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Gone with the Wind

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Scarlett O'Hara, the beautiful, spoiled daughter of a well-to-do Georgia plantation owner, must use every means at her disposal to claw her way out of the poverty she finds herself in after Sherman's March to the Sea.

1037 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published June 30, 1936

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About the author

Margaret Mitchell

188 books2,877 followers
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Margaret Munnerlyn Mitchell, popularly known as Margaret Mitchell, was an American author, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1937 for her novel, Gone with the Wind, published in 1936. The novel is one of the most popular books of all time, selling more than 28 million copies. An American film adaptation, released in 1939, became the highest-grossing film in the history of Hollywood, and received a record-breaking number of Academy Awards.

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Profile Image for Alex.
1,419 reviews4,482 followers
May 12, 2023
Margaret Mitchell was a racist and in 1936, 70 years after the Civil War, she wrote a thousand-page love letter to racism. If you'd like to hear why slavery was terrific and black people are inferior to whites and they liked being slaves, here is your epic. If that sounds unpleasant, you won't like Gone With the Wind.

A non-racist book can have racist characters, and all the characters in this book are racist. Is the book itself necessarily racist? Yes. It has an omniscient narrator, and many long, racist passages that are clearly not from any character's perspective. They feel like the nonfiction interludes in War & Peace and they're racist. Is it possible Mitchell means for us to disagree with her omniscient narrator? No. There's no evidence whatsoever of that, and the omniscient passages that defend the South and slavery are written with passion and supported by racist scenes in the story. This book intends to be racist; Margaret Mitchell believes what she says; she was a racist person who wrote a hateful book. I can prove it and I'm about to.

We start off in the glory days of the Old South, as a young, callow, beautiful Scarlett O'Hara flirts with everyone's boyfriends. Happy slaves bustle around:

"The house negroes of the County considered themselves superior to white trash...they were well-fed, well-clothed and looked after in sickness and old age. They were proud of the good names of their owners and, for the most part, proud to belong to people who were quality."

We meet some of them, Scarlett's "small white hand disappearing into their huge black paws and the four capered with delight at the meeting and with pride at displaying before their comrades what a pretty Young Miss they had."

Faithful slave Mammy is introduced, with her "kind face, sad with the uncomprehending sadness of a monkey's face" - "the mottled wise old eyes saw deeply, saw clearly, with the directness of the savage and the child, undeterred by conscience when danger threatened her pet." Mammy is one of the few morally pure characters in the book, but it's always that noble savage quality.

Luckily Scarlett stays away from the slave quarters, where "the faint niggery smell which crept from the cabin increased her nausea."

But then war comes. Here's noble and boring Ashley, the limpest point of the oncoming love triangle, describing what the war is about. Notice that his vision of the South is indivisible from slavery:

I hear the darkies coming home across the fields at dusk, tired and singing and ready for supper, and the sound of the windlass as the bucket goes down into the cool well. And there's the long view down the road to the river, across the cotton fields, and the mist rising from the bottom lands in the twilight. And that is why I'm here who have no love of death or misery or glory and no hatred for anyone. Perhaps that is what is called patriotism.

After the War and during Reconstruction, things get really dark (get it? lol) as Northerners ruin black people: "Some of the free negroes were getting quite insolent. This last [Scarlett] could hardly believe, for she had never seen an insolent negro in her life."

But "The [Freedmen's] Bureau fed them while they loafed and poisoned their minds against their former masters." And here's much more from the omniscient narrator:

[They] furthermore told the negroes they were as good as the whites in every way and soon white and negro marriages would be permitted, soon the estates of their former owners would be divided and every negro would be given forty acres and a mule for his own. They kept the negroes stirred up with tales of cruelty perpetrated by the whites and, in a section long famed for the affectionate relations between slaves and slave owners, hate and suspicion began to grow.

[Now Southerners] were looking on the state they loved, seeing it trampled by the enemy, rascals making a mock of the law, their former slaves a menace, their men disenfranchised, their women insulted.

This eventually leads to the formation of the noble Ku Klux Klan, who merely attempt to protect Southern women from being raped by uppity former slaves. Here's a Klan member now:

"'Wilkerson had gone a bit too far with his nigger-equality business. Oh yes, he talks it to those black fools by the hour. He had the gall - the - ' Tony sputtered helplessly, 'to say niggers had a right to - to - white women.'"

"The negroes were on top and behind them were the Yankee bayonets," thinks Scarlett: "She could be killed, she could be raped and, very probably, nothing would ever be done about it."

And here's the omniscient narrator summing it up:

It was the large number of outrages on women and the ever-present fear for the safety of their wives and daughters that drove Southern men to cold and trembling fury and caused the Ku Klux Klan to spring up overnight. And it was against this nocturnal organization that the newspapers of the North cried out most loudly, never realizing the tragic necessity that brought it into being.

This is all demonstrated in the action. Scarlett O'Hara's headstrong ways nearly get every man in town hung. Divorced from its context, this is a brilliant scene. It's done entirely from Scarlett's point of view, so the actual gun fight is totally off page. What we see instead is the wives, with Northern soldiers in their living rooms waiting for the men to return - surrounded by enemies, their faces frozen into nonchalant expressions, desperately and silently scheming to save their husbands' lives. It's great stuff, as long as you can forget that you're being asked to root for the KKK to get away with lynching a man.

And here's a pretty long series of quotes. Again, they're all from the omniscient narrator - that is, from the book itself.

The South had been tilted as by a giant malicious hand, and those who had once ruled were now more helpless than their former slaves had ever been.

The former slaves were now the lords of creation and, with the aid of the Yankees, the lowest and most ignorant ones were on top. The better class of them, scorning freedom, were suffering as severely as their white masters...Many loyal field hands also refused to avail themselves of the new freedom, but the hordes of 'trashy free issue niggers,' who were causing most of the trouble, were drawn largely from the field-hand class.

In slave days, these lowly blacks had been despised by the house negroes and yard negroes as creatures of small worth...Plantation mistresses had put the pickaninnies through courses of training and elimination to select the best of them for the positions of greater responsibility. Those consigned to the fields were the ones least willing or able to learn, the least energetic, the least honest and trustworthy, the most vicious and brutish...[but now] the former field hands found themselves suddenly elevated to the seats of the mighty. There they conducted themselves as creatures of small intelligence might naturally be expected to do. Like monkeys or small children turned loose among treasured objects whose value is beyond their comprehension, they ran wild - either from perverse pleasure in destruction or simply because of their ignorance.

To the credit of the negroes, including the least intelligent of them, few were actuated by malice and those few had usually been "mean niggers" even in slave days. But they were, as a class, childlike in mentality, easily led and from long habit accustomed to taking orders.
Here was the astonishing spectacle of half a nation attempting, at the point of bayonet, to force upon the other half the rule of negroes, many of them scarcely one generation out of the African jungles.
Thanks to the negro vote, the Republicans and their allies were firmly entrenched and they were riding roughshod over the powerless but still protesting minority.

Man, just read that last sentence again. Wow.

Anyway, this is all very difficult for poor Scarlett: "The more I see of emancipation the more criminal I think it is. It's just ruined the darkies. Thousands of them aren't working at all and the ones we can get to work at the mill are so lazy and shiftless they aren't worth having. and if you so much as swear at them, much less hit them a few licks for the good of their souls, the Freedmen's Bureau is down on you like a duck on a June bug."

She complains that Northerners "Did not know that negroes had to be handled gently, as though they were children, directed, praised, petted, scolded...How could anyone get any work done with free niggers quitting all the time?...[It's] too dear a homeland to be turned over to ignorant negroes drunk with whiskey and freedom."

And with the final word, here's a former slave himself, Big Sam, who "galloped over to the buggy,his eyes rolling with joy and his white teeth flashing, and clutched her outsretched hand with two big hands as big as hams. His watermelon-pink tongue lapped out, his whole body wiggled and his joyful contortions were as ludicrous as the gambolings of a mastiff. ... 'Ah done had nuff freedom. Ah wants somebody ter eed me good vittles reg'lar, and tell me whut ter do an' whut not ter do.'"

Okay, is that enough? That was gross to type out. And don't think I'm cherry-picking the only racist passages; this book is soaked in racism. God's nightgown, it's fuckin' racist. Pat Conroy, in a despicably fawning introduction, sees fit to mention that "No black man or woman can read this book and be sorry that this particular wind is gone," and what the hell kind of thing is that to say? "White people, on the other hand...you gotta be a little bummed out, right?" Is that what you meant, Pat?

And look, yes, it's too bad that this book has destroyed itself with hatred, because it's got a lot going for it. It certainly has Scarlett O'Hara going for it. She's fuckin' terrific, a towering antiheroine, amoral, selfish and brave - somewhat like the South itself. Rhett Butler, her swarthy and cynical love interest, is pretty good too, although he can't stop mansplaining amorality and he might have some kind of social learning disability. (He's also a murderer, by the way: "I did kill the nigger. He was uppity to a lady, and what else could a Southern gentleman do?”) They have sortof a proto-50 Shades thing going on, including a fairly kinky love scene that's not explicitly described but Scarlett was definitely into it. Third love triangle corner Ashley sucks, no one cares about him.

It also taught me the phrase "God's nightgown!" which is certainly a great thing to yell.

But it is totally, irredeemably ruined by its racism. Look, I'm not trying to be "politically correct" here. That's not even a thing; it's a term made up by haters to excuse hate. Gone With The Wind angered me. I don't like hearing black people described as stupid monkeys over and over again. I didn't enjoy reading the book because I was constantly pissed off by how ignorant and hateful it is. It was racist at the time it was written; it's racist now; racism is the point and the message, and to ignore it is to disrespect its author's intentions, which were racist.

Books matter. We use stories to describe and define society. If we allow this book to become part of the foundation of our past - if we call it a classic, as some people have - we're basing our past on a terrible lie. And it is a terrible lie, in case we need to say that out loud: Slavery was bad, black people didn't like it, almost everyone else didn't either, and the South were the bad guys in the Civil War.

And books are also our companions. When we choose to read, we're spending significant amounts of time - hours and hours - deep in their worlds. This companion is full of hate. These hours and hours will be spent listening to her yell about insolent niggers. It's the most racist book I've ever read. I didn't like it.
Profile Image for Annalisa.
547 reviews1,375 followers
January 14, 2009
It takes guts to make your main character spoiled, selfish, and stupid, someone without any redeeming qualities, and write an epic novel about her. But it works for two reasons. First of all you wait for justice to fall its merciless blow with one of the most recognized lines in cinema ("frankly my dear, I don't give a damn"), but you end with a broken and somewhat repentant character and you can't be pitiless. Secondly, if you were going to parallel the beautiful, affluent, lazy, spirited South being conquered by the intellectual, industrious North, what better way to do that than with characters who embody those characteristics? You come to feel a level of sadness that the South and Scarlett lost their war and hope that they will rebuild.

I enjoyed the picture of pre-war South outside of what you learn in history class approved by the nation that won the war. If the South had won, we would have an entirely different picture painted. A story of lush lands and prosperity abounding with chivalry and gentility by a (too) passionate people. If you visit the South today, you can see that all these generations later the wounds of the war and the regret at losing the way of life are still fresh. But if it had not been the civil war, it would have been by other means that the lazy sprawled out way of life would have been conquered by our efficient, compact, modern lives.

