Study Guide

You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down Scarlett O'Hara

By Alice Walker

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Scarlett O'Hara

If you've never seen the iconic movie Gone With the Wind, check out this tiny clip. It should be enough to help you see why the narrator of "A Letter of the Times, or Should This Sado-Masochism Be Saved?" is so appalled when her colleague Lucy shows up at a feminist costume ball dressed as Scarlett O'Hara.

For the narrator, Scarlett represents just about everything that's wrong with white feminism. She's aggressively self-centered, tantrum-prone, and yes, racist. Scarlett only cares about Scarlett. Who cares about anyone else if she gets hers?

That's not the kind of feminism Walker wants—and it's a good reason why Walker considers herself a "womanist" instead. Of course, there are so many Scarletts in the world that Walker can write all 14 stories in this book giving us variations of her—and giving her heroines the chance to rise above them all.

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