Friday, October 27, 2006

Stuck on Quotes...

In keeping with yesterday's posts, here are two more quotes from Gone with the Wind about how inner beauty outshines whatever physical traits we have.

In the movie, Scarlett and Melanie were both played by beautiful actresses. In the book, however, neither girl was pretty in the classical sense.

The first chapter of GWTW establishes that Scarlett's facial features left something to be desired. The opening sentence reads, "Scarlett O'Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were."

Scarlett was calculating in her appearance, and she understood how to play up her best physical features and to downplay her less attractive ones. This was true when it came to the weaknesses of her character, as well. She knew how to appear sweet and innocent, though her inner character was anything but sweet or innocent. Throughout the book, however, her eyes often betrayed her true motives to those who were of a discerning nature.

In the first chapter, we read, "But for all the modesty of her spreading skirts, the demureness of her hair netted smoothly into a chignon and the quietness of small white hands folded in her lap, her true self was poorly concealed. The green eyes in the carefully sweet face were turbulent, willful, lusty with life, distinctly at variance with her decorous demeanor."

Scarlett's "charm" consisted of flirtatious tricks, which she employed to get her own way in life. So, hers was not a truly lasting beauty. Nor, was hers the type of beauty that springs from peace and, thus, spreads peace to others. She was a person who was "turbulent" in heart and who created discord around her.

Nonetheless, Scarlett was full of life. People were struck by her dimpled smiles and her vivacious chatter more than they took note of her plain features. Her vital personality gave her an aura of beauty.

In contrast to Scarlett, Melanie was not calculating in her appearance. Her face, like Scarlett's, is described as being plain. Unlike Scarlett, "she had no tricks of feminine allure to disguise its plainness." Melanie didn't need those tricks, for her cosmetic was a selfless, loving heart. She may not have been able to gather a flock of beaux around her as Scarlett did, but she didn't want to. She did not set her heart on gathering conquests, but desired, instead, to love her family, her friends, and her betrothed.

Here are some excerpts from the first time Melanie is described in GWTW. Scarlett was intent on disliking Melanie, for Melanie was engaged to the man that Scarlett wanted to marry. But, Melanie's lovely inner character was so apparent that even Scarlett was forced to grudgingly admire it.

"She (Melanie) looked and was as simple as earth, as good as bread, as transparent as spring water. But for all her plainness of feature and smallness of stature, there was a sedate dignity about her movements that was oddly touching and far older than her seventeen years....Her heavy earbobs with their long gold fringe hung down from loops of tidily netted, hair, swinging close to her brown eyes, eyes that had the still gleam of a forest pool in winter, when brown leaves shine up through quiet water... What made matters worse was that under his (Ashley's) smile, a little sparkle had come into Melanie's eyes, so that even Scarlett had to admit that she looked almost pretty. As Melanie looked at Ashley her plain face lit up as with inner fire, for if ever a loving heart showed itself upon a face, it was showing now on Melanie Hamilton's."

These two women are creations of fiction. But, their description highlights a truth we see in real life. Beauty isn't just about physical characteristics. Even a worldly type of charm can make any woman seem lovely -- at least in her youth. The real beautifier -- the one that lasts -- is the one that Melanie possessed: Love.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to have it said of us, "If ever a loving heart showed itself upon a face, it was hers"?


1 comment:

Mrs. Wayne Hunter said...

Very interesting post! Thanks for sharing it!