I enjoyed the picture of plantations that did not abuse slaves to the extent that you read about in many memoirs. There was still a disrespect in that they viewed "darkies" as ignorant and childish and worthy of being owned, but there were those who cared for those in their trust. And the North who came down riling up the lowest of the slaves to flip the oppression did not want any contact with a race they feared. Prejudice takes many faces. Slavery is such an important part of American history, but I don't know that I agree with the format in which it is taught (at least the way it was taught to me). We take young, tolerant children and feed them stories of racism and abuse and then tell them the world is naturally prejudice (that they are prejudice) so don't be. White children start feeling awkward and aware and black children start feeling mistreated and aware. We manage to teach children about Indian and Holocaust history without the same enthusiasm to end racism by breeding racism. There has to be a better way. But I digress.

I also enjoyed Mitchell showing the volatile formula in which the KKK was aroused, that it wasn't just a disdain for free darkies but a need to protect their women and children from the rash anger now imposed on them through this new regime. Not that there are any redeeming qualities in the KKK, or even the Southern rash justice by pistol shot to curb wounded pride, but it was interesting to learn the wider circumstances in which it arose. The entire picture of the Southern perspective from the hierarchy of slaves to the disdain of the reconstruction was enlightening. The post-war difficulties, that sometimes it's harder to survive than die, were some of my favorite epiphanies of the story. What everyone in the South went through, both white and black, after everything was deconstructed and they didn't know how to rebuild. It wasn't just about freeing slaves but about rebuilding an entire way of life and sometimes change, even good change, can be this scary and destructive.

My one complaint about the book was at times the description was lengthy. I'd get a grasp for the emotions of Scarlett that are supposed to describe the emotions of all Southerners or the description of the land at Tara as a representation of the rich red soil all Southerners love and then Mitchell would go on for paragraphs or pages rehashing that feeling to pull the most emotion out of you. It worked, but sometimes I think she could have done so in fewer words.

I view Scarlett as a representation of the South in which she loved. She did not care from whence the wealth came or believed that it would ever end. Because she was rich and important, she would conquer. As the Yankees attempted to rebuild the South, fresh in their embitterment at a war they did not want to fight, you can both see their reasoning and feel for the Southerners who were licked and then stomped on in their attempts to gain back of their life. You see that in Scarlett. On one hand you don't pity her and think she needs a lesson in poverty and on the other hand you want her to survive. Either she can lie down and cling to her old ways or she can debase herself and rebuild. Survival, not morality, is her strongest drive.

Oh Scarlett. We all know people like her. People who unscrupulously use their womanly charms to get ahead and carry a deep disdain for those bound by concepts of kindness, morals, or intelligence and most especially for those who see them for what they are instead of being manipulated. People who care for nobody but themselves and who find enjoyment in life not in what they have, but in conquering the unattainable that is only desirable because it is out of reach. I loved how Mitchell showed Scarlett's decline from a religious albeit not believing girl who allowed her rationalization and avoidance to carry her from one sin to the next of intensifying degree. An excellent portrait of the degradation of character.

Initially I thought she was the only character who wasn't growing, actually digressing. But by the end she does grow up. In no regard is this greater than in her eventual desire to be a mother. Turning from her ravenous post-war desire to survive to her acceptance of life and the people around her as the way they are, eventually Scarlett grows into the person she was meant to be. As did the South. Prideful and resentful, eventually they had to accept that they lost the war and take what was given them and try to make it work.

Scarlett realizes that Melanie is not the weak, cowardly girl she always assumed but the most courageous character in the book and one who gets her means by influence and persuasion instead of Scarlett's uncivil ways. It is Melly, not Scarlett, who could get anything she desires and her heart is not her weakness but her greatest strength. Finally Scarlett values the importance of love and sees that it does not make one weak but deep to possess it. OK, I won't go that far. She's not intelligent enough to analyze love, but she grows up enough to fall for it anyway, to realize she needs people.

She sees Ashley not as the strong, honorable character she had always esteemed but the weakest and least honorable character in the book. Anyone who would tease another woman with confessions of love just so he could keep her heart and devotion at arm's length is not truly honoring his marriage vows. The greatest gift he could give his wife was the knowledge that he loved her. And we all know that like any pretty toy, once Scarlett had taken him, she would have discarded him. The debasing knowledge that he is not fit for a rougher way of life doesn't endear him. For all his intelligence, he could have picked himself up by the bootstraps and made something of himself if he wanted to survive. He is a representation of the Old South that had to die but many couldn't let go of, even today. That's the sadness of the loss of the Southern way, still longing for the past instead of moving forward.

Then we come to Rhett, the only character with the ability to conquer Scarlett, who was quite the devil. Just like the ladies in old Atlanta I found myself at times entranced by his charms, but often I did not like or trust him. I was often torn about the way he constantly encouraged Scarlett to fall another wrung on her morality ladder and mocked her emotions, mocked all of Southern civility. What annoyed me most about him was that he showed love by coddling his wife and child until they were spoiled, dependent, but not grateful, and this was his idea of being a good father and husband. And yet I sympathized with him and was often amused by him. More than anything I enjoyed his intelligence as a way for Mitchell to introduce the Yankee viewpoint, using his sarcasm as satire. I loved the whole discussion of his not being a gentleman and her no lady.

More than anything I saw his slow conquering of Scarlett's heart as a parallel to the slow enveloping of the South by the North until they realized they were dependent on their conquerors but could still maintain their fierce spirit, a marriage of North and South. The fact that she could never fully understand him shows the divide between to two philosophies. But does the South lose in this blending? Can't they adopt the intellectual ways of the North and still maintain their civility? Just like Ashley, they would rather have dreamt and remembered than changed.

The characters in the book are so vivid that like or dislike you cannot get them out of your head. There are no more vibrant characters in the history of literature that Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler. There is a reason this book is a classic. Everyone should read it at least once in their life to appreciate the civil war and understand the sadness and loss that enveloped the country.
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,983 followers
August 21, 2018
Another epic story complete! This was a very good one!

I have read a few huge books in my life. Some are a struggle to get through and others are so captivating they read easier than a 300 page novel. Gone With The Wind falls in the "captivating" category. At no point was I bored with the story or wondering if it was ever going to end. I was fully invested every step of the way - invested to the point that my wife was amused that I spent a lot of time talking back to the book or exclaiming when something big or shocking happened. Gone With The Wind was the complete experience.

Before I go further, I will address the uncomfortable part of the book: the depiction of race, dialect, and other Civil War era activities in the South. At times I felt like maybe I shouldn't be enjoying a book featuring a sympathetic view of the South or feeling bad for those who struggled in their losses to the North. However, the story was really interesting and I have seen a lot of people from a wide variety of races give this book 5 stars, so I believe it is generally acceptable to enjoy it for what it is with an understanding of the time period it was written.

The writing: so great! How is it that Margaret Mitchell is only known for this book. I will have to look it up and see if she wrote any others. To write such a large book with a great story, symbolism, character development, etc. like this is pure genius.

The story: I had seen the movie but was not sure if I should expect it to be the same (seems like Hollywood used to stick closer to the source material than they do now.) From what I remember of the move, it is a pretty fair adaptation of the book. I thought the combination of fictional characters and events along side and intertwined with ones that actually occurred was very well done. Because of that I am sure this is a novel that historians enjoy as well.

The characters: Great character studies and development. Watching where everyone starts compared to where the finish was very interesting. It is not often you get to go along on what seems like an almost daily journey with the characters from youth through adulthood. None of these characters have it easy. Seeing how each character handles the struggles of drastic life changes is the heart and soul of this book.

Gone With The Wind lives up to its reputation as a classic. If you have the time for a 900+ page book, you really should check it out.

Side note: finished this while in Greenville, South Carolina - pretty close to Atlanta. Seems appropriate!
Profile Image for Eve Hogan.
7 reviews96 followers
September 30, 2007
I honestly do not know whether to give this book 5 stars for being one of the most completely engrossing, shocking, and emotionally absorbing pieces of literature ever written, or to give it 0 stars for being the most tragic, unendingly upsetting, disturbing book I've ever read. I read the last 50 pages or so literally with my mouth wide open, unable to believe that it was really going to be THAT tragically sad. When I finally finished, I walked downstairs in a daze, handed the book to my husband, and told him to burn it and never let me see it again. Throughout the book, I frantically kept reading, often until 2am or later, just to see when it would turn around and start getting happy, but there was never any redemption - it NEVER got happy or uplifting. It just kept spiraling down, down, into despair. Maybe after a few days I will be able to step back and give it a proper rating (I just finished it last night, and am still reeling from it)....

UPDATE: After about a week, I have decided to give this book a 5, because any piece of fiction that can have that strong an effect on a reader deserves the highest ranking possible! Besides, I've found that, no matter how tragic and sometimes unlikeable the chartacters were, I am still thinking about them days after I finished reading. I almost miss them! They have truly come alive for me. Besides, who doesn't love a good emotional roller coaster every once in a while?!
Profile Image for Emily.
231 reviews7 followers
April 21, 2021
I received my copy of Gone With the Wind in 1991 and never got past the first 50 or 100 pages in any of my annual attempts at this books until 2004, at which point I decided to defeat the book one and for all. I FINALLY FINISHED READING THE DAMN BOOK.

I want my time back.

There was a reason I never before read past the first 50 or 100 pages - Scarlet is a raging evil snarky miserable bitch and I hate her. None of the other characters were particularly likable - ranging from sniveling, whiny sissies to evil, snarky assholes.

I don't care if it *is* some great story about surviving in a war zone or some bullshit line like that. None of these characters really expressed the complexities or debated the moral dilemmas involved in surviving the Civil War. Scarlet was a whiny, conniving miserable human being and I don't give a crap if she "only did what she had to do as a woman." She didn't have to treat Ashley or Rhett or ANYONE the way she did, or she could have at least felt bad about it or something.

I disliked every single character and their miserable lives. I want my time back.

But by God did it feel good when Rhett tells her "My dear, I don't give a damn" because neither do I.

(PS: I am, in fact, allowed to dislike this book. You don't need to reply to my review by calling me names. I'm perfectly happy to hear about why you did like it, or why you didn't like it, but I'm tired of people coming to MY review and calling me names because I don't like this "classic" book.")

(PPS: This book is also a racist & sexist glorification of a racist & sexist past. It's the literary equivalent of the Confederate Flag.)

Seriously, folks. You can just read this and disagree and then not say a single thing. A for fuck's sake, don't come here and be an asshole to me if you don't like my review. Get the fuck off my lawn.

