Scarlett vs Amber
OK so first off this is a bitch fight I would love to see. And I used to work in a Yates, so I know a good bitch fight when I see one. Not that either of these fine ladies would ever stoop so low as to exchange blows, you understand. But still, they would hate each other, and be competition from the off. So fight they would and fight they must.
If you don’t have a clue what I’m on about then Where Have You Been? Scarlett O’Hara is the heroine of Gone With The Wind, which I read over the last weeks of December. It would be one of the best books I’ve ever read but there were parts where the racism made me so angry I wanted to stamp on it. I know, I know, its the period, but COME ON it states over and over again that slavery was *good* for black people as they cannot think for themselves. I’m sorry but I can’t five star that shit, no matter how fucking affecting the last fifty pages are or just how damn addictive a read it is. Anyway. Scarlett starts the book the county Belle, growing up on a plantation in Georgia. Then the civil war breaks out and she ends up a widow, refugeeing herself and the wife of the man she secretly loves (who is a twit) from bombed out Atlanta, with the aid of the dashing (and smart arsed) Rhett Butler. She returns to the family plantation, where she finds her mother dead, her father lost and her sisters sick. And all her slaves have been freed. Slowly, through hard work and mean tricks, Scarlett manages to turn the families’ luck around. She marries her own sister’s beau for his money and starts her own successful business. This makes the town hate her for her unladylike conduct. Eventually her husband is killed “defending her honour” (apologising for the Ku Klux Klan there, are we?) and she ends up marrying Rhett, who is making money hand over fist by being nice to the invading Yankies. They should end up happy together, but don’t, because she is still madly in love with Ashley, the husband of her best friend, and the only redeemable character in the book, Melanie Wilkes. The disintegration of Scarlett from flirtatious, naive, self involved County Belle to alcoholic materialist vulgar desperate woman is beautifully done, you hate her,and she definitely gets whats coming to her, but you don’t half route for her throughout.
Amber StClare is the heroine of a very different, but instantly comparable novel Forever Amber, which I first read Many Moons ago, and have waxed lyrical about ever since. Born the illegitimate daughter of star crossed English Civil War aristocratic lovers, Amber is brought up by a boring village couple who took in her dying mother. Hated by the other girls in the village for being a self-promoting little flirt, Amber loses her heart, head and everything else when cavalier Bruce Carlton, returning with the Merry Monarch Charles II, rides through her backwater one day. Following him to London, sixteen year old Amber is soon dumped, pregnant and penniless. Fortunately for her she is extremely beautiful and very resourceful. I can’t go through the entire plot because it is extremely complicated but she goes from beggar to thief to actress to rich lady to titled lady to even greater titled lady to King’s Mistress in about 900 pages. Like Scarlett, Amber has her ‘great test’ when she is trapped in London during the plague, and then the fire, and like Scarlett she remains desperately in love with a man who isn’t remotely interested in her for anything other than the obvious. Unlike Scarlett though she does not learn any of her lessons and the ending sees her riding off into the supposed sunset where you know she is going to fall flat on her face.
Both in it purely for the advancement of themselves and the man they love, both use their Allure to ensnare week men, both will lie and cheat and take what does not belong to them. The main difference is that Scarlett has her home and values to cling on to whereas Amber has no moral compass to guide her and has no yearning to be anything but better than she is, whatever her current circumstances might be. This is not surprising though, they are both a product of their time and situation. I’m pretty sure if you put Amber in Georgia in 1864 she would do as Scarlett did, and visa versa.
So, which one would win in a fight?
Well, both are small and skinny so there isn’t a physical edge. Both grew up with girls who hated them, so childhood fighting experience probably about equal. Both commit murder in the book, though Amber’s is pre-meditated so she’s got the Evil angle, but Scarlett would probably be better in a rage. Amber marries four times, beating Scarlett’s three, though she has a multitude of lovers including the King so probably has some serious heavies looking out for her, but then again Scarlett’s second husband is in the Klan, and ignorant scared racist nutters in sheets brandishing flaming crosses do have the slight edge over a load of pistol tooting fops with tiny dogs named after them. Amber survives the plague in tact, which means she is pretty hard, but Scarlett outruns Sherman. Scarlett definitely beats Amber on quotability, but ever single woman I’ve ever lent Amber to has loved the book so much they were loathe to part with it, so for readability it has to be her. Both have equally ridiculous names. Both have three children. Both have absolutely no tastes in furnishings. In fact, its pretty much a draw!
Still would love to see the fight though!