Scarlett O'Hara - “Gone with the Wind” by Margaret Mitchell

A Comprehensive Analysis of Literary Protagonists - Sykalo Evgen 2023

Scarlett O'Hara - “Gone with the Wind” by Margaret Mitchell

Scarlett O'Hara in Margaret Mitchell's "Gone with the Wind": A Nuanced View of Resilience and Contradictions

Determine the Type of Character

The protagonist of Margaret Mitchell's epic book "Gone with the Wind," Scarlett O'Hara, is a compelling figure. Scarlett experiences a significant metamorphosis during the story, affecting her personality and perception of the outside world. Her journey is characterized by fortitude, flexibility, and an unwavering will to live in the face of hardship.

Examine the Character's Position in the Narrative

Without a doubt, the main character in "Gone with the Wind" is Scarlett O'Hara. Her relationships, struggles, and experiences are central to the narrative. But Scarlett isn't your typical hero. She occasionally challenges conventional ideas of heroism by being more of an antihero due to her complexity and moral uncertainties. Her decisions affect the course of events for those around her as she navigates the stormy times of the American Civil War and its aftermath.

Look Into the Past of the Character

Scarlett's upbringing has had a significant influence on who she is. She is raised on the Tara estate and was born into the aristocratic Southern elite of pre-Civil War Georgia. Her upbringing in luxury has imbued her with a sense of entitlement and a conviction in the significance of social standing. Scarlett has developed a strong sense of self-reliance and emotional fortitude as a result of the early death of her mother Ellen and the lack of a meaningful relationship with her father Gerald.

Examine Personality Traits of the Character

The character of Scarlett O'Hara is characterized by paradoxes. She is fiercely independent, resourceful, and determined all at once. She can, however, also be egotistical, manipulative, and indifferent to other people's feelings. Her unwavering pursuit of her romantic interest Ashley Wilkes emphasizes her obstinacy and defiance of loss. But when Scarlett deals with the difficulties posed by the Civil War and its aftermath, her resilience and fortitude shine through.

She uses her charm and humor as key tools to turn events to her favor. As Scarlett struggles with society expectations and her own aspirations, her ability to hide her true feelings and intentions becomes both a survival strategy and a source of internal conflict.

Assess the Character's Interactions

Scarlett's character development is mostly dependent on her connections. Her journey is shaped by her relationships with people like Melanie Hamilton, Ashley Wilkes, and Rhett Butler. Scarlett's intricate romantic triangle with Ashley and Rhett is a reflection of her inner turmoil and yearnings. Her connection with Melanie, which was tough at first because they both loved the same man, develops into a close friendship that goes above social conventions, despite its complexity.

In addition, Scarlett's connections with her father and sisters in particular highlight various aspects of her personality. Her turbulent marriage to Rhett Butler and her poor connection with her second husband, Frank Kennedy, give her character depth.

Examine the Behavior of the Character

Scarlett frequently acts out of a need to succeed and survive. In light of the destruction caused by the Civil War, Scarlett assumes leadership of Tara. She defies social norms by engaging in tasks often associated with men due to her business acumen and determination.

Scarlett's pragmatic approach to life is demonstrated by her work as a businesswoman, her unwavering pursuit of fortune and societal standing, and her decision to marry for financial stability rather than love. Her participation in the lumber industry, which depends on the exploitation of prison labor, is one of the morally dubious acts she takes.

Determine the Conflicts the Character Faces

Conflicts arise for Scarlett O'Hara from both inside and outside. She struggles inwardly with her unfulfilled love for Ashley Wilkes, her ambivalence toward Rhett Butler, and her changing perception of her own needs. From the outside, Scarlett handles the difficulties posed by the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the shifting social climate in the South.

Scarlett's exterior difficulties are a result of the expectations society places on her as a Southern woman, her financial struggles, and the deaths of close ones. Scarlett's character is made more complex by her capacity to adjust to these difficulties, even if it occasionally means surrendering her morals.

Evaluate Character Development or Shift

Throughout the book, Scarlett O'Hara experiences tremendous development and transformation. She is initially shown as a conceited, impetuous young lady whose main worries are parties, boyfriends, and social standing. Nonetheless, Scarlett is forced to face hard truths due to the difficulties of both the war and Reconstruction.

Her transformation from a pampered Southern belle to a strong, practical survivor is replete with epiphanies and self-discoveries. A significant shift may be seen in Scarlett's admission of her love for Rhett Butler and her own shortcomings. Scarlett is a powerful force in a society that is changing despite her shortcomings because of her perseverance and ability to adapt.

Provide Proof to Back Up Your Analysis

Scarlett's early examples of resilience are exemplified by her unwavering will to preserve Tara. She assumes management of the plantation in the face of financial disaster and social contempt, demonstrating her capacity for adaptation and triumph over hardship. According to Mitchell, "With the spirit that was hers alone, Scarlett defied the Yankee soldiers, and with the same spirit she defied poverty and the twisting winds of war."

Scarlett's choice to wed Charles Hamilton out of security is clear evidence of her practical approach to marriage. She weds Frank Kennedy after his passing because of his fortune. Scarlett's intention to ensure Tara's and her own financial security is reflected in her pattern of marriages for financial stability.

In addition, Scarlett's character growth revolves around her relationship with Rhett Butler. A pivotal moment in the book occurs when she comes to realize how much she loves Rhett. "Rhett, Rhett, if you go, where shall I go?" confesses Scarlett. How should I proceed?" In contrast to her previous, more egocentric attitudes, this sensitivity shows her development and ability to feel real emotion.

Determine the Significance of the Character

The significance of Scarlett O'Hara comes from her representation of the South's transformation during and after the Civil War. She represents tenacity, flexibility, and surviving in the face of extraordinary adversity. Scarlett questions conventional norms on gender roles, society expectations, and idealized ideas of the Old South.

Scarlett is an intriguing character in spite of her flaws because of her complexity and growth. Her transformation from a spoilt Southern belle to a strong lady who takes on family duties and aspires to financial independence is impressive. In addition to being a critique of the social standards that limit women, Scarlett's character is a reflection of the chaotic times in which she lives.

In summary, Scarlett O'Hara is a vibrant and complex character whose journey in "Gone with the Wind" goes beyond what one might expect from a conventional heroine. Mitchell gives the story more complexity by capturing Scarlett's virtues, vices, and changes, which makes her one of the most enduring figures in American literature.