Scarlett’s Carrot Scene in ‘Gone With the Wind’ (1939)

Welcome to CKSA, your trusted destination for all things classic cinema. Today, we embark on a journey through the timeless masterpiece, “Gone With the Wind” (1939), directed by Victor Fleming, to explore one of its most enduring and emblematic moments – Scarlett O’Hara’s compelling carrot-picking scene, portrayed by the talented actress Vivien Leigh. In this article, we’ll dive deep into the cinematography, cultural significance, and the powerful message of resilience that this iconic scene conveys. Join us as we step back in time to the post-Civil War South and witness Scarlett’s unwavering determination to survive amidst overwhelming destruction.

A Symbol of Resilience

This brief yet powerful scene encapsulates Scarlett’s enduring resilience, a central theme running through the heart of “Gone With the Wind.”

As we approach the intermission of the film, Scarlett encounters a moment of sheer determination. Against the backdrop of a bluish-crimson night-lit sky at Tara, Scarlett unearths a humble carrot from the ground. In a cinematic crescendo, she takes a defiant bite, shedding tears as she grapples with the reality of consuming earth.

This iconic scene reaches its pinnacle as Scarlett, with a clenched fist and unwavering gaze, declares her resilience to the heavens:

“As God is my witness, as God is my witness they’re not going to lick me. I’m going to live through this and when it’s all over, I’ll never be hungry again. No, nor any of my folk. If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill. As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again.”

The thematic resonance of Tara’s melody intensifies as Scarlett’s silhouette diminishes against the southern sky, leaving an indelible mark on cinematic history.

Scarlett’s character remains an enduring source of inspiration, a testament to the human capacity for resourcefulness.

Cinematography That Transcends

In a film celebrated for its opulent visuals, this scene captivates through its simplicity. Scarlett O’Hara, silhouetted against an Oscar-winning Technicolor sunset, lurches into a decimated field at her beloved plantation, Tara, and pulls what looks like a carrot out of the earth. She tries to eat it, retches, and then rises with a fist upheld to swear—no—to proclaim her determination to survive at any cost, even if it means lying, stealing, or killing, standing erect amid the ruins.

The cinematography, masterfully overseen by Ernest Haller, the director of photography, and Ray Rennahan, the Technicolor cinematographer, conveys hunger, despair, and unwavering determination. The composition focuses on Scarlett’s face and the modest carrot she retrieves from the soil, amplifying the raw emotion of the moment and creating a visually compelling tableau.

The Significance of Soil

Central to the scene is Scarlett’s direct interaction with the soil, symbolizing the profound connection between land and identity. In this post-war world, the soil holds the memories, history, and sustenance of the people. The act of picking a carrot is not merely about finding food; it represents the preservation of heritage, history, and the determination to sustain future generations.

A Glimpse into Historical Context

The carrot scene offers a poignant glimpse into the historical context of the post-Civil War South. It serves as a stark reminder of the widespread food scarcity and suffering faced by people during this tumultuous era. Before this moment, Scarlett returns to her ruined home, Tara, discussing the challenges of looting, debts, and the overall devastation of the war with her family and the people on the property. She is determined to save Tara, her family’s ancestral home, from ruin and is relentless in her efforts to do so. Her resourcefulness and determination are central to her character development throughout the film. By delving into this scene, we gain a deeper appreciation of the challenges and resilience of the time, both on a personal and societal level.

Faith and Resilience

Scarlett’s faith in her ability to survive is unwavering. Her resolve, in the face of despair and destruction, underscores the importance of maintaining hope, not just for herself, but for her family’s future. Her character embodies the notion that, in the direst circumstances, faith and determination can carry one through.


In the annals of cinematic history, few scenes are as enduring as Scarlett’s carrot-picking moment in “Gone With the Wind.” Its power lies not in grandeur but in its simplicity and the profound symbolism it carries. It testifies to Scarlett O’Hara’s indomitable spirit, her unshakeable faith, and the tumultuous backdrop of the post-Civil War South.

We hope this article has offered you a fresh perspective on this iconic scene, inviting you to rewatch the film and uncover its layers of depth. As you continue to explore the timeless world of classic cinema on CKSA, remember that these stories continue to resonate, teaching us about the enduring strength of the human spirit.

Please share your thoughts and insights on this unforgettable moment from “Gone With the Wind,” and stay tuned for further explorations of classic film moments.

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