At the end of a long project that has involved writing, research, and a lot of reading, I am very happy with my results. I started with three literary women who have always fascinated me: Dido, Anna Karenina, and Scarlett O’Hara. These women are all strong, passionate, and incredibly unlucky. When I started looking for connections among their stories, I quickly realized that they have even more in common than I realized. Even the timelines of their romantic misadventures are remarkably similar. Through marriage, loss, and motherhood, these women rule a country, bewitch and then estrange a society, and survive a war. Though their societies and writers are distant from each other, the theme of being destroyed by love from Dido’s tale that has fascinated readers for millennia reiterates itself in both Anna Karenina and Gone With the Wind. These brilliant women have more in common with each other than they do with their respective societies. But perhaps the more general theme is that of three loves so powerful in their tragedy that their pages have been worn thin with innumerable readings hardly lessened by the years. Even the strongest characters could not combat the inevitable pull towards destructive love affairs. And while all three stories are heartbreaking, their endings seem somehow fitting. No ordinary ending, no romantic ride off into the sunset, would do justice to any of these characters. For them, instead, is the tragic end of three heroes who go down fighting for love at the risk of losing livelihood.
August 24, 2015 by