If you’ve ever wondered what your favorite literary characters might be listening to while they save the world/contemplate existence/get into trouble, or hallucinated a soundtrack to go along with your favorite novels, well, us too. But wonder no more! Here, we sneak a look at the hypothetical iPods of some of literature’s most interesting characters. What would be on the personal playlists of Holden Caulfield or Elizabeth Bennett, Huck Finn or Harry Potter, Tintin or Humbert Humbert? Something revealing, we bet. Or at least something danceable. Read on for a cozy reading soundtrack, character study, or yet another way to emulate your favorite literary hero. This week: the always divisive literary diva Scarlett O’Hara.
Margaret Mitchell’s classic novel Gone With the Wind opens with the lines, “Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm…” At the start of the novel, Scarlett is sixteen, and she soon reveals herself to be a markedly self-centered, scheming woman, who is ready to do whatever it takes — to the point of betrayal and cruelty — to get the man she wants. After the Civil War, she fears for her security and decides that the only thing that is important to her is money, so that she can make sure never to be hungry again. She also longs to be herself, not quite the ideal southern maiden. She says: “I’m tired of everlastingly being unnatural and never doing anything I want to do. I’m tired of acting like I don’t eat more than a bird, and walking when I want to run and saying I feel faint after a waltz, when I could dance for two days and never get tired. I’m tired of saying, ‘How wonderful you are!’ to fool men who haven’t got one-half the sense I’ve got, and I’m tired of pretending I don’t know anything, so men can tell me things and feel important while they’re doing it.”
Only at the height of the novel does Scarlett realize that she does need and care for others, and that her covetousness towards Ashley was misdirected, and ultimately, she manages to find happiness. We think she would listen to music to reinforce her own girlish wickedness, as well as her strength and power — and maybe a few songs to flatter her vanity as well. Here’s what we think Scarlett O’Hara would scheme, flirt, and protect the plantation to.
“These Boots Are Made for Walking” — Nancy Sinatra
No one could make sure a man knew who was boss than that sassy minx Nancy Sinatra. We’re pretty sure that sixteen-year-old Scarlett would idolize her. “One of these days…”
“One Way or Another” — Blondie
Not only would Scarlett O’Hara have the entire Blondie discography, but this would be her personal anthem, to soundtrack all her scheming and marriage plotting. One way or another, fellas — you’ve got no chance.
“Bulletproof” — La Roux
For craving control in life and love, and for steeling yourself before you go out there and act the lady.
“Marry Me” — No Doubt
What do teenagers listen to when they’re dreaming of marriage? No Doubt’s crooning “Marry Me,” of course. Scarlett’s a little more serious about it than most modern teenagers (three times more serious), perhaps, but no matter.
“Single Ladies (Put a Ring on it)” — Beyoncé
She’s a sixteen year old southern belle in a romance novel. Need we say more?
“My Body is a Cage” — Arcade Fire
To soundtrack the crippling fear of realizing what you actually want. This song could work for Rhett too, we think, who is so afraid of his feelings for Scarlett that he tells her “No, my dear, I’m not in love with you, no more than you are with me, and if I were, you would be the last person I’d ever tell. God help the man who ever really loves you. You’d break his heart, my darling, cruel, destructive little cat who is so careless and confident she doesn’t even trouble to sheathe her claws.” Better get ready, dear.
“Dog Days Are Over” — Florence + The Machine
For never, never, never being hungry again.
“Bad Romance” — Lady Gaga
Oh, don’t tell us Scarlett wouldn’t love this song. All of her romances are a little bit bad at their cores, and we kind of think that’s just the way she likes it.
“S&M” — Rihanna
Maybe we’re being a little literal here, but we think this is the kind of song Scarlett would listen to to console herself after Rhett tells her something like, “You’re so brutal to those who love you, Scarlett. You take their love and hold it over their heads like a whip.” She may be bad, but she’s perfectly good at it, buddy.
“Give Me Your Love” — Florrie
As far as we can tell, Scarlett can get pretty much anyone on their knees with little to no effort.