(I don’t give a shit if no one reads these anymore. I like them and they are sorta for Ms. Foley, my high school English teacher who upbraided my publicly for misspelling ‘truly’. In 11th grade.)
Published in 1936, Gone with the Wind was incredibly well received when it was first published and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1937. The movie opened to widespread critical acclaim in Atlanta in 1939. Margaret Mitchell faithfully recreated the South, just before, during and living the aftermath of the Civil War. You follow Scarlett O’hara from protected home at Tara, through marriages, the war, and Reconstruction.
The language is incredible and Mitchell is a wonderfully descriptive writer. She makes the landscapes throb with life, the fashion swish, and the passion palpable. The story was so gripping I could hardly put it down-which is saying something, considering I read the last 350 pages in the car driving to and fro from Minnesota.
What I take issue with (and of course I take issue with something) is how limited Scarlett is by the times in which she lives. Her mother defines what it means to be a woman and Scarlett feels constricted by her trashing of those traditional roles. She isn’t a gracious host, she doesn’t show affection to her children, whom she didn’t even really want. Because she experiences extreme poverty and hunger and feels the weight of feeding others, she must shove off the traditional limitations placed her to survive. But this rejection of traditional roles, which she ironically does through the art of seduction-a traditional role, puts her at odds with the rest of society. She is no longer welcomed in her old social circles, despite the fact her business mind are their lifeblood.
All in all, I like it and I am so grateful I read it. It was insightful to see how overwhelming racism was in the antebellum South. I haven’t seen the movie but I can’t wait to check it out!