52 Books series. Week 4. “Gone With The Wind.” Margaret Mitchell.
I don’t own Gone With The Wind, so I don’t need to make a decision to keep or toss it.
This is my favorite novel of all times, as well as another rare case of a film production as good as the book (although I hear it’s not that interesting to watch if you haven’t read the book first.) The book is based during the Civil War and the reconstruction afterwards in the southern state of Georgia, and follows the daughter of a wealthy plantation owner, Scarlett O’Hara, through it. I have read the book cover-to-cover 4 times in two different languages, and to be honest I think I am due for a re-read as soon as 2014 rolls around the corner.
Gone With The Wind is magnificent in its colorful depiction of life in the South, as well as character development. From filthy rich to dirt poor, it covers the span of all life situations and classes. I love the book for its vibrancy and the vivid emotions that it pertains. The main character, Scarlett O’Hara, transforms from a young seventeen year-old with nothing but driving boys crazy on her mind with daddy’s wealth to back her up, to a scheming survivalist who is stubborn to learn her life lessons, to a mature woman who is evaluating the value of the life she has built for herself and finding it to lack substance. But in all situations, her drive is what keeps the story rolling. She never gives up, and it’s contagious.
I was in love with her when I was young. I wanted to grow up to be just like Scarlett O’Hara, so I could also drive boys crazy and get what I wanted by sheer drive and determination. I read the book again in college, and found that she now annoyed me because of her complete lack of consideration for the people around her, and unappreciation for what she has. It came as a surprise that what I thought was drive and determination, I now recognized as manipulation. I was somewhat disappointed that my favorite character in the world possessed a lot of negative traits. It was like realizing for the first time that your parents have flaws.
I would like to re-read the book again in the near future, because I believe that I can now relate differently to other pieces of the novel. A business that’s failing. Losing a child. A marriage that lacks communication. Displacement and longing for a place to go back to and recharge. Although I haven’t lived through those, I think knowing the value of everything when it’s going well will help me to discover a new dimension to Scarlett O’Hara and Gone With The Wind.