And don't come here saying I want to ban or burn the book, like Nazis. I don't. You can read whatever you want. I don't believe in banning or burning books. I do believe this book is the Confederate flag of literature.
Profile Image for Fabian.
956 reviews1,623 followers
April 21, 2020
I’ve said it some time ago: GWTW the novel is like watching the ten hour director’s cut of GWTW the movie! Hell yeah! All the memorable scenes are there, & the spotlit romance is considerably widened in scope, as is the sturdy social studies lesson on the almighty American Civil War. I mean, everyone has the basic idea correct: the South took a tremendous thrashing. But having the loser’s POV take the forefront, even to the extent of exalting the KKK-- this, more than Scarlett O’Hara’s infamous bitchiness but overall fierceness as the antihero of this fantastic tale-- is what I fell in love with. The stars all aligned and for the first time in a long time the general reading audience had it correct. GWTW is a remarkable, unique reading experience.

A reader simply isn’t one unless he or she has faced a behemoth like this one. This, "The Odyssey," "The 1001 Arabian Nights," "Don Quixote," "Lord of the Rings"... are all Musts. All epic & so awesome, THE primordial blockbusters of their time. You have enough time to live with the book, to form a relationship with it, to think about your future together... (It becomes an integral part of yourself…)

Now, what do we get on this journey that is sadly missing in its technicolored, titanic doppelganger? The atrocities shown here of the war are not apt for a rated G film.

The following questions are thoroughly answered... (mild SPOILER ALERT!) In what way did Gerald O'Hara gain ownership of Tara? What invisible connection exists between women and horses? How did the siege of Atlanta take place? Why Atlanta? What is Southern hospitality, really? (Priceless is the mentioning of several ostentatious Atlanta parties with only the Yankee army 22 miles away…! Priceless is the POV of the woman that stayed behind while all men are off to war…! Priceless the interconnections between folks [of course the world population was nil back then!]) And, How has the idea of masculinity changed from the 19th century? What is true sisterhood? What's Post-traumatic stress syndrome?

The townships are fully described. GWTW has many protagonists, as they all add authenticity to the incredibly narrative. If there ever existed a valentine for a city in the elusive form of an epic historical romance, then it is this, for Atlanta! There are additional love stories which parallel Rhett’s and Scarlett’s & several romantic dates between the central lovers. Everyone, it seems, has fallen in love, which adds the hues of Romanticism to the epic Southern Myth. Too, there is sympathy for the devil, scorn for the overly dandified Yankees (They desecrated graves! Raped, and pillaged!), amazement at the aftereffects of the Civil War, including Reconstruction (which takes up many more pages than the war itself!).

Missing from the silver screen? The characters of Wade and Ella, Scarlett’s first- and second-borns. They do nothing but highlight the main character’s flaws and selfishness. Frank Kennedy, also known as Mr. Scarlett O’Hara, the Second. And Will Benteen, the overseer at Tara would be one too many males within Scarlett’s (Vivien Leigh’s) periphery on film. Also: Scarlett almost getting attacked and raped; GWTW’s racy social commentary, all of the men partaking in early KKK activities. I will admit, GWTW is gee-wow! oh-so feminist... but also downright racist!

Scarlett’s consciousness evolves. She turns from spoiled brat teen to fiery, materialistic bitch!! In her brain is the constant battle to get Ashley Wilkes, to get Tara. It is only here that I perceive similarities to “Twilight”: yearnings & adolescent ambivalence. These things, it seems, never change. Also, that Gotterdammerung, or, the dusk of the gods, the end of civilization, is apt to occur in our times, and soon: this is a prophecy waiting to be fulfilled…!

The British have “Wuthering Heights,” “Pride and Prejudice; We got “Gone With the Wind”, an epic so incredible, so full of wuthering heights and perplexing downfalls, so jam packed with southern pride and arrogance, of prejudice and passion, that it is simply sad that its sole detriment is (not its length, nor its melodrama, but) its racist edge. GWTW is the s**t in many respects, but it is the dialogue between the star-crossed lovers (positively Wilde in its cleverness, in its tongue-in-cheekness) which elevates it to a plane higher than its sturdy, more lauded colleagues. Unlike that once-glorious South in the war, with “Gone With the Wind” you, the reader, will not lose...!
Profile Image for Brina.
933 reviews4 followers
May 5, 2017
One of my reading themes for 2016 is reading at least ten classic books. It seems only fitting that on the Fourth of July I completed Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind, an epic masterpiece that many view as the definitive great American novel.

I feel that the two halves of the book mirror the southern United States before and after the Civil War. The first half of the book occurs primarily at Tara Plantation. We meet our main protagonist Scarlett O'Hara, the belle of the south, who epitomizes what life was like in the antebellum era: young, carefree, never having to lift a finger and having an entire plantation at her beck and call. She never gave a thought to slavery, the confederate cause, or political matters because in the south that she knew, this was her way of life.

Next, there is the fated barbecue at neighboring Twelve Oaks plantation. We meet mainstays Ashley and Melanie Wilkes who are to be married. Scarlett grew up with Ashley and desires him yet this is a teenage fantasy, unfortunately one that will plague her for the rest of her life. Witnessing her declaration of love for Ashley is the mysterious Rhett Butler, an unreceived gentleman with a past. Instantly smitten with Scarlett's looks and personality, he begins a lifelong quest to have her as his own. And then the Great War hits and shatters all these dreams.

Scarlett reduced to nothing rebuilds. She is a modern woman who goes into business despite an entire city of Atlanta giving her nasty looks. She does this at the cost of her children's upbringing so she can rebuild Tara and her Atlanta life from the rubble of the war. Although many people in their reviews state that they dislike Scarlett and her selfish motives, I view her character with determination as she tried to better her place in society in order to leave her children with more than she started with. Mitchell is writing from a 20th century perspective and had witnessed the modern woman and inserts some of these modern traits into Scarlett. Combine that with her Irish blood, and we have one of the most determined protagonists of all time.

Of course as in any epic, we have a sketch of the time period. I learned much about the reconstruction south because growing up in the north, we only had what was in the history books. I knew the basics but not the intimate look at how southerners rebuilt following the war. There were two views to the new south- there was Ashley Wilkes who pined for Twelve Oaks and the way of life before the war and Rhett Butler who symbolizes the modern south and how Atlanta and the south rose again. The second half of the book focuses on these two men and how they coped and succeeded in reconstruction, yet it all came back to Scarlett and which of the two paths she would choose, which man's dreams she would decide to follow.

Behind Scarlett, Rhett, and Ashley and their dreams, we have Melanie Wilkes. She was the only character who knew all the principal players for who they were, and held them together through good times and bad. Whereas Scarlett was the new south, the new woman, Melanie was the south and the picture of the south I have always had- a strong woman, rallying soldiers, rallying for every cause after reconstruction, holding together an entire city, selfless. Even Scarlett with all her selfishness turned to Melanie in times of greatest need, even though Melanie is the one who viewed Scarlett as the pillar of strength. And yet, both women were strength, Melanie in her antiquated ways and Scarlett as the new woman who would bring this country forward while still remembering Tara, where she came from.

As I finish this epic on America's birthday I feel a sadness as I leave behind Mitchell's well drawn characters that earned her a Pulitzer Prize 80 years ago. Scarlett's determination, Rhett's swarthy brashness, Ashley's love of time gone by, Melanie's heart. I look forward to seeing the epic film for the first time and witnessing Scarlett and Rhett and Tara on screen. I am glad I let myself be drawn into this slice of Americana from bygone eras, and believe that every American should attempt to read Mitchell's masterpiece at least once in their lives.
Profile Image for Lisa of Troy.
431 reviews4,213 followers
May 1, 2023
“Now, Puss, tell me true, do you understand his folderol about books and poetry and music and oil paintings and such foolishness?” “Oh, Pa,” cried Scarlett impatiently, “if I married him, I’d change all that!”

When I was a teenager, my goal in life was to be Scarlett O’Hara (less the slavery aspects and lack of a moral compass). What’s wrong with being a strong, business-minded, ambitious woman who knows what she wants, someone who can reinvent herself, someone who knows failure but can rebuild from ashes, someone who is brave enough to stand up to naysayers?

Although Gone With the Wind was published in 1936, some things haven’t changed. A woman who speaks her mind still isn’t valued by society. There was a study where participants read a story about an ambitious CEO. In one group of participants, the CEO was male. In the other group, female. The participants said that the male was a great guy, someone that you would want to be around, a real go-getter. Regarding the female CEO, the participants said that she would be difficult to work with and unpleasant.

In 2016, Fortune magazine ran an article about Erin McKelvey who applied for jobs in the tech industry and got zero responses. After consulting a friend, she ended up listing her name as Mack McKelvey. Her resume had a 70% response rate.

And the ending of Gone With The Wind….wow! What an incredible, perfect, memorable ending! What do you think happened after the end of the book?

In a letter, Margaret Mitchell said, “Whether or not Rhett came back to his wife, well, you have me out on a limb. You see, I do not know myself. I honestly never thought about what happened to the characters after the book ended.”

My extremely scientific and highly accurate internet quiz says that I’m 77% Scarlett O’Hara, 39% Rhett Butler, 36% Ashley Wilkes, and 30% Melanie Wilkes. Math is apparently optional for this quiz.

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Profile Image for Nicko.
128 reviews32 followers
February 25, 2008
So much has been said in praise of this book it feels redundant to add more. In terms of the slave-holding society, the film actually toned-down the pro-South view of Reconstruction (Scarlett's second husband joined the KKK in the book) and Mammy remains probably one of the most fully-developed and likeable African-American characters from 1930 you'll read.

Rhett Butler is the consummate alpha male. This book is definitely the timeless classic reputation it has earned, and though at times it seemed like the longest book ever, it is all worth it in the end. It touches on many misunderstood aspects of the civil war and its afterwords. What many people do not realize is how horrible it really was for Southerners after the war, mostly because they cannot get past the racism of the times (which it wasn't as if the North was full of equality and peace, either). If you can accept the times for what they were, you will see how well this book was written. I appreciate it for the well built characters, smooth flow, and albeit romanticized- depiction of the Antebellum South.

As far as being politically incorrect or the modern charges that the book is "racist," remember that this book was written in the 1930s. Not to mention, the time period is the Civil War era! To be completely unracist would not have depicted the era correctly. As if it represents anything more than the way people thought when it was made. Of course, it's racist. America is and has been a racist society since the beginning. This book mirrors the opinions held by the people alive and working at the time, no more and certainly no less. Have opinions changed since then? Of course, as society evolves so does the writing. All this aside, the character of "Mammy" is one of the most likeable and respected characters in the book. Rhett Butler treats her very well, and tries to win her approval. She’s the one person throughout the novel who sees through everyone’s follies and foibles, but remains forgiving of them anyway. There's a reason this book won so many awards and still endures! It is a timeless classic that everyone should enjoy and read in context.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews41 followers
August 15, 2021
(Book 619 From 1001 Books) - Gone With The Wind, Margaret Mitchell

Gone with the Wind is a novel by American writer Margaret Mitchell, first published in 1936.

The story is set in Clayton County and Atlanta, both in Georgia, during the American Civil War and Reconstruction Era.

Written from the perspective of the slaveholder, Gone with the Wind is Southern plantation fiction.

Its portrayal of slavery and African Americans has been considered controversial, especially by succeeding generations, as well as its use of a racial epithet and ethnic slurs common to the period.

However, the novel has become a reference point for subsequent writers about the South, both black and white.

Scholars at American universities refer to, interpret, and study it in their writings.

The novel has been absorbed into American popular culture.

