Gone With the Wind Essay example

Submitted By dugalmollie
Words: 1944
Pages: 8

A Refusal to Mold into an Expected Shape Gone With the Wind is a wildly acclaimed novel. It fits in multiple categories and touches many hearts. The book was written by Margret Mitchell who only wrote and published one book. She died at a young age and was never able to write another novel, though it probably would have been just as big of a hit as Gone With the Wind. Mitchell’s inspiration for this beautiful novel comes from her parents’ lives and her own personal experiences entwined together to form an unbeatable piece of art. Mitchell not only makes the text personal but also ties in the history of the war in a first person’s view through Southerners eyes. In Mitchell's Gone With the Wind, Scarlett O'Hara rejects the traditional role of Southern women during the challenges of the Civil War. She had never behaved like a proper, young, southern belle. On the outside, Scarlett looks like a charming and sweet 16 year old girl thanks to Mammy, the family maid, and Ellen, her graceful and strong mother, but on the inside Scarlett is an Irish at heart. Scarlett was brave, self-willed, and vain; her father's Irish blood was running through her. An Irish is known to do what he or she pleases. In the 1860's, when a woman became a widow, she was to dress in black from head to toe for several months and to not engage in any social activities that she normally would. Knowing Scarlett’s sly ways in escaping feminine casualties, she eagerly accepts Rhett’s many offers to dance at the Bazaar. In surviving through the war, Scarlett has learned how to change her feminine role to fit society so she can manipulate others into giving her what she came for. People say that war changes you, good and bad. The war definitely has an effect on Scarlett and we can see that as the novel continues. Scarlett's entire aura makes a 180 degree turn and she becomes this caring, strong, heroine of the novel. Her 1860's Southern society only focuses on the wrong she has done, but she has been doing an equal amount of right as well. She does everything in her power to make things right for her family at home. According to Ellen, a true southern belle, a woman lives in a man's world; women are to be seen and not heard. Men handled the money and the dirt and the women just cleaned up after them. Women were seen as important for legacies and order and that was it. "The man owned the property, and the woman managed it. The man took the credit for the management, and the woman praised his cleverness. The man roared like a bull when a splinter was in his finger, and the woman muffled the moans of childbirth, lest she disturb him... Men were rude and outspoken; women were always kind, gracious, and forgiving... But Scarlett, child of Gerald, found the road to lady-hood hard." (Reisman) Scarlett did not agree with this at all. In public events, she despised talking with other girls because she always felt that they sounded stupid. She wanted to talk with the men about interesting things, but not about war. Gone With the Wind contains an overwhelming amount of symbolism such as Melanie resembling the sweet, antebellum of Clayton County, Georgia whereas Scarlett is used as the symbol for reconstruction in the South. Scarlett represents the South after the war and what it has become. No one and nothing will be the same as it ever was. "The novel depicts the South as a great lady who sheds tears of blood on the Civil War battlefields. Her strength endures just as the strength of the Southern women when fighting to hold on to a way of life that is fast sliding away with the loss of each Confederate soldier and the destruction of homes, plantations, and towns." (Hovater) Scarlett is the opposite of Melanie; her foil actually. But as Mitchell has created two completely diverse characters, she has brought them together as compliments. "Melanie Wilkes, who seems to typify the frail, passive, ideal woman, actually has a tough, pragmatic