Gone With the Wind
by Margaret Mitchell
On of the best parts of touring colleges with your child is the chance to go into all the great bookstores that are always around these schools. On one such trip, I picked up a new (sed) copy of Gone With the Wind to replace mine old one- a 1970s paperback with a cover from the movie- you know which one I am talking about. This new copy is larger, hence larger print, which these old eyes need. So when I started looking around for something to read right before Christmas, I chose this! As almost everyone has read the book, or seen the movie, or just knows the story, I am not going to summarize or review. I hardly feel like my opinion matter a bit for this classic. Instead, I just want to offer some thoughts that come to me now in my 40s- a good ten years after the last time I read it.
Scarlett is an absolute bitch.
She is. But then again, she is 16 at the start of the book. Maybe not actually a bitch, but a spoiled, cosseted teenager. She is used to getting her own way, pouts when she doesn’t, and refuses to give in. When Ashley refuses her at the start of the book, she flirts with another man and accepts his marriage proposal that same night, just to get back at Ashley. Mature.
She doesn’t let death or war stop her fun.
After Charles dies, she moves to Atlanta, because there is nothing going on at Tara- no balls, no beaux, no fun. She moves in with Aunt Pittypat and Miss Melly, even though she “hates” her, so that she can see new people and do things in the bustling city. She hates wearing mourning.
Rhett knows Scarlett deep down, the way you could only wish someone could really know you when you’re young.
When he sees her working the stand at the dance, he knows she is dying to get out there. He bids for her, even though the whole town is shocked. And she goes along with it. Then he brings her beautiful hats and fabric, tempting her to discard her mourning clothes.
Miss Melly is the only genuinely good character in this book.
She loves Scarlett and only ever sees the good in her- even when there isn’t any there to see.
In typical fashion, she wants what she can’t have. And doesn’t know what she has until she loses it.
Ashley, her good name, friends, Tara, Melly, and then Rhett.
Rhett and Scarlett are perfect for each other.
Why doesn’t it work out?????
I actually read the sequel called Scarlett by Alexander Ripley (good book- badddd movie) and I like the ending there.
and my favorite- She is a survivor.
Her husband dies and she is a widow and mother at 17, so she moves to Atlanta.
The Yankees advance and Atlanta falls to them, all while Melly is in labor, so she stays with her and then escapes to Tara.
Tara is in ruins and Yankees are all over, so she puts everyone to work, and protect what little they have. She shoots a man who comes to steal from them, and Melly helps her bury him.
She is going to lose Tara to taxes, so she seduces and marries her sister finance, so he can give her the tax money.
Unfortunately, Scarlett is at her best when things are bad. When all is well, she is awful. Guess that really says something.
Have you read Gone With the Wind?
What are your thoughts?