Mitchell received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for the book in 1937.

It was adapted into a 1939 American film.

Gone with the Wind is the only novel by Mitchell published during her lifetime.

بر باد رفته - مارگارت میچل (نگاه) ادبیات، تاریخ نخستین خوانش: پانزدهم ماه مارس سال 1974میلادی، بار دوم ماه مارس سال 1998میلادی و بار سوم اول ماه آوریل سال 2000میلادی

عنوان: بر باد رفته؛ نوشته: مارگارت میچل؛ مترجم: حسن شهباز، مشخصات نشر: تهران، امیرکبیر، موسسه انتشارات فرانکلین، 1336، در دو جلد، در1460ص؛ چاپ سوم 1357؛ چاپ ششم 1379؛ چاپ نهم و دهم 1387؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 20م

عنوان: بر باد رفته؛ نوشته: مارگارت میچل؛ مترجم: شبنم کیان؛ تهران، پانوس، 1363، در سه جلد، چاپ دیگر: تهران، گلدیس، 1368، در دو جلد؛ چاپ یازدهم 1374؛ شابک 9646512062؛ چاپ بعدی 1377؛

عنوان: بر باد رفته؛ نویسنده: مارگارت میچل؛ مترجم: پرتو اشراق؛ تهران؛ نشر ناهید در دو جلد؛ در سال 1383؛ منتشر کرده است

بر باد رفته را انتشارات «امیرکبیر» نخستین بار با ترجمه جناب «حسن شهباز»؛ در سال 1336هجری خورشیدی منتشر کرده است

هشدار: اگر کتاب را نخوانده اید و میخواهید بخوانید لطفا از خوانش ادامه ی ریویو، پرهیز کنید؛

اسکارلت بزرگ‌ترین دختر «جرالد اوهارا»، صاحب مزرعه ی پنبه «تارا»، با فهمیدن اعلام نامزدی، و ازدواج «اشلی ویلکز»، پسر مالک مزرعه مجاور، با دختر خاله‌ اش «ملانی همیلتون»، به فکر ابراز علاقه به «اشلی» می‌افتد؛ چون فکر می‌کند «اشلی»، به خاطر ناامید شدن از او، می‌خواهد با «ملانی» ازدواج کند؛ در یک میهمانی، در خانه ی «ویلکز»، «اسکارلت»، به «اشلی»، اظهار علاقه می‌کند؛ ولی «اشلی» می‌گوید که می‌خواهد با دخترخاله ی او «ملانی» ازدواج کند؛ «رت باتلر»، ماجراجوی خوشقیافه‌ ای، که شاهد گفتگوها بوده، از جسارت «اسکارلت»، خوشش می‌آید؛ جنگ شمال و جنوب آمریکا آغاز می‌شود، و «اسکارلت»، با «چارلز»، برادر «ملانی» ازدواج می‌کند، ولی «چارلز»، در اردوی آموزشی درمی‌گذرد؛ «اسکارلت»، به «آتلانتا»، پیش «ملانی» می‌رود، و در آنجا دوباره با «رت باتلر»، که حالا دلال ارتش است، و پول کلانی به جیب می‌زند، روبرو می‌شود؛ وقتی «آتلانتا»، مورد یورش نیروهای شمالی قرار می‌گیرد، «رت» به «اسکارلت» و «ملانی» که تازه زایمان کرده یاری می‌کند، تا از شهر بگریزند، و آنگاه به جنوبی‌ها می‌پیوندد؛ وقتی «اسکارلت» به «تارا» می‌رسد، مادرش مرده، و پدرش دچار جنون شده‌ است و مسئولیت نگهداری مزرعه، بر دوش «اسکارلت» می‌افتد؛ «اشلی» ��ز جنگ برمی‌گردد، و در کنار «اسکارلت» زندگی می‌کند؛ شمالی‌ها برای مزرعه، مالیات سنگینی وضع می‌کنند؛ و «اسکارلت» برای نگهداری مزرعه، و تهیه ی پول به شهر می‌رود؛ و با «فرانک کندی» نامزد خواهرش ازدواج می‌کند؛ پس از مرگ «فرانک»، «اسکارلت» اداره ی کارخانه چوببری او را بر دوش می‌گیرد؛ سرانجام «رت باتلر» از «اسکارلت» تقاضای ازدواج می‌کند، و با هم ازدواج می‌کنند؛ ولی توجه مداوم او به «اشلی»، ازدواجشان را به جدایی می‌کشاند؛ «رت باتلر» پس از مرگ دختر خردسالشان، برای همیشه «اسکارلت» را ترک می‌کند؛ و «اسکارلت» که بالاخره درمییابد که «اشلی» هیچگاه او را دوست نداشته، و علاقه او به «اشلی»، بیشتر یک رؤیای کودکانه بوده‌ است؛ به مزرعه پنبه ی «تارا» بازمی‌گردد، تا به زمین نزدیک باشد، و از آن نیروی زندگی بگیرد

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 09/07/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 23/05/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Justin Tate.
Author 7 books962 followers
February 21, 2019
Gone with the Wind is a masterpiece of creative writing on every level. In its 1400 pages (or 49 hours on audio) there is not a single wasted line or insignificant moment. From a purely technical perspective, it is awe-inducing how flawlessly Mitchell utilizes characterization, setting, research, conflict, point of view, narrative voice, symbolism, foreshadowing, allusion, and every other literary device in the handbook. Even more amazing, she can juggle all this and deliver a plot that is relentlessly enjoyable.

The closest novel I've read to this quality is Les Miserables, which was clearly the template for Gone with the Wind. In case there is any doubt, Melanie goes so far as to read directly from its pages during a moment of high tension. Even in Les Miserables, however, there are hundreds of pages of dully written history that is disjunctive and awkward in the flow of narration. Mitchell, following Hugo's formula, also includes segments of war history. Her historical segments work much better, however, because they are short and play a more direct role in the action. Les Miserables is commonly read in an abridged format, but it would be impossible to abridge Gone with the Wind. Every word has a purpose, everything a cause and reaction.

Writers seeking examples of superb characterization should also look no further. Scarlett, Rhett, Ashley and Melanie (among others) are so finely drawn as to boggle the mind. How is it possible for such flawed individuals to be so absorbing? How can fiction feel this real? Even stronger than each individual character is Mitchell's handling of relationships. The way these characters mold to one another, influence one another, speak in subtext and interact creates a world so vivid that real life begins to feel dull.

Despite its long-running popularity, I feel Gone with the Wind (the novel) is perhaps the most underrated classic of all time. There should be no contest. Any list of classic literature that doesn't include Gone with the Wind in the Top 10 is simply wrong. I suspect part of why it gets forgotten as a novel is the iconic movie. I'm so thankful to have mostly avoided the movie thus far, so I could fully enjoy the novel's many surprises on its own. For those who are already well-versed with the movie, I suspect the novel will still blow you away. I just can't imagine how they could efficiently cram 49 hours of book into a 4 hour movie.

Although it was intimidating to devote so much time to a behemoth like this, I never regretted it for a second. Gone with the Wind is one of those masterpieces that is an actual shame if you never get to it.

**SIDE NOTE: The unabridged audio version narrated by Linda Stephens is the best audio performance I've ever encountered. Her performance might very well have elevated my opinion of the novel. I recommend listening to it if you can.
Profile Image for Madeline.
781 reviews47.2k followers
January 3, 2011
There's an episode of The Simpsons where Apu, the Indian owner of the Kwik-E-Mart, takes the American citizenship test. Apu, who throughout the episode has demonstrated a much stronger grasp of American history than any of the American-born characters, is at the oral exam stage of the test. His examiner, a bored white guy, is asking the questions, and the following exchange occurs:

"BORED WHITE GUY: Okay, last question - what was the cause of the Civil War?

APU: Actually, there were numerous causes. Aside from the obvious schism between abolitionists and anti-abolitionists, economic factors both domestic and international contributed -

BORED WHITE GUY: Just say slavery, okay?

APU: Slavery it is, sir!"

That series of quotes, I think, perfectly reflects my experience leading up to reading Gone With the Wind. Like most children who attended a public school above the Mason-Dixon line, my first exposure to the Civil War was basically, "The South wanted to keep slaves, and the North knew that was wrong, so we went to war to free the slaves. And then we won, and everything was happy." At the other end of the spectrum is Margaret Mitchell, who grew up listening to Confederate veterans tell stories about the war, but she didn't learn that the South had actually lost until she was ten years old. So obviously, her epic story about the Civil War was going to paint a very different picture than the one I had grown up thinking was correct.

Going into the book, I was steeling myself for lots of good old fashioned racism, and was surprised at what I found. Yes, the characters are racist. But they're all racist - black and white - and what interested me most was that class, rather than race, seemed to matter most. Scarlett and the other white characters hate lower-class whites a hell of a lot more than they hate blacks, and the blacks themselves draw very distinct class lines. Pork, the O'Hara's butler, looks down not only on poor whites but also on black characters of a lower social standing than himself. During the war, when only a few loyal slaves have remained at Tara, Scarlett has to farm the land herself and wants Pork to help plow. He refuses, stating angrily that plowing is field hand's work and he has never been a field hand. It is important to note that at this point they are starving, and farming is their only chance at food.

There's a lot of starving going on in this book, and a lot of fear and unhappiness. When I started the book, I got a little frustrated with how it seemed to be dragging - it takes over 100 pages for the O'Hara's to arrive at the Twelve Oaks barbecue - but as I kept reading, and the novel plunged deeper and deeper into war-torn despair, I realized why Mitchell had spent so much time introducing these characters and their happy, easy pre-war lives: once the war starts, there is not a single truly happy moment for the rest of the book. Once all the men ride away from the barbecue to volunteer to fight, all that comes next is 800 pages of starvation and fear and death and sadness. We need those detailed descriptions of the plantations, the clothes, the food, the luxury, so we can understand how much Scarlett and her friends have lost. Near the middle of the book, when Scarlett is going barefoot and stealing food to keep from starving, we understand her longing when she thinks back to her life before the war, because we remember reading this description of the Twelve Oaks barbecue:

"The long trestled picnic table, covered with the finest of the Wilkes' linen, always stood under the thickest shade, with the backless benches on either side; and chairs, hassocks and cushions from the house were scattered about the glade for those who did not fancy the benches. At a distance great enough to keep the smoke away from the guests were the long pits where the meat cooked and the huge iron wash-pots from which the succulent odors of barbecue sauce and Brunswick stew floated."

We get only this brief, wonderful glimpse of the luxurious life these people were living, and then the war starts and everything goes straight to hell, like an 1800's version of the The Road:

"The gray troops passed by empty mansions, deserted farms, lonely cabins with doors ajar. Here and there some lone woman remained with a few frightened slaves, and they came to the road to cheer the soldiers, to bring buckets of water for the thirsty men, to bind up the wounds and bury their dead in their own family burying ground. But for the most part the sunny valley was abandoned and desolate and the untended crops stood in parching fields."

The war destroyed not only a region, but an entire way of life for thousands of people, and you can see Margaret Mitchell's mourning for this lost era in every page.

