hara without seeing Vivien Leigh’s face? I think not. I’m sure there are Gone With The Wind book purists out there somewhere. They are probably having lunch with The Lord of the Rings book purists, and discussing snobby book purist things, like the latest episode of Masterpiece Theater. If any of those types are reading my irrelevant blog, I apologize in advance.
Katie Scarlett, Katie Scarlett, where do I begin?
Yes, I know Scarlett is a strong woman, and is admired as being such. As her creator said, she has gumption. She’s heroic in her own way, too. I think some people tend to ignore that her strength seems derived from battering everything around her… people, scenery, everything.
You can’t use the Civil War to excuse Scarlett either. Scarlett is pretty much Scarlett when we first encounter her. She’s a spoiled kid who demands her way, becomes ruthlessly bent towards it, and will ram her head mercilessly into a brick wall in order to get it. She’ll also ram others in order to get it, and when you consider that the whole film is basically Scarlett’s temper tantrum over Ashley Wilkes, you come to understand that there isn’t much she wouldn’t do to accomplish whatever end.
Scarlett being hung up on Ashley has nothing to do with loving him. She can’t have him and she pretty much spins other men around her index finger— even the more cynical and world weary types like Rhett Butler seem powerless in resisting her. All Ashley does is blather on about her spirit and fails to put out. Scarlett hates guys who fail to put out, so she spends the rest of movie inserting herself into Ashley’s life and following him around like his crazy stalker girlfriend.
Scarlett hatchets dudes like a lumberjack felling trees. Exhibit A: Charles Hamilton
Charles Hamilton is the dopey and dopey looking younger brother of Melanie Hamilton, aka the chick who gets Ashley instead of Scarlett. Charles is sort of a douche— a raging successionalist dimwit who picks fights with guys who could stomp him into mulch.
He’s also basically harmless, perhaps the ancestor of Forest Gump. He has the great misfortune of being in Scarlett’s path (don’t worry, he’s too dumb to know it). At the Wilkes BBQ, Charles is made Scarlett’s designated man servant, plucked from a sea of dudes who apparently haven’t seen womenfolk down on the farm their entire lives.
Since he is nearby when Scarlett observes a touching goodbye between Melanie and Ashley, Charles Gump becomes Scarlett’s first husband. The poor dupe doesn’t last long afterwards, and Scarlett doesn’t even have the decency to mourn the poor shlub. Instead she feels bad for herself and the dampening that mourning puts on her social life. And then we have Exhibit B: Frank Kennedy
Mr. Kennedy is the only man alive who can stand Scarlett’s sister, Suellen. Since he has this genetic quirk, they are destined to be together. This doesn’t stop Scarlett, however.
Scarlett could care less that she is condemning her sister to the fate of an old maid (really, nobody else can stand her),taxes are owed on Tara and maybe Scarlett is tired of working in the fields. In short, Frank has money and Scarlett wants it.
Scarlett wastes no time in taking over Frank’s business. The new tycoon banishes Frank to their home daily, where he’s always taking his medicine— this is probably Victorian code for drinking since the guy is married to Scarlett. Temperance be damned. When you marry Scarlett O’Hara, the minister takes you aside and passes you a bottle of bourbon.
When she’s not busy dismissing Frank, and taking over the Post-war Atlanta business world, Scarlett is also enslaving Ashley financially. It does her no good, Ashley still won’t put out. Like Charles Hamilton, death frees Frank. Not even Scarlett’s big mouth can tear the veil of eternity, and that brings us to Exhibit C: Rhett Butler.
Rhett is the only dude in the film whose capable of seeing Scarlett for what she is. His clarity doesn’t stop him from falling for her, of course. This is Scarlett O’Hara. Apparently her vagina heals the sick, raises the dead, and puts out laser beams for a ten mile radius. Even Rhett is helpless against that kind of power.
That’s one of the sad things about Rhett. He knows the real Scarlett yet loves her anyway. He does absolutely everything he can for her, time and time again, and the entire time the man believes the woman doesn’t really love him. And for the most part, he’s absolutely right about that.Scarlett makes Rhett live hard. She picks other men and constantly waves Ashley in his face like a flag. Instead of telling her to kiss his big ol’ butt, like any self-respecting former bad boy would do, he believes that she’ll eventually come around. Laser beams! Pew pew pew!
Rhett ends up as husband number three. Their marriage is a tormented affair, that eventually sees a drunken Rhett demonstrating to Scarlett that he could crush her head like a walnut.
A miscarriage, the loss of their daughter, and the death of their best friend later, Rhett finally calls it quits. Naturally, it’s at that moment that Scarlett finally figures out that she wants him. Apparently, confusing and tormenting the guy for years should be conviently forgotten when Scarlett wants her way.
Scarlett is no better to her friends. Consider Melanie Hamilton-Wilkes.
Melanie is never anything but good and fair to Scarlett. She legit loves the shrew, and her reward is the shrew constantly plotting to swipe her husband. Sure Scarlett ends up taking care of Melanie at certain points but it’s because she promised the Lord of the Ladies she would do so. It’s not like she does it out of the goodness of her heart. Like the Grinch, Scarlett’s heart suffers from size problems.
Spirit and strength and courage aside, Scarlett is the meanest troll under the bridge. The last word goes to Rhett.