Truly without realizing it, almost all of the characters I have chosen to talk about this month have shaped me by showing how much power there is in showing up, being determined, and giving something your best shot. Scarlett O’Hara, although problematic in a lot of ways, is certainly an example of this.
A heroine raised in the deep south by a slave-owning family, the luxury Scarlett was raised with was very clearly because her family used slave labor. As a very young woman, she believes she is deeply in love with Ashley Wilkes and pursues him despite the fact that he is pursuing someone else (whom he eventually marries).
Following the Civil War, her love takes a more pragmatic approach and she successfully pursues Rhett Butler. Their marriage certainly has its problems and ultimately ends following the death of their daughter.
Although Scarlett is certainly problematic, I really appreciate her ability to turn her relentless pursuit in frivolity toward something more practical as she helps herself and her family through one of the most brutal times in United States history. Her tenacity, while it would not have been possible in Gone With the Wind if she had been non-white, is (in my opinion) something to be admired.
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