I have read tons and tons of books over the years, and I have found many heroines that I admire and enjoyed getting to know. But, hands down, the heroine I love the most is Scarlett O’Hara. Yes, I know, she’s almost a cliché, but there has never been a heroine who has made the impact on me that Scarlett made. On the surface, she’s not all that admirable. She’s a simpering, self-centered, southern belle, who will do whatever it takes to get what she wants. But even early on, she exhibits a few good qualities in her love for her parents and for Mammy. However, her true character is revealed as the story unfolds. Yes, she will still do whatever it takes to get what she wants, but she will also fiercely protect those she loves and fight to the death for survival.
Talk about character growth…here are some of the things this coddled, self-involved, delicate southern belle did as the story progressed…
- She nursed wounded soldiers and helped hold down a man while his leg was amputated
- When the Yankees were invading Atlanta, she stayed behind to help her arch nemesis instead of fleeing to safety
- She delivered the baby of her arch nemesis
- She took the baby and her arch nemesis with her when she fled burning Atlanta, when she could have left them behind.
- She dealt with the loss of her parents and became head of the family
- She worked her fingers raw to feed her family and bring Tara back to life
- She ran a business and made it a huge success
- She shot and killed a marauding Yankee and then helped bury his dead body
She proves herself to be resilient, smart, strong, brave, and tough. A survivor. And she never lost hope, as evidenced by the last lines of the book:
“I’ll think of it tomorrow, at Tara. I can stand it then. Tomorrow, I’ll think of some way to get him back. After all, tomorrow is another day.”
I would love to write a character with all the complexities and admirable traits of Scarlett O’Hara, but I can’t see me ever having the talent to pull that off. She was most definitely one of a kind.