"They looked the same but different. What was it? Was it only that they were five years older? No, it was something more than the passing of time. Something had gone out of them, out of their world. Five years ago, a feeling of security had wrapped them all around so gently they were not even aware of it. In its shelter they had flowered. Now it was gone and with it had gone the old thrill, the old sense of something delightful and exciting just around the corner, the old glamour of their way of living.
...An ageless dignity, a timeless gallantry still clung about them and would cling until they died but they would carry undying bitterness to their graves, a bitterness too deep for words. They were a soft-spoken, fierce, tired people who were defeated and would not know defeat, broken yet still standing determinedly erect."

This review is getting long-winded, and I've only started to explain everything about this book that makes it 5 stars. Aside from the history, the tone, the description, the general epic-ness of this epic, there are also the characters. And good lord. I could write another review entirely devoted to all the characters and why they are awesome despite being the last people you'd want to be in stuck in a room with, but I'll shorten it to a few characters.

Scarlett: Her transformation alone, from innocent flirt to flinty miser, is amazing in itself, but she's a powerful character no matter what stage she happens to be in. That being said, I hate hate hated her - I hated her shallowness, I hated her "unanalytical" mind, I hated her stupid crush on stupid useless Ashely, and she was so astoundingly unobservant throughout the book that it was all I could do not to scream at the pages. She was a great character, but that doesn't mean I have to like her.

Ashely: Christ, what a schmuck.

Mammy: The only character in the book I'd actually enjoy sitting down with. She had all the other character's best qualities, and none of their glaring faults. She had Melanie's grace, Ashely's kindness, Scarlett's strength, and Rhett's survival instincts. Mammy rocked my world.

Melanie: I kept going back and forth, switching between "she's the dumbest person ever" to "she's the best person in this book." I still can't really be sure where I stand on Melanie. I would want her on my side, but like Scarlett, I might want to slap her every now and then.

Rhett: Oh, Rhett. I so wanted to like him. And I did, when he was telling off the Confederates or Scarlett, when he was putting people in their place, and when he was being the only sensible character in the goddamn book. But then he would talk to Scarlett, and I would be drowned in wave after wave of smirking condescension. He was rude and selfish and had that attitude of "silly woman, your anger is so amusing" that is an instant dealbreaker for me. I suffer from PTTD (Post-Traumatic Twilight Disorder) so whenever I encounter a male character who exhibits even a little bit of condescension and protective instincts towards the womenfolk, I start twitching and picturing Robert Pattinson's ugly face simpering "I like to watch you sleep", and then I have to watch old episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer until the shakes stop. S ultimately, my verdict on Rhett was that he could go fuck himself and wipe that stupid smirk off his face.
Profile Image for Lisa Kay.
924 reviews518 followers
January 5, 2015
My mother wouldn't let me read "Gone With the Wind" until I was 16. A few years ago I was at a cocktail party and they asked the trivia question "What was the first line of GWtW?" I knew the answer. My husband asked, "How did you know that?" (He'd lived with me how many decades?) I told him about my mom's restriction and how, when I finally opened the book, I was stunned by the first sentence. I had seen the movie and Scarlett was beautiful, if a bitch. I also remember it because everyone always talked about how hard it was to cast the role for the movie and how beautiful I thought Vivian Leigh was. In the book Scarlett is not so much a "supreme bitch of the universe" as a survivor and she drags her family along (kicking and screaming) with her. She is presented slightly different and more complex in the book. The whole incident with Scarlett stealing her sister's beau? In the book you just knew that her sister would only use Hamilton’s money for herself where Scarlett wanted it to save Tara because Tara means 'dirt/land/earth' in Ireland. If you had land, you were rich and self-sufficient. I wouldn't have minded being on a deserted island with her if I was part of her family...Or even in the middle of a civil war. LOL. (In the movie they also left out a couple of marriages and kids which gave her more depth.)

We all know this war torn families apart. Years ago I had a cousin who traced our family tree. I had a great-great-great-grandfather who lived in the South and went to fight for the North. I also had another who lived in the North and went to fight for the South. No wonder I always want to play ‘devil’s advocate.’ It’s in my DNA.

I could go off on a whole tangent about the characters in GWTW and what each of them represented with regard to the South. If Scarlett represented a segment of the South the way it was when the Civil War started, it was as a progressive segment that knew where it was headed: strong, determined, attractive, young, rich, bored (complacent), spoiled, unable to love those who truly understood her and loved her anyway (i.e. the North not wanting the South to leave, the South not loving the Union), doing anything to get her way or survive (even enslave a people or take advantage of chained-gang prison-workers)…ever so slowly changing, showing bravery, but learning too late how to change in time…Well then, the first sentence takes on a whole new meaning. Slavery is not beautiful, it’s ugly.

But the wealth it provided? Well, as I learned in my economics class in college, if the war had been fought five years later the South would have won. It was that wealthy. It was also this book that told me that the North was not blameless in the whole thing as many of the slave sellers/capturers and slave ship owners were from the North. They never told me THAT in high school. And Scarlett? Like our forfathers chose to do while writing the constitution, she was going to think about all of it (slavery) tomorrow. Scarlett is, in this story, the eyes of the progressive South at that time and she fails to see the world around her in time. Maybe because she’s too busy batting her lashes to get her way. And yet we feel for her when she pulls that carrot out of the ground, eats it and throws up. We grieve so for her heartbreak at the end of the book. How did Mitchell pull that off? We are right there with her when she’s lost in the fog and can’t see before she goes home to Tara.

Rhett is the New South, charming, lustful, innovative, an investor. Cynicism (a trait he shares with Scarlett) hides his compassion (a trait he shares with Melanie), and he won’t fight or take a side in the war until he must. But Mitchell makes him and all her characters extremely complex, for she gives him a sense of honor for honor’s sake. (Is he then a gentleman like Ashley?) Rhett’s almost downfall? His deep and abiding love for Scarlett (he - like Melanie - sees her for who and what she is, the good as well as the bad); nevertheless, he eventually leaves her ideology behind in disgust. He has the work-ethic and is the muscle, but only flexes it when his devastating charm won’t work. In the end he walks out.

Ashley and Melanie? Two different, complex aspects of the Old South - one lost without the other - and their antiquated way of life. Remember, Ashley doesn’t love Scarlett and he detests slavery. But he didn’t know how to survive without it. He’s painted himself into a corner. Ashley wants to marry Melanie because he believes he has more in common with her than Scarlett. He’s wrong. He’s the intellect of the Old South, struggling to hang on to his gentlemanly behavior and failing totally. As Annalisa says in her Goodreads review: “(Scarlett) sees Ashley not as the strong, honorable character she had always esteemed but the weakest and least honorable character in the book. Anyone who would tease another woman with confessions of love just so he could keep her heart and devotion at arm's length is not truly honoring his marriage vows.” There’s a reason he is in a prison during the war. He doesn’t want to/can’t change some aspects of his life/nature, and in the end can’t conceive of a life without his heart, for that is where courage lives. For all our deep philosophical ideals do not reside in the brain but in our heart.

The heart? That would be Melanie, a gentle southern belle, a ‘great lady’ and one of the few true ‘purely good’ people in Mitchell’s epic. She was sickly due to so many generations of inbreeding within an educated, affluent family. She is the heart and courage of the Old South, not its eyes. She refuses to believe the ‘ugliness’ of Scarlett when she witnesses her in Ashley’s arms (and for once Scarlett is innocent). Melanie is the only one who sees Rhett cry and soon after she dies.

Mammy? She has it all and sees all. The all-knowing mother with eyes in the back of her head. The work-ethic. The conscience. An inner strength, and a loving, forgiving nature.

I told you I was sixteen when I read this. In my naiveté I asked my mother if Rhett and Scarlett got back together and she told me, “It’s like a beautiful tea cup. Once it’s broken, you can glue it back together, but it is never as beautiful to the eyes as it once was.” Scarlett really represents a “might have been.” What might have been if slavery had been abolished in 1776? Or even anytime before 1862? Was she truly blind, wearing rose-tinted glasses, or did she let pride and hubris get in her way?

You do remember your history lessons? Don’t expect a happy ending.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews41 followers
August 20, 2021
Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell

Gone with the Wind is a novel by American writer Margaret Mitchell, first published in 1936.

The story is set in Clayton County and Atlanta, both in Georgia, during the American Civil War.

The story is set in Clayton County and Atlanta, both in Georgia, during the American Civil War and Reconstruction Era.

Written from the perspective of the slaveholder, Gone with the Wind is Southern plantation fiction.

Its portrayal of slavery and African Americans has been considered controversial, especially by succeeding generations, as well as its use of a racial epithet and ethnic slurs common to the period.

However, the novel has become a reference point for subsequent writers about the South, both black and white.

Scholars at American universities refer to, interpret, and study it in their writings.

The novel has been absorbed into American popular culture.

Mitchell received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for the book in 1937.

It was adapted into a 1939 American film.

Gone with the Wind is the only novel by Mitchell published during her lifetime.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: خوانش نخست: روز پانزدهم ماه مارس سال 1974میلادی؛ خوانش دوم: ماه مارس سال 1998میلادی؛ خوانش سوم: ماه آوریل سال 2000میلادی

عنوان: بر باد رفته؛ نوشته: مارگارت میچل؛ مترجم: حسن شهباز، مشخصات نشر تهران، امیرکبیر، موسسه انتشارات فرانکلین، 1336، در دو جلد، در1460ص؛ چاپ سوم 1357؛ چاپ ششم 1379؛ چاپ نهم و دهم 1387؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان امریکایی - سده 20م

مترجم: شبنم کیان ؛ تهران، پانوس، 1363، در سه جلد، چاپ دیگر تهران، گلدیس، 1368، در دو جلد؛ چاپ یازدهم 1374؛ شابک 9646512062؛ چاپ بعدی 1377؛

مترجم: پرتو اشراق؛ تهران؛ نشر ناهید در دو جلد؛ در سال 1383؛

بر باد رفته را انتشارات «امیرکبیر» نخستین بار با ترجمه جناب آقای «حسن شهباز»؛ در سال 1336هجری خورشیدی منتشر کرده است

هشدار: اگر کتاب را نخوانده اید و میخواهید بخوانید لطفا از خوانش ادامه ی ریویو، پرهیز کنید

روایت عشق یک دختر جنوبی، در خلال جنگ داخلی «آمریکا» است؛ «اسکارلت» بزرگ‌ترین دختر «جرالد اوهارا»، صاحب مزرعه ی پنبه «تارا»، با فهمیدن اعلام نامزدی و ازدواج «اشلی ویلکز»، پسر مالک مزرعه مجاور، با دختر خاله‌ اش «ملانی همیلتون»، به فکر ابراز علاقه به «اشلی» می‌افتد، چون فکر می‌کند: «اشلی»، به خاطر ناامید شدن از او، می‌خواهد ازدواج کند؛

