Can someone describe the character of Scarlett in Gone With the Wind?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Scarlett is self-centered and vain, and appears at first to be a clear example of the legendary spoiled Southern belle, but she has qualities that set her apart from the typical stereotype.  Scarlett is strong and fiercely determined, as she shows when she vows, "I'll never go hungry again" after the destruction of Twelve Oaks Plantation by the Yankees.  Scarlett is also deeply intelligent, and a formidable entity in her quest to save her beloved home Tara and establish financial security.

Scarlett's fatal flaw is that she cannot escape the perceived superficial demands of Southern society, even within herself.  She longs to be a gentlewoman, but the things she must do to survive and achieve her ambitions do not allow her to, and she does not appreciate nor can she accept those elements of her character that set her apart. She is single-minded to a fault, unable to see the greater picture and break away from the Southern cultural ideals with which she has been raised.  Her obstinancy prevents her from recognizing and accepting who she really is, and she loses her chance at happiness with Rhett Butler, one who would have been her soulmate, because she is too busy chasing a lifeless Southern ideal in the hapless Ashley Wilkes.

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Gone with the Wind

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