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Literary Analysis: Scarlett O'Hara: Gone With the Wind

            Scarlett O"Hara, Margaret Mitchell's prime character in her epic novel Gone with the Wind, goes through many different life-changing situations through the course of the book. Scarlett's characteristics go far beyond her apparent physical beauty to her deepest emotions, and Mitchell explains them perfectly with excellent word choice and stunning imagery.
             Mitchell made the perfect choice of characteristics for O"Hara, such as her overwhelming beauty that catches men as a spider catches flies in a web. Her personality reflects the attitude of women during the Civil War. She wants to be the best woman in the county, perhaps in the state, and wants to marry well. The love of her life, Ashley Wilkes, unfortunately, announces early in the novel that he plans to marry Melanie Hamilton. Obviously, this did not set well with Scarlett, and she becomes depressed for some time. Her internal conflicts foreshadow the events yet to come concerning Rhett Butler. Trying to make Ashley somewhat jealous, Scarlett marries Charles Hamilton. Her never-ending vain search for happiness with Ashley ends up killing a chance to be with Rhett. Scarlett's internal conflicts intensify when Charles dies in a battle early in the war. She quickly turns to the role of a widow, complete with a black veil, to show her sorrow at the passing of her husband; she found this procedure overly restrictive.
             Determination plays a huge role in defining Scarlett's character, as she passes quickly through stages of teenage spoilage to a wealthy businesswoman, making her trade in the sawmill in Atlanta and rebuilding her father's devastated plantation at Tara. Determination quickly gives way to jealousy at times throughout the novel, mostly aimed at Melanie. Later, Scarlett realizes that Melanie actually sourced Scarlett's own personal strengths.
             As the South changes, Scarlett follows suit precisely. While Ashley Wilkes represents the well-mannered Old South, Rhett and Scarlett symbolize the embodiment of the Old and New South.

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