Don't Call Me Scarlett Anymore

     For any true Vivien Leigh fan, it is quite an honor to be able to enjoy her distinguished acting career through the legacy she left behind in her films. From her fiery portrayal of Margaret Mitchell's Scarlett O'Hara in Victor Fleming's 1939 Gone with the Wind, based on Margaret Mitchell's 1936 novel, to that of her tormented Blanche DuBois in Elia Kazan's 1951 version of Tennessee Williams' 1947 A Streetcar Named Desire, today's generation of classic film lovers cannot resist her beauty or talent. As notable as the above performances were, one cannot help to think if there may be somewhat of a connection between the two. The true question at hand might be, is Blanche really and older version of Scarlett? To best answer this question, I shall compare the two characters.

     At first glance we are given two southern belles, both of whom come from wealth and somewhat prestigious families. Scarlett grew up with two sisters, Suellen and Careen, while Blanche only had Stella. They both were the oldest; and when the time came to handle family affairs, solutions were in their hands. They both displayed the common interest in the opposite sex and their lives greatly dealt with love loss.

     The characteristics that evoke the thought that Blanche may be an older Scarlett is the fact that Blanche was an in-the-closet alcoholic. We know that Scarlett did her share of covering her drinking habits. Who could forget the memorable scene of her using cologne to cover the smell of sprits? Like Scarlett, Blanche is obsessed with the idea of youth and the appearance of her vanity. Blanche, to me, handles the situation of being in the light, as something Scarlett would have resorted to later in life.

     Scarlett dealt with the death of her family. Blanche takes those feeling to a different level. Who is to argue that Scarlett would not follow suit if things got worse for her? We do not know what truly happened to her after Rhett walked out on her.

     It would be sensible to ponder the thought that Blanche is what Scarlett might turn out to because of the similarities of their backgrounds. Blanche is the inner emotion side of Scarlett that moviegoers began to see in the last ten minutes of Gone with the Wind. As headstrong as Scarlett was, there is always a breaking point. The proposed idea might sound ridiculous to some, but to a person who never wanted to leave the world of Scarlett, thinking that she leaves one in A Streetcar Named Desire is somewhat fulfilling.

Dale Vanover

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