I have always loved “Gone with the Wind.” I am not sure why. I have seen it dozens of times. I keep it on hand in case I need to watch some mindless drama. Mostly, I love watching Vivian Leigh. She was radiant in that movie. She progresses from the young love struck and willful girl with flashing green eyes to a sad and lonely mother who has lost her child. Her eyes are dead in the last scenes.
In between she secretly drinks, pouts, survives, and acts horribly to everyone she loves. It is easy to see her as selfish. But I have always thought of her as a survivor. She did what she had to do. Some of her actions were spiteful. But more often than not, she did what she thought was necessary to save her land and her family’s heritage, even if in the end it meant marrying that awful Rhett.
That is what makes it so hard to hate her. She is not completely evil. There is some moral underpinning to her actions. She even takes care of Ashley and Melanie in her own strong way. She can pick cotton if she has to. She can marry a fool and run a business too, and at the same time give Ashley something to do. When I watch the story, I am like Rhett. Why on earth does she fawn over that weakling Ashley Wilkes? She is so much better than he is. But then, that may be why she fawns. She wants him to accept her and give her some legitimacy. If he loves her, she is not the selfish, self-centered woman everyone says she is. She is worthy. But in retrospect the only person who gives her legitimacy is Melanie because she sees something there. She understands that Scarlett has to do what she does.
Oh, I could go on. What got me started on this was that I opened my Bradford Exchange plates commemorating Scarlett’s costumes. I bought them almost 20 years ago. I did not buy the whole set because after two plates I decided it was lame. I just checked on Ebay, and they are actually worth something. I put them on the wall in my closet. Then I got on-line and bought a few more to add to my set.