"Not many type of world think of Gone With the Wind as a secret, but I firmly think it belongs in that category..."

Clark Gable as Rhett Butler and also Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O"Hara is an epic embrace from the 1939 film adaptation of Margaret Millar"s historic romance Gone With The Wind.

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The initially line of Margaret Mitchell"s 1939 novel is possibly the many artfully crafted in modern-day literature: “Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, however guys rarely realized it once captured by her charm…”

To me, O’Hara is the quintcrucial example of Flannery O’Connor’s “mystery of character.” Who is this person? What is she capable of? That first line asks a question that compels the reader to store going: What precisely is this not-so-beautiful woguy going to do?

Murder, as it involves pass.

The passage wright here Scarlett kills a Yankee invader is a transforming suggest in the story. Scarlett has went back to her plantation Tara with a really pregnant Melanie Wilkes, Scarlett"s former rival for the affections of the affluent Ashley Wilkes. Melanie"s child birth was tough, made more so by the fallout of civil battle. Tara, Scarlett"s house, has been looted. Food is scarce. Scarlett and her ilk are discovering firsthand the horrible lives of depravation slaves were compelled to endure. Then, a Yankee deserter mirrors up. He rifles Scarlett’s mother’s sewing box in search of gold. And then he sees Scarlett and threatens to rifle her also. Her response? She takes out a gun and shoots the man in the confront.

Mitchell writes of the instant results, “Scarlett ran down the stairs and also stood over him, gazing dvery own right into the bloody pit where the nose had actually been, glazing eyes burned through powder. As she looked, 2 streams of blood crept across the shining floor, one from his confront and also one from the back of his head…. She had killed a guy.”

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As a writer, I think this is a perfect instance of just how advantageous sudden, shocking violence have the right to be in a story, also more so bereason of what comes next: Melanie hears the noise and also runs dvery own the stairs, dragging a saber behind her. She sees the Yankee lying dead on the floor. She sees the gun in Scarlett’s hand also. Their eyes fulfill. Then, from Scarlett’s point of view: “Tright here was a glow of grim pride in commonly gentle face, approbation and also fierce joy in her smile that equaled the fiery tumult in Scarlett’s very own bosom. ‘Why—she’s choose me! She understands how I feel!’ assumed Scarlett…” This common reaction to the murder serves the story in two ways: it alters Scarlett’s (and also the reader’s) view of Melanie, and also it additionally transforms the direction of the story bereason currently, rather of Scarlett being alone in her quest to make it through, she has an effective ally. Who is Scarlett O’Hara? She’s a wife, a mother, a survivor, a cold-blooded murderer and also at the finish of the day—a friend.

Karin Slaughter is the globally bestmarketing author of several novels, consisting of the Grant County series and also the Will Trent series. According to her own bio, she splits her time in between the kitchen and the living room in her home in Atlanta, Georgia. Karin Slaughter photo by Alichild Rosa.

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This "Writers on Reading" essay was originally published in "At the Scene" enews July 2013 as a first-look exclusive to our enewsletter subscribers. For more one-of-a-kind content obtainable first to our enewsletter subscribers, authorize up right here.