در یک مهمانی، در خانه ی «ویلکز»، «اسکارلت» به «اشلی» اظهار علاقه می‌کند؛ ولی «اشلی»، عنوان می‌کند، که می‌خواهد با دخترخاله ی او «ملانی»، ازدواج کند؛ «رت باتلر» ماجراجوی خوش قیافه‌ ای، که شاهد صحبت‌ها بوده‌، از جسارت «اسکارلت»، خوشش می‌آید؛ جنگ شمال و جنوب آمریکا آغاز می‌شود، و «اسکارلت»، با «چارلز»، برادر «ملانی» ازدواج می‌کند، ولی «چارلز»، در اردوی آموزشی درمی‌گذرد؛ «اسکارلت» به «آتلانتا» پیش «ملانی» می‌رود، و در آنجا دوباره با «رت باتلر»، که حالا دلال ارتش است، و پول کلانی به جیب می‌زند، روبرو می‌شود؛

وقتی «آتلانتا»، مورد یورش نیروهای شمالی قرار می‌گیرد، «رت»، به «اسکارلت»، و «ملانی»، که تازه زایمان کرده، یاری می‌کند، تا از شهر بگریزند؛ و آنگاه به جنوبی‌ها می‌پیوندد؛ وقتی «اسکارلت» به «تارا» می‌رسد، مادرش درگذشته، و پدرش دچار جنون شده‌ است؛ و مسئولیت نگهداری مزرعه بر دوش «اسکارلت» می‌افتد؛ «اشلی» از جنگ برمی‌گردد، و در کنار «اسکارلت» زندگی می‌کند؛

شمالی‌ها برای مزرعه مالیات سنگینی وضع می‌کنند؛ و «اسکارلت» برای نگهداری مزرعه، و تهیه ی پول به شهر می‌رود؛ و با «فرانک کندی» نامزد خواهرش، ازدواج می‌کند؛ پس از مرگ «فرانک»، «اسکارلت» اداره ی کارخانه چوببری او را، بر دوش می‌گیرد؛

سرانجام «رت باتلر»، از «اسکارلت»، تقاضای ازدواج می‌کند؛ و با هم ازدواج می‌کنند؛ ولی توجه مداوم او به «اشلی»، ازدواجشان را به جدایی می‌کشاند؛ پس از مرگ دختر خردسالشان، «رت» برای همیشه، «اسکارلت» را ترک می‌کند؛ و «اسکارلت» که بالاخره درمییابد، که «اشلی» هیچگاه او را دوست نداشته؛ و علاقه او به «اشلی» بیشتر یک رؤیای کودکانه بوده‌ است، به مزرعه پنبه «تارا» باز می‌گردد؛ تا به زمین نزدیک باشد و از آن نیروی حیات بگیرد

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 20/06/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 28/05/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Matt.
935 reviews28.6k followers
June 13, 2020
“Lying in the pitiless sun, shoulder to shoulder, head to feet, were hundreds of wounded men, lining the tracks, the sidewalks, stretched out in endless rows under the hot sun, moaning. Everywhere, swarms of flies hovered over the men, crawling and buzzing in their faces, everywhere was blood, dirty bandages, groans, screamed curses of pain as stretcher bearers lifted men. The smell of sweat, of blood, of unwashed bodies, of excrement rose up in waves of blistering heat until the fetid stench almost nauseated her. The ambulance men hurrying here and there among the prostrate forms frequently stepped on wounded men, so thickly packed were the rows, and those trodden upon stared stolidly up, waiting their turn. She shrank back, clapping her hand to her mouth feeling that she was going to vomit. She couldn’t go on…”
- Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind

As Scarlett would say: God’s nightgown! What a book!

This is an all-time memorable reading experience.

I loved it! I hated it! It gave me chills. It led me to the brink of tears. It caused me to stress-eat (cheese, handful after handful of shredded cheese). It made me laugh out loud on public transportation. At times, it revolted me. This is 959 pages (in my paperback anniversary edition) that, for better or worse, absolutely creates a world. Not a real world. Not a world that ever existed, per se. But a fully-realized place nonetheless, filled to every corner with memorable characters.

Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind lives up to its reputation, every bit of it, both the good and the bad.

The plot is America’s urtext. Everybody knows the highlights, at least as captured by the classic film rendition. In case you’ve entirely managed to avoid Gone with the Wind, it suffices to say that it’s the story of Katie Scarlett O’Hara, the young (but eldest) child of Gerald and Ellen, who lives on the Georgia plantation known as Tara. The tale opens shortly after secession has threatened imminent civil war. The coquettish, boy-crazy Scarlett has just found out that her one true love, Ashley Wilkes, is about to marry his cousin Melanie.

(Aside: In all honesty, I found Scarlett’s love for Ashley to be one of the harder pills to swallow. I was never convinced that a woman of Scarlett’s native intelligence and natural fierceness could ever fall under the sway of such a wet noodle. As with other aspects of GWTW, I held my nose and plunged forward).

We continue to follow Scarlett through the Civil War and Reconstruction – a roughly decade-long period – as she attempts to rebuild her life from the ashes, while advancing her undying (ugh) love for Ashley.

Scarlett has to be one of the greatest literary creations in American history. Mitchell deserves kudos for the willingness to make her so fascinatingly multi-dimensional. Scarlett has many fine qualities. She is, in a way, a proto-feminist. She refuses to follow patriarchal strictures. She is ambitious. She is driven and pragmatic and an outside-the-box thinker. She can do math. (The scene where she does sums in her head, to the befuddlement of the men-folk, is so modern it could have been written last week). Scarlett has a bracing clarity when it comes to the conventions and dogmas of her day.

She is also a fully terrible human being. Spiteful. Wicked. A terrible mother. Unconscionably spoiled and selfish and conceited. As I read these 959 pages, I thought of Scarlett as a plane that has lost propulsion. In contravention to the typical redemption arc, in which a bad character becomes better through hard experience, Scarlett kept losing altitude. Mitchell never quite lets her nosedive, but every time she pulls Scarlett out of a tailspin, she remains lower to the ground. By the end, I had given up on Scarlett completely. It is a testament to the sheer momentum of the plot that Mitchell manages even that much. She convinces you to stick with Scarlett long after we probably should have written her off.

Mitchell writes from a roving, yet restrained, omniscient third-person perspective. Most of the time, we are tethered to Scarlett, privy to every one of her noxious thoughts and amoral schemes. Every so often, though, and usually with powerful effect, Mitchell will dip into one of the many unforgettable side characters.

There is Ashley Wilkes, of course, a wishy-washy milquetoast that Mitchell manages to make into the most dynamic wishy-washy milquetoast you’ve ever met. There is Melanie, who at first seems like she was created in the Charles Dickens School of Bland Female Protagonists. Her angelic, saintly presence brought back bad memories of Bleak House’s Esther Summerson. Again, though, Mitchell refuses to let any major character get pegged. By the end, I was utterly sold on Melanie. And of course, there is Rhett Butler, the debonair blockade runner, who arrives on every scene like a Greek Chorus to ridicule and puncture the Lost Cause myths that, ironically, Mitchell was helping to cement.

For me, the chief joys come not from the iconic major players, but from the memorable supporting actors. This is a novel that is consistently generous in its cameo appearances. From the comic relief of faint-prone Aunt Pittypat, to the straight-shooting advice of Grandma Fontaine, to the darkly taciturn hillbilly Archie, Mitchell gives almost every single person in this world a minute in the spotlight, a grace note, a funny one-liner, or a piece of wisdom. It is absolutely extraordinary how real Mitchell’s story feels. Men we barely meet go off to war and don’t return, and we feel for them, because Mitchell evokes their spirits, their lingering presence, their gaping absences, so well.

The writing is beautiful, the prose superb. She lands her one-liners with effortlessness (“she was twenty-five and looked it…”). Her sense of place is amazing:

It was a savagely red land, blood-colored after rains, brick dust in droughts, the best cotton land in the world. It was a pleasant land of white houses, peaceful plowed fields and sluggish yellow rivers, but a land of contrasts, of brightest sun glare and densest shade. The plantation clearings and miles of cotton smiled up to a warm sun, placid, complacent. At their edges rose the virgin forests, dark and cool even in the hottest noons, mysterious, a little sinister, the soughing pines seeming to wait with an age-old patience, to threaten with soft sighs: “Be careful! Be careful! We had you once. We can take you back again.”

The dialogue is excellent. During the exchanges between Rhett and Scarlett it can be as snappy as the best romantic comedies. And the monologues! Oh, the monologues. They are Shakespearian. Rhett’s final summation to Scarlett, cutting bone deep and brutal. Will Benteen’s beautiful funeral eulogy.

When I think of how good GWTW is, I think of Mitchell’s execution of the Grandma Fontaine speech. She gives a spellbinding peroration about surviving the Creek massacre of Fort Mims, of facing the worst in the world, capping it all with her hushed advice: “Scarlett, always save something to fear – even as you save something to love.”

As I finished the passage, I actually stopped reading, looked up, looked around, took a deep breath, mesmerized. Then I looked back down, where Mitchell delivers the deadpan and hilarious kicker:

Scarlett moved impatiently. She had thought Grandma was going to understand and perhaps show her some way to solve her problems. But like all old people, she’d gotten to talking about things that happened before anyone was born, things no one was interested in.

I have studied the American Civil War all my life. I despise Lost Cause mythologizing. Here, though, for the first time, I get it. I still don’t like it, but I understand it.

The Civil War is remembered very differently between North and South. That’s a consequence of losing. With a few Lee-inspired exceptions, the war never came into northern territory. That is not true with the South. Mitchell evokes the ravages of the war with incredible detail and emotion. There is a breathtaking scene set after Gettysburg, where everyone in Atlanta is gathering to see who lived and died. There are countless moments of terror, upheaval, hunger, and dislocation. There is a line about a mother whose soldier-children were gone, along with the future: “[She] said she never wanted a home again, for what was a home without children and grandchildren in it…”

This is extremely potent stuff. It moved me, and I’m typically pretty unmovable when it comes to the distortions of Civil War history.

And there are distortions.


“Tomorrow is another day.”

Scarlett’s famous motto, repeated like a mantra whenever things get tough.

Let’s play with that line. Let’s toy with the meaning. Tomorrow is another day.

What does that mean if you are an enslaved person, working on a cotton plantation like Tara, part of the gang-system, meaning you are up at dawn and work till dusk, and you have a quota that keeps rising, and you do this every day until you are too old to stoop? In such a marvelous triumph of the imagination, that thought never seems to have crossed Mitchell’s mind.

Tomorrow is another day, indeed.

Though for an enslaved person, it’ll be a lot like yesterday.


That’s my pivot to the thing we need to talk about when we talk about Gone with the Wind.

Early on, the racism is about what you’d expect from a book published in the 1930s. The field hands are entirely ignored, while the house servants are the stereotypical “happy slave,” proud to serve their white masters. Blacks speak in eye dialect, which is not only racist but frustratingly difficult to comprehend. The good white folk, of course, speak the Queen’s.

Nevertheless, Mitchell demonstrates interesting glints of comprehension. Scarlett and Rhett, for instance, are very forthcoming that slavery was the cause of the Civil War, which is something I can’t say for a lot of people I’ve met in the 21st century. This, I think, is a function of Mitchell’s time. She was close enough to the original Lost Causers that she didn't need to pretend the war started over state’s rights. It was okay to say it was about slavery, because slavery wasn’t a moral wrong to her. It was an institution worth defending.

