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Gone With The Wind Essay

1074 words - 5 pages

Margaret Mitchell’s epic tale is impossible to dissolve down to a “brief” description. Her story is the War and Peace of Southern Literature. It is a tale of extremes and contrasts, telling the tragic story of peaceful affluence destroyed by the ravages of war and the destitution and desolation of its aftermath. It is a love story that examines the motivations of the heart contrasted against the will to survive. It is a story of the destruction of an aristocratic society and its disintegration from nobility, honor and hope to humility, disgrace and despair. It is a historical novel and graphic retelling of the Civil War and the Reconstruction of the South as well as a journal of the human side of those events as it recounts the characters struggles to adapt as their lives and their world crumbles. Gone with the Wind is a literary classic that gives the reader a compelling history wrapped in a thrilling romance. Mitchell recreates an idyllic Antebellum Society complete with simpering Southern Belles and Noble Gentlemen, grand plantations and vast fields of cotton, privileged white land-owners contrasted against the poverty of captive black slaves. She details a horrific reenactment of the bloody clash between the Southern Rebels and the Northern Yankees, then like the Phoenix, she raises the South from its own ashes to a new, but very different way of life. Somehow in this rich and vibrant historical tale she manages to bring her equally rich and vibrant character’s lives along the same metaphorical path of affluence, destruction and survival in a mesmerizing account that is the stuff of legend.
Gone with the Wind’s protagonist is the head strong and stubborn Scarlett O’Hara. Miss Scarlett is the spoiled, fiery tempered daughter of Irish immigrant parents who prospered in the agricultural society of the south. The story begins in 1861 when Scarlett was a young girl, a Southern Belle, born to privilege, and her most difficult decision is which beau to dine with at the afternoon barbeque. The reader follows her life as well as her moral and psychological growth as she braves the horrors of war, struggling to survive the apocalypse that destroyed all she had ever known. In 1865 she emerges from these trials a tough, ruthless and determined woman who can hold her own in a man’s world. By 1873 she has been married three times and has given birth to three children, she was widowed twice and buried her youngest child. Scarlett is weathered and worn but still strong and determined. She comes to realize her “love” has been wasted on a man who never really loved her and she is faced with losing her husband, the dashing scalawag Rhett Butler, the man she has really loved all along. These years are more than the volatile love story of Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler, the book chronicles the years, events and details of the South before, during and after the Civil War. The story begins with rumors of war and the valor of the gentlemen of the Southern...

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