Lots of little girls in the South are named Scarlett. Having just watched Gone With the Wind and started in on the novel, I can state with total authority that it is a TRAVESTY that they aren't named Melanie instead. My fabulousness aside, I mean.
I love Melanie Wilkes. I loathe Scarlett O'Hara.
What's more, as a Southern-raised woman, I'm not sure I even get her. Anyone want to argue her case for me? Because here's how I see it: she has NO redeeming qualities.
Even the ones on the surface that seem like redeeming qualities to other Southernors in Scarlett are NOT. Like love of the land, for example. We love our land, yes. And no matter how long I've been gone from Louisiana, it's like invisible roots shoot out the second I step out of the airport and connect me to the place that shaped my spirit. My grandfather owned and worked a good bit of acerage all his life, even until his death in his eighties. I spent countless hours working in the huge gardens my father planted every summer. Loamy, stinky, gorgeous soil. It's what we do.
But Scarlett . . . I don't know. I don't understand why she loves the land. It's a possession thing, not a connection thing, I think.
And another Southern commandment: she reveres her parents. But when she escapes Atlanta to be taken care of by her mother, she flips to find out she's dead only because it's now inconvenient for her to lose that source of comfort.
I don't get it. Melanie Wilkes is kind of the awesomest and Scarlett pretty much sucks. When all is said and done and Scarlett's all alone at the end, I kinda don't give a damn, either.