Certain characters, such as Mammy, Pork, and Uncle Peter, are even given their dignity. They exist only to serve, but at least they are nominally treated as human. That’s more than any other black person in GWTW can say. The rest are referred to as trash, as loafers, as predators. Still, every time one of the characters exclaims that they have to “work as hard a field hand,” Mitchell is, perhaps unconsciously, acknowledging the cruelties of slavery.

There is always a question in fiction between the content and the message. A book’s content can be horrible without that being the message. Thomas Harris, for example, is not condoning cannibalism, just because he created Hannibal Lecter. When I read John Jakes’ North and South trilogy, which covers the same time period, I never worried (despite some questionable narrative choices) that Jakes was defending a system that legally removed the natural rights of four million men, women, and children. Here, though, I never trusted Mitchell’s moral compass. To the contrary, I think she endorses most of the questionable messages that Gone with the Wind propounds.

Specifically, things take a dark turn around the 600-page mark. This is the start of the Reconstruction sections, which last till the final page. Periodically, Mitchell inserts what I’ll call intercalary passages, similar to what Steinbeck did in Grapes of Wrath. These passages are written as objective fact. In reality, they are a funhouse mirror distortion of the tragic Reconstruction Era.

In Mitchell’s telling, the northerners and the blacks are the terrorists, rampaging across the defeated south, lynching, raping, stealing. Decent southern whites are rightly horrified by such things as: blacks getting to vote; blacks serving in the legislature; and horror of all horrors, miscegenation. The Ku Klux Klan is the heroic party, here. In his forward to my edition, the novelist Pat Conroy gently chides Mitchell for making the KKK into a “benign combination of the Elks Club and a men’s equestrian society.” That’s putting it too lightly. She makes them into the La Résistance (long before the French Resistance became its own tangled mythology). Mitchell’s inversion of history is stomach curdling. It was like reading Soviet or North Korean propaganda, where you witness a worldview tethered to nothing save a sick ideology.

One of the defining features of Ms. Mitchell’s bizarro Reconstruction is the murder of blacks for being “uppity.” This happens with frightening frequency, and is not only condoned, but celebrated. At one point, one of the novel’s most beloved characters casually admits to slaughtering another human being for the crime of effrontery while black.

This was published in 1936. Emmett Till wouldn’t be born for another five years. It would be 19 years before the teenager was beaten, shot, mutilated, and thrown into the Tallahatchie for the crime of speaking to a white woman. The jury deliberated just over an hour in acquitting the killers. It only took that long, one juror said, because they “stopped to drink pop.” Mitchell died before Till, meaning she had no way of knowing how her novel’s ugly leitmotif would manifest in real life. However, reading it today, the ghost of Emmett Till hovers over this rancid perversion of the historical record. The Reconstruction period removed the mask of “benign slavery” and showed it for what it was: a system built on race-hatred. A system built upon the specific premise that blacks were subhuman. After fighting black equality for a decade, Reconstruction ended, and the South unleashed 100 years of viciously unreconstructed apartheid.

As Brutus might say, I have come to contextualize Gone with the Wind, not to burn it. I’m not here to lecture GWTW-lovers about why they are wrong, because I’m one of the GWTW-lovers. That said, this is fiction, and it should be treated like fiction. More than that, it should be read alongside honest portrayals of the Civil War and Reconstruction.

Gone with the Wind is often discussed as a contender for that illusive title: the Great American Novel.

I’m not going there. I have gone on too long already. Instead I’ll finish with this:

Gone with the Wind is America, the sublime and the terrible in eternal, irreconcilable conflict.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,534 reviews9,935 followers
June 29, 2016
6/29/16 UPDATE: I have since watched the movie and although I really liked the movie, it doesn't hold a candle to the book. But you can imagine that a book this size can't be put into one movie sitting. And where the book made me cry a lot, the movie didn't.

I spent over 12 hours today finishing this book. 1037 pages! 1. Because I wanted to know what was going to happen! 2. I have no sort of life so I can do this from time to time.

I can not believe it took me so long to read this book! I didn't think it would be my kind of book and I have never watched the movie <---I did order the blu-ray on Amazon today because I have to see it soon! I must say that GOODREADS has been a blessing and a curse in this department. I have broadened my horizons since being on GOODREADS from reading books my friends are reading or have read and this is one of them. I would have missed out on this book!

This book has so many feels for me:

I invested so much into so many characters. So many characters that died, that I loved... ones that didn't even have much of a role in the story, I loved them. I thought this was just a love story around the war, but it's so much more. Dear God, Margaret Mitchell knew how to write a book about it all. No holds barred!

I have to make a small mention that I was born in Tennessee and it was so weird reading a bit part about Chattanooga (where I live now) in the book. I guess the biggest part was reading about the battle at Chickamauga, GA. I live 20 minutes from the Chickamauga Battlefield in Ga and used to hike it for many years with my dog and my father until things in my life went wrong. I have to say it's a most beautiful place with all of the land, wildlife, monuments, store, a lot of things. It's a lot nicer now that I would think back then during the war.

I had this love/hate relationship with Scarlett. I thought she was a spoiled, selfish person and the way she treated people and her own children were appalling. I loved that she was a crude business woman and just got it done. One of her slaves named Pork (who I loved) told her if she was as nice to white people as she was to black folk that the world might like her. But Scarlett didn't care, she said what she wanted and did what she wanted.

She didn't want to take care of Melanie when the soldiers were coming. She hated Melanie because she was married to Ashley, the man she always wanted. It was off the rails with all of that with him. Scarlet jumped right on the crazy train with that one and it cost her in the end. But Scarlet stayed with Melanie when she had her baby and got her to safety at Scarlett's home Tara. She took care of everyone in the family.. say what you want.. but -SHE.DID.NOT.LET.THEM.STARVE.



Hunger gnawed at her empty stomach again and she said aloud: "As God is my witness, as God is my witness, the Yankees aren't going to lick me. I'm going to live through this, and when it's over, I'm never going to be hungry again. No, nor any of my folks. If I have to steal or kill--as God is my witness, I'm never going to be hungry again."

Scarlett hated every moment of taking care of her family. Of worrying about others, but she did it. In a war that was senseless.

Margaret Mitchell told everything like it is, laid it out bare for us to cringe and hate and cry. So many things were so wrong, but it was what it was...

My favorite character was Melanie. She was such a kind soul, but she had her moments when she got her backbone on and told people like it was, and they respected her because of this kindness. She was married to Ashley and I thought she was going to die in childbirth but she lived through it. It wasn't her time yet.

I loved Scarlett's dad a lot - Gerald O'Hara. This is where Scarlett got her temper. But he was a funny man, a good man to his family and people and animals. I loved Mrs. Tarleton, Grandma Fontaine, Mammy, Uncle Peter.. there are so many I can't even name them all and like I said before some were only in the book a few times.

Scarlett married twice and had two children. She didn't care for children and she didn't care for her husbands, she just did what she did to get what she needed.

I had a love/hate relationship with Rhett too. Back in those days it was okay but he was a way older man taking up or trying to take up with a younger girl in Scarlett. But it wasn't just that he just got on my nerves with is comings and goings. I think if he really loved Scarlett for that long he should have told her and wooed her and then maybe things would have turned out differently. I have no idea.

Scarlett did have a child with Rhett as well. Things were all good in the home for a while and then things went way down hill....... It was sad to read, hard to read. I wish the ending was different, but it wasn't. It was an extremely sad ending for two different reasons and I won't give those away. I know most people have probably read the book or watched the movie a million times and already know but still. I cried and cried! :-(

This is a tremendously heartbreaking book, but I'm so, so glad that I read it!

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
Profile Image for Calista.
4,060 reviews31.3k followers
April 7, 2020
After 30 years, I have finally read this American Classic. Our family has stories about this book. My mom's mother read this story when it came out. My family inherited an outdoor glider from my great-grandmother who lived in Newport News Virginia and my grandmother sat on that glider couch one summer and read this book. I've heard this story most of my life. I have a dear cousin who claimed this story her favorite book from her teens till after college and I'm not sure about now. She must have read this book between 10 and 20 times at least. I remember thinking as a teen, how could someone, who was 5 years younger than myself read a book over a 1,000 pages long. It amazed me. I have many other family members who read this book and loved it. Well, now I'm among them.

My dad had a hardback copy of this book on his shelves and when I told him I wanted to read it, he gave me his copy. He has a 5000 book library in his house and he always puts his stamp on the first page that has his name and then he writes the date of when he begins and ends a story. I took up the practice myself and I love that. He started this story Dec. 23rd, 1996, but he never finished it. I started this on March 22nd, 2020 during the pandemic. It was nice to read something from his library.

This is the great American novel if there ever was one. It was Titanic before the movie Titanic was a big hit. A hug sweeping story set against the Civil war in Atlanta GA with characters to last through history. The story came out in 1936 and the movie came out in 1939 (I did see the movie) By 1939 it had sold over 2 million copies of the book and this was the time of the great depression when no one had much money.

This story romanticizes the South at the time of the Civil War. The historical events are correct and seem meticulously used in the story. The book shows the attitude of the South at this time; it is the perspective of Southerns at this point in time. I grew up in the South and never understood my culture, feeling like an outsider. Several times people asked me if I was from up north when they met me because I didn't fit in. This book helps me to understand the South in a way I never have. I have to say, all the people's attitudes about the South and the way they think are still going on strong today and it really is like the South is rising again to win the country(scary). This mindset is still alive in the country today and we are as divided as back in this time.

I love the characters in this story. Spending 1000 pages with them, I feel like they are walking, breathing people. I think one of my favorite characters in the history of literature is Melanie. I so love her soft strength and loyalty. She was a Trueheart. They are people that simply make the world a better place and she can only see only the good in people. She believes in people.

The end of the story got me and I cried so much. The last 50 pages are heart wrenching.

Scarlett, the famous Scarlett O'Hara is an Anti-hero. She is the villain of the story. She is shallow and doesn't really understand people while she is a master manipulator and so strong. I do admire her strength in this story. No one can put her down. I do love that Rhett helped to free her from the constraints of her society that she hated even if she didn't know she did, but she didn't have the self-character to stop herself from going too far or getting too brutal. She deadens her heart basically. By the end of the book, I simply hated her. In that final moment, the climax, where she finally figures out what she wants, I start to feel for her again and my hate gave way to pity for her.

Rhett is such a scoundrel, but he is fiercely honest and can not stand pretense. He knows Scarlett for who she really is and he loves her. He was hard and rough, but I always had a soft spot for him. He too could not accept the constraints of his strict society and he threw them off fiercely. I admire him. But the end breaks my heart for him. He is one of the best father figures I have seen. It is amazing to see him and Bonnie together. It is some of my favorite parts of the book to see his love transform him.

Melanie, seeming so mousey, but there is a strength of character no one else has in this book. She is kind to all and she ignores class and what others would do. She is kind to murderers, prostitutes and anyone that needs help. She always says what she means and she is the silent hero in this story, the one shining good person in this story. Rhett knows it and he has the utmost respect for her. She is the greatest character written on the page in my opinion. Scarlett gets all the attention, but Melanie is something else here. She is a true angel on Earth. She made the story and really it all hinged on her.

