Discuss the enlightenment of Scarlett from Gone With the Wind to the 21st century woman.Discuss the enlightenment of Scarlett from Gone With the Wind to the 21st century woman.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This one might be a bit of a challenge.  It is really difficult to bridge the context driven condition of Scarlett to the modern setting.  Yet, I think that there might be some elements that can help us see a modern vision of woman in Mitchell's creation.  Scarlett reflects the fundamental challenge between the need to assert one's voice and the need to conform with the socially accepted conditions of what it means to be a woman.  For the 21st century woman, this is still a reality that has to be navigated.  While it might be true for men on a smaller scale, I think that women all over the world have a fundamental challenge in which choice has to be made.  On one level, there are conventions that women are supposed to embrace.  Scarlett faces these in terms of a woman having to be pretty, wooed by suitors, making good on a domestic level,  and not stepping outside those boundaries or lines that possess clear demarcation.  On another level, there exists a fundamental need to assert one's voice in the modern setting.  This lies in exercising individual freedom and individual passion.  In this voice of creation, social conventions or expectations might have to be flouted.  When Scarlett becomes a business force and asserts her own notion of self to be autonomous and financially independent, it challenges the basic premise of a woman in Southern society.  It is in this dynamic, where choice or permutation must be made, where Scarlett's predicament can resonate with the process of enlightenment for the 21st Century woman.