Scarlett O'Hara - Gone With the Wind
Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Do you have a favourite fictional character from a book? Mine is Scarlett O'Hara from Margaret Mitchell's Gone WIth the Wind. Unusually for me, I saw this as a movie before I read the book. I fell in love with Scarlett in the movie and then even more so when I read the book.
The book was written in 1936 but is still a wonderful read. Katie Scarlett O'Hara is a sixteen-year-old southern belle when the novel begins, and it follows her story as her life is turned upside down by the American Civil War and she loses some friends and family and goes through three marriages.
At the start of the novel the young Katie Scarlett, or Scarlett as everyone but her father calls her. is a pretty girl who loves to flirt and is fairly vain and self-centred in comparison to her sisters. She is pretty, charming and smart, and has the boys from neighboring plantations wrapped around her little finger and eager to wait on her hand and foot. She is attracted to her older neighbor Ashley Wilkes and would like to marry him, although the family tradition is to marry a cousin. At a barbecue social gathering she lets him know of her feelings in the library and he tells her he is going to wed somebody else.
After Ashley leaves the library Scarlett is mortified to find they weren't alone in there, and meets Rhett Butler for the first time. He is attracted to the feisty young woman and the story brings them together many times until he eventually becomes her third husband. Scarlett marries her sister's beau just before he goes off to war, mainly because she wants to show Ashley she doesn't care about him. She is quite manipulating but also very strong and focused on what she wants.
The Civil War comes to destroy everything she knows and she almost loses her home but makes her sisters work in the fields with her to bring in the cotton crop so they can continue to keep their plantation, Tara. She becomes a hard-nosed businesswoman and is willing to lie and connive to get her own way, but still keeps her love of the land and her home Tara. It takes her many years to realize she never really loved Ashley, but has loved Rhett for some time, but by then he has given up on her ever changing.
The book was made into a movie where Vivien Leigh played Scarlett and Clark Gable played Rhett. If you like the movie you will love the book - but don't bother to read the sequel that was written by another writer as you will be disappointed.