Thursday, December 12, 2013

Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Gone With the Wind is a fine piece of white-supremacy propaganda. It's also a really good book, but that doesn't mean it's not a piece of propaganda. I had to stop and do some Googling every now and then just to stop myself from buying into the message of the book.

The message is, as you may know, that the slave-owning South is not as cruel as they seem, and that when the South was defeated, it was treated badly (basically, they should be pitied and/or sympathised with). And yes, it's the story of Scarlett O'Hara, but to be honest, my main impression was that the story was doing its best to change the impression of the slave-owning south. In fact, it succeeds - I started getting a positive impression of the slave-owners and a negative impression of the Yankees (still do I think). I had to re-read about how all those slaves suffered before I regained a semblance of normalcy.

As for the actual story, why, it follows Scarlett O'Hara, an unconventional Southern lady. She's bewitching to men, but she has a heart like ice and is amazingly practical. While she loves the South, and in particular, Tara (her home), she's not afraid of cozying up to the Yankees, who are in charge. The only one she loves is Ashley, who is married to Melanie, who treats her like a sister.

Melanie. My favourite character (along with Scarlett). Melanie is under-estimated by Scarlett, but as the book travels on, I could see Scarlett start to get fond of Melanie. She would never admit it, but the way she treats Melanie starts to change.

Personally, I loved the character relationships because they were what propelled the story forward. Scarlett is the most vibrant character, but the supporting characters were all very well-written. I'm not sure if they had the intended effect on my though.

For example, Rhett reminded me of a little boy. I think he's supposed to represent dark sensuality or something, but personally, he reminds me of a primary school boy. I mean, he treats Scarlett badly.... because he likes her? That sounds quite immature to me. And he gives up way too easily.

While this book is really long, it's worth reading. Just keep in mind that this book is written to portray a positive image of the South, so take its message with a healthy spoonful of salt.

Note: This book was read for the Tea and Books reading challenge.

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