In Gone with the Wind, can somebody describe Scarlett's coming-of age in terms of aesthetic experience?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Scarlett O' Hara was very fond of the fact that she would be at an age where she gets to flaunt the latest fashions, the smallest waist line, and the best-looking features among the other young ladies of her age.

Even though she slightly acknowledged that her ultimate fate would be to serve as wife and mother to someone in the future, she enjoyed her entrance into womanhood by ensuring that her looks were not only pleasing to the young gentlemen callers, but also painful and intimidating to her fellow cotillion belles.

When she became a widow for the first time, she was still literally coming of age because she was still very young and had not even spent enough time with a husband who died while he was away at War. Yet, she could not understand how she, being so young and vibrant, had to be tucked in black taffeta for two whole years before she could come back to "normal".

This is significant aesthetically speaking, because this is when she and Rhett had their first dance together which shocked the audience present, since a widow, clearly in "mourning" was happily dancing away. And, speaking of Rhett, he also disagreed with the anti-aesthetic idea of "burying the women along with their husbands" when it comes to dress codes, behavior codes, and all other things that seriously take away the femininity out of the gender and plunges them into ugly creatures of habit. This is what Scarlett always feared...and always got away from!