Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Gone With The Wind - Winner, Novel, 1937

Gone With The Wind
By: Margaret Mitchell
Macmillan, 1936

I don't know what else to say except that I LOVED Gone With the Wind. Earlier this year I purchased a copy for $5 at an antique store and am so glad that I will have it to reread again in the future. As a student of history, Mitchell's descriptions of life in the Deep South before, during and after the Civil War drew me in. So often the victor determines the story of a war, and so I found a long and detailed story from the side of the losers to be quite interesting. The Civil War and Reconstruction were so complicated that it helps to read about them through the lens of a story. I was often so caught up in the story of it all that I would completely forget that I was also learning about an important part of the history of our country from a perspective that I only knew about superficially. Clearly, Gone With the Wind is fiction and much must be taken with a grain of salt, but Margaret Mitchell spent tireless months checking her facts and so it is safe to say that one can at least derive a general sense of what the era was like for those living in and around Atlanta (based on knowledge from the 1930s).

I was a bit unsure when I began reading the book because I did not enjoy the movie. But, as I began to read, I realized that there are so many things in the book that just couldn't have made it into the movie that help the reader understand the characters and their drama much more fully. For example, throughout the book there are many things that go on internally for Scarlett that could not be portrayed in the movie format but made her a fully dimensional character in the book. There are many emotions that are felt and not expressed that I imagine the filmmakers truly struggled with. I do plan on watching the movie again, from my new perspective this time. I do recommend Gone With the Wind - especially to those who have not lived in the South. Regardless of ones opinions of the South and its attitudes during that era, at least one can learn to appreciate the time, place, and culture they were coming from.

[Photo Credit: Vivian Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara]


Rebecca Reid said...

I'm glad to hear that you love it! I'm looking forward to reading it, although I've always hesitated because I hate reading things with blatant racism, and even though this is a story of a racist age, I'm just a bit wary of it.

Did the racism bother you at all?

AK said...

It's definitely blatant and was very uncomfortable, especially when the Southerners tried to explain that they truly cared about their slaves and all of the slaves were happy. They claimed, in the book, to see them more as children who couldn't make their own way in the world and, therefore, needed the aid of the white man. I just had to keep in mind that there were many in the South during that time that sincerely felt that way. I'm getting ready to read Scarlett, the 1991 sequal approved by Margaret Mitchell's estate, and I will be quite interested to see how they handle such politically incorrect views.

RC said...

so, after you read this - did you want to read Scarlet?

RC said...

ha - never mind, just read your comment ;-)

farmlanebooks said...

I've just discovered your blog thanks to Rebecca's link to you. I'm trying to read all the Pulizer's too, but not in the right order! I loved Gone with the Wind, and enjoyed the film too.

I recently read Rhett Butler's People and was very disappointed. Sometimes it is best not to find out what happens at the end of the book. I'll be interested to see your thoughts on Scarlett.

Good luck with the Pulitzers!

AK said...

I'm so excited that someone else is doing this! How many have you read so far?