“One of the exhilarating aspects of war, in Gone with the Wind, is that, in plunging the world into crisis, it releases women from the confining rules and petty obsessions of everyday life. Scarlett hasn’t got time to worry about whether we love her or not; she drops the coquette act, then trots it out occasionally, only to have Rhett or Mammy call her bluff. War justifies her masculinization; crisis allows women to shed ladylike passivity and come into their own as competent agents.”

~Molly Haskell (Frankly, My Dear: Gone With the Wind Revisited)

I really love this quote. In three simple sentences Haskell enlightens the feature of my paper. Scarlett contains to much of her father in her, she is masculine and rough-n-tumble and that is why so many people love this book.  Scarlett is able to use the war to her advantage, explore her true self behind the innocent being she pretended to be before.Within the first one hundred pages the book states that Scarlett must hide herself in order to get a husband, because men don’t want a woman who appears smarter then them and once they realize their wife is smarter or wittier then themselves, well it’s too late now, their stuck with them.  A strong independent woman could never show her true colors because it would seemingly damage her image to men. The book then illuminates the scene in which  Scarlett goes to the barbecue, in the unwavering mindset that in order for Ashley to take her she must faint and act innocent and act infantile. The next truth Mitchell states is that if Scarlett would have acted like the strong, witty, smart woman she was, it would have been more attractive than any other disguise she wore that day. If there is anything I have learned from my mother it is that the cream will ALWAYS rise to the top and that in order to gain respect in this world you must respect yourself.

Scarlett didn’t respect herself and she didn’t gain it from other people until she threw her true self in their faces and demanded it.

Scarlett spent her life playing a game. She squeezes her waist into a 17 inch corset, doesn’t eat, relies on her flirtation and plays dumb to get men, which many would be seen as anti-feminism, becoming the person society expects. Haskell on the other hand sees opposite as do I.  She states that Scarlett was a “fierce go-your-own-way survivor”; she was! Past her femininity, rouge, and corsets, she was a woman who desired more than just a quiet dumbed down life, she needed passion and wit to survive. The NY times reviews Haskell’s book here and really dives into what Haskell’s book is all about and how Scarlett represented the “adolescent tomboy”, interested more in climbing trees than learning the techniques in being an abiding southern woman.

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About mmarie94

Hi! I am an AP Lit Student at Penn High School (am I allowed to say that Mr. Coffee?) ["oh well" shoulder shrug] and this blog is to discuss my senior exit project with my peers and others! I am a fan of most literature, except some teeny bopper romances (Sara Dessen that means you sorry), and my favorites come straight from the Barnes & Noble classics shelf. So enjoy, comment, and read on!

One response »

  1. You’ve about got me intrigued. I’ve never even seen the movie, and I just may have to pick up the book.

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