Frankly, My Dear, Some Are Too Kind

"Scarlett O'Hara" (Vivien Leigh, left) is introduced to "Melanie Hamilton" (Olivia de Havilland, center) by "Ashley Wilkes" (Leslie Howard, right) in a scene from "Gone with the Wind".

Although she may not completely agree, I believe my sister sees the good in everybody and everything. Sometimes, when we are talking in private and I lose control, I confess to her about the few people I despise. She’ll nod her head as I rave, right up until the point I come upon a certain person. She’ll cock her head to the side and say, “Oh, well… he’s alright. He just gets on people’s nerves sometimes. Don’t we all?” She’s got me there…

Rarely does my sister get depressed or sincerely worry about anything. It is as if she knows that all will end well, and this leads me to believe that she must maintain some sort of strong faith. I sometimes divulge to her my personal problems and all of the little dilemmas that stress me out. She turns to me, looks me straight in the eye, and says “Bubba, don’t worry about it!”  When I’m drunk with my often self-developed misery, she sobers me up.

As I tend to be more of the pessimist, the shoulder devil, the raven, it only makes since that my sister embodies the polar opposite. She is the optimist, the shoulder angel, the dove. I know her to be a devoted and pleasant friend to those who get to know her, and she stands loyally by people she truly loves and supports. Come to think of it, she reminds me of Melanie Hamilton Wilkes, one of the main characters from David O. Selznick’s production of “Gone with the Wind”.

“Gone with the Wind” follows the life of Scarlett O’Hara (the stunning Vivien Leigh), a southern belle who lives off of the luxuries obtained through her father’s plantation in the early 1860s. Due to her charm and beauty, Scarlett could have any man she wants and is constantly surrounded by suitors. Her coldness and cruelty keeps the suitors at a comfortable distance, but her charm keeps them close enough for her to exploit. The irony rests in the fact that the only man she loves, a neighboring plantation heir named Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard), does not feel the same for her. He is in love with his cousin, Melanie Hamilton (Olivia de Havilland), and he marries her. Melanie is a naturally kind and loving soul, and wants very much to be friends with Scarlett, whom she has heard nothing but great things about. Scarlett lets Melanie be her friend, despite the fact she is the only person that stands between her and Ashley. The relationship between them grows even stronger after Scarlett saves Melanie and her newborn child from Sherman’s March on Atlanta with the help of Rhett Butler (the ravishing Clark Gable). Melanie returns the favor when she gives Scarlett her nightgown to wrap up the bleeding corpse of a thieving Union soldier that Scarlett kills and must hide. Though everyone that confides in Melanie insists that Scarlett is cold and heartless, Melanie defends her actions, saying that they are all done for good reason. Even after she sees Scarlett in the arms of Ashely (his only intention was to comfort her), Melanie refuses to embarrass her in front of party guests later that day.

Throughout the entire plot, while Scarlett schemes, cheats, and decieves to make her way back up to the top after the devastation of civil war and reconstruction, Melanie remains the good friend that is pure in heart. As children, my sister and I sometimes played some mean, if not cruel, jokes on each other, and we usually tried to make each other look bad when the time of judgement came via the parents. However, there were countless times when my sister would stand up for me when my parents suspected me of conducting mischief. She would vouch for me, even after I had betrayed her during a previous row. Afterwards, I would feel quite guilty.

I am sure we have betrayed our closest friends at sometime or another, and I am also sure that we have been betrayed by close friends in the same way. We are the cold Scarlett O’Hara, and then we are the loving Melanie Hamilton Wilkes. When we are Melanie, we hope to stay true to our friends, no matter how badly they might treat us at a moment. When we are Scarlett, we need to remember that tomorrow is another day, and hope that we may be forgiven by those we betray and start anew.

“Gone with the Wind” and all images from it are property of Warner Bros./MGM.

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3 Responses to “Frankly, My Dear, Some Are Too Kind”

  1. Chad Johann Says:

    Unfortunately, Gone with the Wind is one of the few classics flicks I have yet to see, but its on the list. That long, long list. I can, however, relate to the connection between siblings. It souds like you an your sister have an excellent adventure, like Bill & Ted (see what I did there, just not as good as you…). Me and my sister have a generation gap of 14 years, so our tricks and pranks we pull are a little one-sided.

  2. I love how you are able to take movies and genuinely relate them to your personal life. I realize that this is the whole point of your blog, but the fact that you are actually pulling it off amazes me. I don’t believe that i could really relate these sort of things to my life. Maybe i should think more broadly as to how characters in movies correlate with the characters that are really in my life =)

  3. Kate Glavin Says:

    I have never seen the movie, but I have read the book. And also, your sister sounds lovely. Your parents did a good job on you two.

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