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

Clark Gable together Rhett Butler and Vivien Leigh together Scarlett O\"Hara is an epic embrace from the 1939 movie adaptation of Margaret Millar\"s historical romance Gone v The Wind.

You are watching: First line of gone with the wind

The an initial line of Margaret Mitchell\"s 1939 novel is maybe the most artfully do in contemporary literature: “Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, yet men hardly ever realized that when captured by she charm…”

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

Murder, as it concerns pass.

The passage wherein Scarlett death a Yankee invader is a turning point in the story. Scarlett has actually returned to her plantation Tara through a really pregnant Melanie Wilkes, Scarlett\"s former rival for the affections of the well-off Ashley Wilkes. Melanie\"s boy birth was difficult, made more so by the fallout of polite war. Tara, Scarlett\"s home, has actually been looted. Food is scarce. Scarlett and her ilk are learning firsthand the horrible lives of depravation servants were compelled to endure. Then, a Yankee deserter reflects up. He rifles Scarlett’s mother’s sewing box trying to find gold. And also then he sees Scarlett and threatens come rifle her as well. She response? She takes out a gun and shoots the man in the face.

Mitchell writes of the immediate aftermath, “Scarlett ran down the stairs and stood end him, gazing down into the bloody pit whereby the nose had been, glazing eyes burned with powder. As she looked, 2 streams of blood crept throughout the glowing floor, one from his face and one from the earlier of his head…. She had actually killed a man.”

As a writer, i think this is a perfect example of how valuable sudden, shocking violence have the right to be in a story, even an ext so due to the fact that of what come next: Melanie hears the noise and also runs down the stairs, dragging a saber behind her. She sees the Yankee lying dead ~ above the floor. She look at the gun in Scarlett’s hand. Your eyes meet. Then, native Scarlett’s point of view: “There to be a light of grim pride in typically gentle face, approbation and fierce happiness in her smile that equaled the fiery tumult in Scarlett’s own bosom. ‘Why—she’s choose me! She understands exactly how I feel!’ believed Scarlett…” This common reaction to the murder serves the story in two ways: it transforms Scarlett’s (and the reader’s) view of Melanie, and it also changes the direction of the story since now, instead of Scarlett being alone in her search to survive, she has a an effective ally. That is Scarlett O’Hara? she a wife, a mother, a survivor, a cold-blooded murderer and also at the finish of the day—a friend.

Karin Slaughter is the around the world bestselling author of number of novels, consisting of the give County collection and the will certainly Trent series. According to her own bio, she splits she time in between the kitchen and the living room in her house in Atlanta, Georgia. Karin Slaughter photograph by Alison Rosa.

See more: Live Disease Free To 103 Reviews, Journal Of The National Cancer Institute: Jnci

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