Dona Flor and Scarlett O'Hara: a comparative analysis of Brazilian and United States cultural imagination
Everardo Rocha (Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro - PUC-Rio)
Marina Frid (Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro - PUC-Rio)
Paper short abstract:
This paper investigates Jorge Amado's "Dona Flor and her two husbands" and Margaret Mitchell's "Gone with the wind" to understand aspects of the cultural imagination of Brazil and United States. The study demonstrates how these narratives conceive the transition from "traditional" to "modern".
Paper long abstract:
This paper investigates two celebrated narratives, one from Brazil and another from the United States, both of which present leading ladies that face a similar problem but have diametrically different solutions to it. Specifically, this work examines and compares Jorge Amado's "Dona Flor and her two husbands" from 1966 and Margaret Mitchell's "Gone with the wind" from 1936 as a path to understand certain beliefs, ideals and contradictions that permeate the cultural imagination of both countries. For 34 years the 1976 film adaptation of "Dona Flor" led the box-office ranking in Brazil amongst national cinema productions. The 1939 version of "Gone with the wind" is considered to date one of the most profitable and watched movies in the US. The former represents everyday life in 1940s Salvador; the latter is an epic novel set during the American Civil War. Both narratives have a love triangle in which a woman is torn between two contrasting loves. However, Flor's solution to her emotional conflict, to commit to two men, is symmetrically opposed to Scarlett's solitary end. This work seeks to demonstrate how the characters' opposite decisions in matters of love reflect broader issues of Brazilian and United States cultures. The analysis indicates that the male protagonists of both narratives represent the dualism between "traditional" and "modern" values. The forms by which Brazil and the United States made that transition were quite different and, as the investigation shows, both narratives offer an interpretation of these specificities.
Creative horizons: steps towards an ethnography of imagination