"Not many world think that Gone with the Wind as a mystery, yet I firmly believe it belongs in the category..."

Clark Gable together Rhett Butler and Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O"Hara is an epic take on from the 1939 movie adaptation the Margaret Millar"s historical romance Gone through The Wind.

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The very first line of Margaret Mitchell"s 1939 novel is maybe the many artfully crafted in contemporary literature: “Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, yet men rarely realized it when captured by her charm…”

To me, O’Hara is the quintessential instance of Flannery O’Connor’s “mystery of character.” who is this person? What is she capable of? That an initial line asks a question that compels the leader to save going: What precisely is this not-so-beautiful woman going come do?

Murder, as it involves pass.

The passage where Scarlett kills a Yankee invader is a transforming point in the story. Scarlett has actually returned to she plantation Tara through a really pregnant Melanie Wilkes, Scarlett"s former rival for the affections the the well-off Ashley Wilkes. Melanie"s son birth to be difficult, made much more so through the autumn of polite war. Tara, Scarlett"s home, has been looted. Food is scarce. Scarlett and her ilk are learning firsthand the horrible lives of depravation slaves were compelled to endure. Then, a Yankee deserter reflects up. The rifles Scarlett’s mom sewing box looking for gold. And also then that sees Scarlett and threatens to rifle her together well. She response? She takes out a gun and shoots the male in the face.

Mitchell write of the immediate aftermath, “Scarlett ran down the stairs and stood over him, gazing down into the bloody pit where the nose had been, glazing eyes burned with powder. Together she looked, 2 streams the blood crept across the shining floor, one indigenous his face and also one indigenous the back of his head…. She had killed a man.”

As a writer, i think this is a perfect example of how helpful sudden, shocking violence deserve to be in a story, even an ext so because of what comes next: Melanie hears the noise and runs down the stairs, dragging a saber behind her. She look at the Yankee lied dead top top the floor. She look at the gun in Scarlett’s hand. Their eyes meet. Then, from Scarlett’s suggest of view: “There was a glow of grim pride in commonly gentle face, approbation and fierce pleasure in her smile that equaled the fiery tumult in Scarlett’s own bosom. ‘Why—she’s favor me! She understands exactly how I feel!’ thought Scarlett…” This shared reaction come the murder offer the story in 2 ways: it changes Scarlett’s (and the reader’s) view of Melanie, and it additionally changes the direction of the story because now, instead of Scarlett being alone in her pursuit to survive, she has actually a an effective ally. That is Scarlett O’Hara? she’s a wife, a mother, a survivor, a cold-blooded murderer and also at the end of the day—a friend.

Karin Slaughter is the internationally bestselling writer of several novels, consisting of the approve County series and the will Trent series. Follow to her very own bio, she splits she time in between the kitchen and also the living room in her residence in Atlanta, Georgia. Karin Slaughter picture by Alison Rosa.

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This "Writers on Reading" essay was initially published in "At the Scene" enews July 2013 together a first-look exclusive come our enewsletter subscribers. For much more special contents available first to ours enewsletter subscribers, authorize up here.