Scarlett O’Hara is my all-time favorite character and “Gone with the Wind” is my favorite movie. Her plight in the movie resonates with me at a certain level. I love how innocently selfish, driven,ambitious, beautiful, and loveable she is. I have said, “Fiddle Dee Dee, I will think about that tomorrow” for most of my life when things don’t go well. I admire her passion for survival and her inhibition to do what she is driven to do. Nothing stopped her. She had many character flaws and she lost in love and never did win over the heart of Ashley Wilkes. He preferred his cousin. Gross.
Anyhoo…One scene in the movie is constantly running through my mind, and as often is the case, it will not leave me alone until I write it down.
Scarlett has just lost her first husband that adored her. She was young and stupid and married him for money but never loved him. (This is not my case of course). But that’s not the point of this journal. The scene starts at a ball to raise money for the war effort against the Union. Scarlett wants to go, but because she is officially in mourning, it is not appropriate for her to go to the dance. She manages to make her way there anyways. She is wearing a black mourning dress and hat and she has to stand behind the offering booth where people are donating their wedding rings and silver and other valuables to the effort. Scarlett is bouncing in her shoes behind the booth and chatting with the soldiers and the beautifully dressed ladies in their ball gowns. Her face doesn’t look at all like she’s in mourning. The music starts and off go the beautiful couples in a beautifully choreographed Southern dance. She is leaning over the table and the camera focuses in on her shoes dancing the steps to the dance. She knows the dance well. She not allowed to go out and dance. Society dictates her behavior. Gone are her beautifully colored ball gowns and replaced by a black dowdy mourning dress. She just wants to live and be happy and dance. Poor Scarlett.
I wonder what people’s expectations are of others when a tragedy like this happens? Do people expect the black mourning dresses of themselves? Do they stand at the sidelines and watch all the others dance, and then they get stuck in a self-fulfilling prophesy? Or do they kick up their heels and dance the night away knowing their loved one is smiling from above and saying, “That’s it! You got this! Go be happy! I love you!”