Friday, June 18, 2010

Book 45: Miss O'Hara.

When I was reading Wuthering Heights back in March, I complained about how I hated every character in the book. But, when I finished it, I still loved the book. And while that may not be the case here, I really don't find much to admire in Miss Scarlett O'Hara.

I don't think I have ever read a book with such a selfish, vain, spoiled protagonist. Scarlett annoys me with her naivety and selfishness. She wants what she wants and will stop at nothing until she gets it. When she sees a boy she wants, she goes full throttle until the poor thing is trembling next to her in hopes she will bat her eyes at him.

She treats her family and those close to her as if they are disposable. She never takes responsibility for her actions and she is simply infuriating. Also, she can be conniving and manipulative to get what she wants and it usually successful. Don't forget that she steals husbands and beaux as if they were going out of style. Yes, there is not a lot to like about Scarlett. She is everything I hope I am not.

But there is something that draws me in to her. Even though she is all of the above things, and many more, I still like and appreciate her spunk. When her family begins to fall apart, she pulls them together. Granted, she's a little rough about it, but she takes care of them the best way she knows how. When the Yankee soldier enters her house and begins to rob them of the few possessions she has left, she takes care of it in the way she has to.

Scarlett has a lot of spunk, desire, and sass, all of which I can appreciate. But I don't have to like her.

Which is why I am glad that there are so many likable characters in this novel. They stand beside Scarlett and showcase her few good qualities (that sass and spunk I was talking about). And they also show the reader someone to root for who is deserving of good things. Above all, I am talking about Melanie who is a staunch Scarlett supporter. No matter what Scarlett does to the poor girl, Melanie sticks beside her and supports her, even when rumors are flying.

It is because of this that the reader can stomach Scarlett. While she is certainly not a nice person, she tries because she wants more. She wants things to be easy for her and those around her. She had to make choices that were difficult, but her family ultimately owes their life to her. Without Scarlett, all of the other characters would have died (except Rhett, but he is deserving of his own post, that's for sure). Scarlett is their center and their pillar of strength, bad person or not.

I am hoping, as I finish this up, that Scarlett will surprise me and make a turn for the better, but I am not holding my breath. I have a feeling I will know how this will end and it will probably end the way it should.


  1. Your description of Scarlett is exactly why you either love or hate her character. Don't we all just once would love to be some part of it at some point in our life-just to get it out or see what happens. She seems to be that person while you were growing up that seemed to be self absorbed and selfish and got everything she wanted, while here you are being good and ugh nothing happens. In the end, you just love the fact that all the spunk saves her. Loved the movie, never read the book. Love, Mom

  2. O I do hope she surprises you too. I really should read this sometime.

  3. Scarlett is a character I love to hate.

  4. I completely agree. There's something so charismatic about her that draws you in, but at the same time I would NEVER want to be friends with her in real life. The fact that she's so unapologetic about the choices she makes (no matter who she hurts) is equal parts admirable and despicable.

  5. Yes there are several likable characters, but they pale in comparison to Scarlett :)

    You should have seen the heated discussion in my book club last year about her.

  6. I think that's the reason this book is so wonderful. It's completely unique to have a protagonist who's like her. You love to hate her, but you can't hate all of her. I think that's why we see so many attempts at another Scarlett in a lot of today's novels.

    *And side note: My mother loved this book so much, she named one of her daughter's after Melanie, the character.* :)

  7. I feel so mixed about Scarlett! I admire her spunk as you put it...she really is a survivor but I also sort of hate the way she treats people who love her. I loved Melanie in the book, though.

    Scarlett does a lot that I hate but it's arguable her family survived because of her.