Literary Ladies #8: Scarlett O’Hara

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Literary Ladies is my weekly series where I nerd out for a bit & imagine my favorite literary heroines into the modern world. Email me your suggestions or leave a comment below!

Is there a literary heroine with more spunk, more grit, than Katie Scarlett O’Hara? I always have a hard time coming up with an actress to play my heroines, but this one was nearly impossible. Scarlett O’Hara is epic. She personifies the South, the belle of the ball, excess and poverty, determination– so many things to consider! And, almost more important, Scarlett must be ravishingly beautiful. That’s why I finally decided on Amy Adams:

I chose Amy Adams because of her amazing versatility– have you seen the plethora of movies she’s been in? She went from Enchanted, a family musical, to Doubt, which won a Pulitzer & deals with Very Adult Subjects, in the course of a year. I there’s any actress in Hollywood with the chops to play a woman like Scarlett, Amy Adams is the one. Gone With the Wind 2009 would be set in the South, of course, but since the whole premise is the Civil War I think I’m going to fabricate a war with Mexico. That’s the beauty of the internet. I can fabricate whatever I’d like. (Sort of like Scarlett, but with fewer broken hearts.)

One thing I would want changed about a modern-day interpretation is the fact that the original movie left out Scarlett’s other two children than Bonnie, who, in the novel, lived with her sister Suellen at Tara. In fact, the 1939 version left out a good deal of Scarlett’s more selfish traits & merely hinted at her cruelty, whereas in the novel the reader gets a good understanding of how disliked Scarlett is, even within her family, from her relationship with her sisters. Also absent is the true sense of evolution you get from the novel– in leaving out so much of her life, the changes within her character seem far less developed, and appear to happen with far less impetus than with her entire back story explained.

scarlett o'hara

Scarlett O’Hara, in 2009, would be draped head to toe in couture, and only the most fine, expensive couture at that. Even during sieges, battles– her couture would just be dirtier, more ragged. It is those times, of siege and death, where Scarlett really learns what she is made of. In the novel, it took all that hardship for her to come to an understanding of her own limitations and freedoms, which helped to solidify her stubborn streak– Scarlett never was good at following rules. In good times, Scarlett’s decadence and almost-obscene sense of style would be the talk of the town, and the envy of all the girls. She wears the highest heels, the reddest lipstick, the laciest underpinnings, the whitest & biggest diamonds, has the most suitors (and scandal) and always has to learn the hard way.

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3 Responses to “Literary Ladies #8: Scarlett O’Hara”

  1. Bob Says:

    Well said. I couldn’t agree with you more. Amy is the real deal, with ravishing beauty and incredible acting chops.

  2. Literary ladies #9: Ella Turner « new england noir Says:

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