Scarlett’s spirit…

“Fiddle-dee-dee. War, war, war; this war talk’s spoiling all the fun at every party this spring. I get so bored I could scream. Besides… there isn’t going to be any war” says pretty Scarlett O’ Hara as she charms the eager men at a barbecue at Twelve Oaks on the eve of the American Civil war. Fiddle-dee-dee could never be uttered like the way Scarlett did, with her impish smile and big black eyes so wonderfully portrayed by Vivien Leigh in my favorite Hollywood movie of all times ” Gone with the wind”. Tara, the home of the O’Haras with it’s cotton plantations, the boisterousness of Gerald O’Hara and the vivaciousness of his pretty daughter Scarlett reflects the untiring Georgian spirit.Scarlett’s love for Ashley Wilkes ( Leslie Howard ) remains undaunted despite his marriage to cousin Melanie, but Scarlett’s feisty spirit keeps her optimistic in a child like manner. She lives life with the hope that Ashley will be hers one day.

Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone with the wind ” which birthed Scarlett is a masterpiece.Margaret Mitchell’s masterpiece was reproduced in 1939 as a Hollywood film and has been ranked as one of the highest grosser of all times with figures adjusted for inflation. The movie was made with a budget of 4 million, by no means a modest sum for that era. While Scarlett and Rhett lived in a world of strife at the time of the civil war amongst wounded and dying confederate soldiers , food shortage and growing taxes, I lived in a near perfect utopian state of realization of Scarlett’s spirit. Scarlett’s arian spirit is unwavering. Despite all odds, she faces life with strife, valor and unparalleled determination as the central character of the novel. She loves Ashley but Scarlett’s love for Tara overrides all other and like none other. The dashing, handsome Rhett Butler (Clark Gable ) loved Scarlett when he set eyes on her at the library of Twelve Oaks when Scarlett has an altercation with Ashley Wilkes. He wakes up to the noise of a crashing vase that Scarlett hurls over the sofa he is sleeping on, hidden from her view. Awakening to the shattering noise and with a twinkle in his eye asks if the war has begun.Nobody, looked like the way Rhett did at Scarlett, nobody kissed Scarlett like the way he did in cinematic history. Whether it was the book that describes this moment at the library and Rhett’s love for Scarlett or the movie that brings to life Scarlett and Rhett, this fiery romanticism that existed between the suave, dashing Rhett and the immature Scarlett was never witnessed before. Our eyes and ears yearned for more of Scarlett and Rhett  and their chemistry set our hearts on fire.

There are immense lessons to be learnt from the story and Mitchell’s detailed descriptions of Scarlett’s spirit is a treasure. Scarlett resurrects Tara when it was devastated by the Northern troops. She gets on her hands and knees and revives the dying crops on the plantation. She famously says – “As God is my witness, as God is my witness they’re not going to lick me! I’m going to live through this and when it’s all over, I’ll never be hungry again! No, nor any of my folk. If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill! As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again!”

Scarlett is widowed twice and marries Rhett the third time more out of convenience and her growing need for luxury and comforts. She wished to satiate her child like fantasies of re living the Tara life. She seizes the opportunity and lives in a sprawling manor in Atlanta. She loses both her children with Rhett and her reputation is sullied by her love for Ashley in a reviving Atlanta.  An already mourning Rhett is outraged and distances himself from Scarlett. When Melanie dies, Scarlett realizes Ashley’s love for Melanie and she was loving something that never existed. When she runs back to Rhett, it is too late. He is packing up to leave and she frantically pleads with him to stay – “Rhett… If you go … where shall I go? What shall I do?”
“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” says Rhett famously and walks out of the heavy oak doors of the Atlanta manor.

Rhett’s love for Scarlett and Scarlett’s love for Ashley is better understood than Scarlett’s love for Rhett. Amidst Scarlett’s immature and hasty propositions to the men whom she married and lost, there is tapestried adoration for Rhett. Scarlett being a fighter makes the optimum utilization of unconditioned moments and latches on to every life line that is thrown at her. Somewhere during her travesties she falls out of love with Ashley and falls in love with Rhett. Rhett treats her like a child but adores her bashfulness as much as her impulsiveness. Scarlett’s love for Rhett is more whimsical than the child like obsession that she initially had for Ashley. The realization of her true love for Rhett sets in only at the very end.

Scarlett hopes, yearns and firmly resolves that she will go back to Tara – “Tara! Home. I’ll go home, and I’ll think of some way to get him back! After all, tomorrow is another day!”

Tomorrow is indeed another day in all our lives. What aspirations are not realized today, we live in the profound hope of realizing it tomorrow.

Some more memorable dialogues – 

Rhett Butler ( Clark Gable ):
“I can’t go all my life waiting to catch you between husbands.”

Rhett Butler ( Clark Gable ):
“I love you. Because we’re alike. Bad lots both of us. Selfish and shrewd but able to look things in the eye and call them by their right name.”

Scarlett O’Hara ( Vivien Leigh ):
“Fiddle dee dee. War, war, war. This war talks is spoiling the fun at every party this spring. I get so bored I could scream.”

Scarlett O’Hara ( Vivien Leigh ):
“Another dance and my reputation will be gone forever.”
Rhett Butler ( Clark Gable ):
“With enough courage you can do without a reputation.”

Rhett Butler ( Clark Gable ):
“No, I don’t think I will kiss you. Although you need kissing badly. That’s what wrong with you. You should be kissed and often by someone who knows how.”

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9 Responses to “Scarlett’s spirit…”

  1. Tomorrow is indeed another day to Hope for many things. Alas ! if Tomorrow ever comes !

  2. Love is not ideal. Gone with the wind perhaps revolves around this central theme. What I liked most about this movie as well as the book is their adherence to a little ‘un-dramatic’ theory for that time : “there is nothing absolutely black or white. After all grey is a shade folks”. Thank you for this write-up.

  3. They have stopped making such classics. The 1939 screen adaptation did complete justice to Margaret Mitchell’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel. And so have you.

  4. Salman Shahid Alvi Says:

    Though we may have been used to seeing movies in an all new innovative style with the use of tech’s but still it lacks the simplicity and serenity that existed in earlier times…..it was a completely different experience….

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