Gone with the Wind Gone with the Wind question


206 views
If not Scarlett O'Hara, best Southern Belle character?
Elaine Walsh Elaine Jun 12, 2012 05:43PM
Self absorbed, manipulative and conniving are a few of the words that describe one of the most famous southern belles in literautre. How could someone with so few redeeming qualities grab readers by the collar and pull them into such an expansive story that keeps the reader turning page after page? She was a survivor. A woman who played a man's game using one of the few tools available to woman of her time, her sexuality. Mostly, she was memorable. To me, she is the queen of the southern belle character for that very reason.

As a writer, I want my own characters to be memorable and stay with the reader long after the last page. What is more memorable than a southern belle? http://j.mp/KRwS9z



Why, it was Miss Melanie who was the perfect Southern Belle, not Miss Scarlett. Melanie was the self-disciplined, gentle, kind, tolerant and wise pillar of Southern society. Scarlett was the bad girl, who defied all the conventions and refused to follow the rules, looking out for herself without thought of decorum, decency or other people's feelings. That is why readers love her, of course. [And deep in our hearts we know that, if we had been there, we probably would have been one of those hapless, mealymouthed women in the background who were not loved despite carefully following all the rules!] I agree that Scarlett is by far the most compelling and willful personality in all Southern fiction!

14248571
Cynthia Agree with you 100% also!
Nov 04, 2012 06:37AM · flag
12004851
Mariana I was going to write a long comment explaining why Melanie was the true Southern Belle, but you've already done it for me! ...more
Aug 04, 2013 08:25PM · flag

Don't forget Jezebel ! Bette Davis did a remarkable translation of the character.


MELANIE WILKES. No question about it XD


Elaine wrote: "Self absorbed, manipulative and conniving are a few of the words that describe one of the most famous southern belles in literautre. How could someone with so few redeeming qualities grab readers ..."

To be honest, i think we like her because we admire her guts for standing up to her society, which many of us wishes we can do. we admire her because she does things by her rules and "to hell" with the rest of them. she cares about money, pleasure and her family, and god save those who stand in her way. dont we all wish we can tell the world to go to hell and just have everything our way?


The perfect Belle in GWTW is Ellen O'Hara - described with reverence by Scarlett, but the reader knows her sad backstory. Cathleen Calvert is to me the saddest view of what happened to the Southern Belle after the war. Then there is the Belle in Atlanta, I think Maybelle Merriweather? Who marries the French soldier and Rhett buys her white satin for a dress. Another Belle who laughs her way through things, but ends up with them all waiting for the casualty lists from Gettysberg. Such a variety of Belles!


What a good question! I'm actually having to really ponder this one. I was thinking of the aunt/caretaker of Huckleberry Finn in the beginning of that book, but I'm not sure she was really a southern belle (it's been a long time since I've read it) and she's not really a developed character anyway. Are we talking just classic, plantation-era southern belle, or are we including more modern women as well?


Melanie was the best Southern Belle.


Melanie, of course.


My vote is Blanche DuBois in Streetcar Named Desire.


Sue (last edited Jun 15, 2012 06:33PM ) Jun 15, 2012 06:31PM   0 votes
During the period, Kentuckian Sallie Ward of Louisville was the most noted belle in the South, and her portrait, which hangs in the Speed Museum in Louisville, Kentucky, is often called "The Southern Belle." A Southern belle epitomized Southern hospitality, cultivation of beauty and a flirtatious yet chaste demeanor. - Taken From Wiki. I found this interesting...

With this as a measuring stick, I think Melanie was more Southern Belle material than Scarlett though I think flirtatious was definitely not in her demenor.

Hollywood's portrail of a Belle... is closer to Scarlett than Melanie... look at some of the great Belle's - Jezebel, Scarlett. But if I were to look at the Movie's the best example and I think the closest to what a Belle should be today... watch Steel Magnolias


Maximilian (last edited Jul 30, 2013 03:34PM ) Jul 30, 2013 03:33PM   0 votes
So many options. Well the top five would definetley be Melanie Wilkes , and Scarlett O'Hara, from Gone with the Wind. Also, Julie Marsden A.K.A. Jezebel, from Jezebel. Blanche DuBois,from A Streetcar named Desire, and finally Miss Daisy Werthan, from Driving Miss Daisy.


deleted member Aug 01, 2013 10:37PM   0 votes
Becky Thatcher. My first impression of a Southern Belle, although I didn't used to know what they were.


Sarah Cameron in Anne Rivers Siddons novel "Peachtree Road" is my favorite Southern belle character. Lucy Bondurant Chastain Venable in the same book is a far less admirable Southern belle.


Blanche Dubois. Trying desperately to hang on to gentility and survive the new reality of post war city life while tragedy breaks her. One of the great American tragic heroes. We don't have many of those. And a female tragic hero is rare in any thatrical culture.


Theatrical, darned Nook tablet! And no edit option in the mobile site...


Eula Varner Snopes


Elaine wrote: "Self absorbed, manipulative and conniving are a few of the words that describe one of the most famous southern belles in literautre. How could someone with so few redeeming qualities grab readers ..."

If you love Scarlett O'Hara, you must read Thorns of Eden by Diana Ballew. Eden Blair is the best southern belle since Scarlett. What Rayce Hampton does with Eden is what everyone wishes Rhett Butler did with Scarlett. You will love it!


back to top