Ashley is the love interest for Scarlett, the beaux she can never have. He is a refined gentleman who knows nothing else in life and when his world collapses, he is nothing.

Scarlett has unrequited love for him the entire novel. She doesn't really see him, she only sees what she wants to see. This love only lives in her mind. She has made this man what love is and it blinds her to reality and she prizes herself for being so grounded in reality. She wants to understand Ashley, but she can't. She is too different and she only wants to change him to be who she wants him to be.

I'm sure most people know the gist of this story and they know the famous last line. The movies adds the word 'Frankly'. This is a love story, but it's a tragedy at the same time. The ending could not be more perfect. It is the most gut-wrenching, most painful, most perfect ending I have read.

I can only say that this novel is worth every word. I admit that pages 600-800 do drag a bit, but it's still interesting enough to keep going and it's worth reading. Everyone should read this book once in their lives. I was swept away in this story. It is simply a masterpiece. It is the American classic novel.

I have loved this book and I will be sad not to be able to visit with Melanie and cluck my tongue at the goings on of Scarlett. My heart still weeps for that ending. Oh goddess, I love this story. What an experience!! The movie is good, but it simply can't move you the way the book can. Rhett Butler is perfect in the movie and he was my picture in my head reading this.
Profile Image for Andy Marr.
Author 3 books774 followers
July 11, 2023
God's nightie! A thousand-page love letter to slavery!

I did not like it.
Profile Image for Tharindu Dissanayake.
287 reviews557 followers
August 7, 2023
Wait.. what? “The End”? Just like that after a 1000+ pages with little closure on so many things? Whatever happened to the good old closure?

That was one of the most emotional endings I’ve ever come across, bringing an end to what has been a phenomenal story in more ways that I can express.

But how to review it…
Of course, no better way than Scarlett’s signature move for everything:

”I’ll think of it all tomorrow. I can stand it then. After all, tomorrow is another day.”
Profile Image for Michael Finocchiaro.
Author 3 books5,630 followers
September 23, 2021

What an epic read! Mitchell’s white supremacist mentality aside, the characters of Scarlett and Rhett are sublime. I wonder if they are not the most selfish, egotistical characters in all of literature. Ok, so Rhett shows a bit of a human side in the end thanks to Bonnie, but for most of the book, he seemed to me as unscrupulous as Stendahl's Julien Sorel of the epic Le Rouge et le Noir. The unrequited and ultimately fruitless love of Ashley and Scarlett was torture throughout. It is one of those books where you want to scream at Scarlett for her actions over and over again. It also occurs to me that there would never have been a Sam and Diane had there not been a Scarlett and Rhett beforehand. The author did such a superb job of describing the inner life of her protagonists and highlighting this against their actions in the real world. The war scenes were gripping (despite an extreme pro-Confederacy bent) and the burning of Atlanta so well-described. I found it interesting that this all happens in the first 20% of the novel and the following 80% was about Reconstruction.

My second sentence generated some commentary, so I think I should set down my justifications a bit. I would base my phrase "white supremacist viewpoint" along four axes:
1/ paternalistic, condescending description of black characters
All of the POC in the book are described as mental children and/or sources of extreme, incomprehensible violence (the attempted rape of Scarlett is a big example). The characters that get slightly better treatment (Uncle Pete, Porc, and especially Mammy) are those who are submissive and grateful to their "employers". In general, they are never treated as equals or as humans, but rather as chattel and with no aspiration to humanity. True, as Jillian mentions in the comments, that Mammy does mention that she is free, but her comment is ignored and incomprehensible to Scarlett. There is not a single example of a solid POC character with a soul and a truly independent destiny.
Jillian points out below that Mitchell's real views were probably more nuanced, but the book clearly places a paternalistic or animalistic filter on all descriptions of POC.

2/ the revisionist description of slavery
Slavery is presented as a given, a necessary state for adapting white life in the South to a labor-intensive agrarian economy. There is no description of the violence of overseers (Jonas being a shitheel but an import from the North), no hint of the systematic rape of black slaves (producing generations of bastards, all missing from this description), and mocking derision of the release of Uncle Tom's Cabin when it is released and read by the characters.
Again, this is a comment on the book but also about the writer as if she wanted to, she could have presented alternative points of view (through, say, a minor character or something).

3/ defensive view of the Klu Klux Klan
The KKK is presented as a justifiable response to the post-Civil War chaos in the South and its participants are all described as heroes to the Cause. The only incidence of violence directly referred to was the revenge taken against the attempted rape of Scarlett (granted that she is saved by her ex-slave Big Sam) and nothing of the random lynching and domestic terrorism. True that Ashley tries to work against it, but even he is drawn in with Frank into Klan violence resulting in his being shot and Frank Kennedy, Scarlett's second husband, being killed.

4/ paens to the Lost Cause
Lastly, there are the passages particularly towards the end of the book, where the author will spend pages to describe the victimhood of Atlanta and Georgia in general with no counterpoint. It was particularly deplorable when she describes (with implicit agreement) the violent reaction to the fifteenth amendment (the right for POC to vote). It is not mentioned that the white planter class was justifiably disenfranchised as punishment for having broken with the Union in open rebellion. Never once does Mitchell give a sympathetic word for abolition, for Lincoln, or for anything north of the Mason-Dixon line. One could argue that she was being journalistic and detached, but these passages serve no purpose in the overall narrative and seem to me that they are the author's own viewpoint being overlayed on the story.
I think that the nuance here is in how characters react to the dissolution of the South:
"Well, this is the reason. We bow to the inevitable. We're not wheat, we're buckwheat! When a storm comes along, it flattens ripe wheat because it's dry and can't bend with the wind. But ripe buckwheat's got sap in it and it bends. And when the wind has passed, it springs up almost as straight and strong as before. We aren't a stiff-necked tribe. We're mightly limber when a hard wind's blowing, because we know it pays to be limber. When trouble comes we bow to the inevitable without any mouthing, and we work and we smile and we bide our time. And we play along with lesser folks and we take what we can get from them. And when we're strong enough, we kick the folks whose necks we've climbed over. That, my child, is the secret of survival." (p. 670)
This all sounds like the classic grifter mentality to me and Scarlett and Rhett are nothing if not grifters if we are honest: Grab what you can when you can. It is ironic that the speaker says that the south isn't stiff-necked because that is one of the most characteristic features of Southern thinking.
In one of Mitchell's monologues/harangues about the South:
With the Republicans in the political saddle the town entered into an era of waste and ostentations, with the trappings of refinement thinly veneering the vice and vulgarity beneath. Never before had the cleavage of the very rich and the very poor been so marked. Those on top took no thought for those less fortunate. Except for the negroes, of course. They must have the very best. The best of schools and lodgings and amusements, for they were the power in politics and every negro vote counted. But for all the recently impoverished Atlanta people, they could starve and drop in the streets for all the newly rich Republicans cared. (p. 914)
The argument "always the best for the blacks, and nothing for whites" has been the rallying cry for white supremacists even up to today. The "very best" not truly having been granted because they are still the poorest population in the South and in Georgia in particular. Of course, there were opportunists and grifters among the carpetbaggers, but let us not forget that both Rhett and Scarlett also took full advantage of the chaos to enrich themselves at the expense of the poor. There is even an exchange where Scarlett explicitly states that she prefers taking advantage of the poor because there is less chance of repercussions and they are there to be taken advantage of. I saw this as wanting your cake and eating it too.
I would also point out that the resistance to the black vote was especially present with the white women and that this racist viewpoint continued up to Mitchell's day (in the equivalent to Mellie's various sewing circles) in the struggle for suffrage in which white women wanted the vote at the expense of that of POC. I.e., since the 15th gave black MEN the right to vote, the suffragettes were fighting only for WHITE women's right to vote, not for women of color.

That isn't to say that there is not a lot of nuance in GWTW. There is an interesting commonality of antiwar sentiment in Ashley and Rhett - both are against the war but for entirely different reasons. For Ashley, he can't stand the violence and yet still goes off to fight from the get-go based on his romantic principles of fighting for the Cause and his lost colonial dream. For Rhett, he knows that the South will ultimately lose and decides to profit from the war as much as possible, only joining the Cause at the last gasp in Johnston's Tennessee campaign, abandoning a freaked-out Scarlett after fleeing a burning Atlanta (one of the most gripping scenes in the book!

The studio shooting the film burned dozens of old studios in Hollywood to make the effects as realistic as possible). There is also a lot of nuance in the way Scarlett and Ashley never quite become adults and how Scarlett is FINALLY aware of this towards the end (when it is too late), but Ashley never quite makes it over the hill to adulthood and even after losing Mellie, he remains unreachable by Scarlett.

The primary romance in the novel is, of course, the epic story of Scarlett and Rhett which takes several hundred pages to turn into a marriage and just one birth to turn into a fiasco. I did love the description on page 793 of Scarlett's honeymoon in New Orleans that despite loving the time there, she left without knowing anything about him. She is so egoistic and narcissistic that she can only see Rhett's love when it is truly too late and Rhett has to give her a dose of hard love with his famous line, "my dear, I don't give a damn."

However, I had forgotten the other leg of the love triangle between Scarlett and Ashley. I love this paragraph:
For a moment, his eyes came back to her, wide and crystal gray and there was admiration in them. Then, suddenly, they were remote again and she knew with a sinking heart that he had not been thinking about starving. They were always like people talking to each other in different languages. But she loved him so much that, when he withdrew as he had now done, it was like the warm sun going down and leaving here in chilly twilight dews. She wanted to catch him by the shoulders and hug him to her, make him realize that she was flesh and blood and not something he had read or dreamed. If she could only feel that sense of oneness with him for which she had yearned since that day, so long ago, when he had come home from Europe and stood on the steps of Tara and smiled up at her." (p. 499).
This is a nice resumé of the central contradictions in the novel: while Ashley says he loves Scarlett (implicitly for the most part admittedly), he really only wants her for a lover whereas when Rhett says he wants her as a lover, he actually loves her. It is this tension that vibrates throughout and makes it such an exhilarating read.

Another thing I found interesting was the fact that Scarlett was from a very Catholic family because today's South is so overwhelmingly Protestant/Baptist and so very anti-Catholic. And the 20th-century incarnation of the KKK was violently anti-Irish and anti-Catholic while upholding GWTW as a fundamental text. Let us not forget that overall GWTW sales in the US are only exceeded by those of the Bible. Oh, the irony.

It is truly the ambiguity in the characters and the extraordinary dialogs that make this such a great piece of literature, and that is why, despite my lengthy exposé above about the inherent white supremacy in the work, that I still could truly enjoy it as literature. It is an obvious classic that deserved its Pulitzer without reserve.

I haven't watched the movie in many, many years, but I do recall some of the more epic scenes and as I mention in a comment below, I think it has only been equaled in Visconti's adaptation of Il Gattopardo on the silver screen in terms of a 19c drama with costumes and balls. Not only that, but the background of Lampedusa's masterpiece is very similar: the characters in both live through a civil war that destroys their way of life and opens up a new era, and we get to observe how each of the protagonists copes with the new reality, whether they sink or swim. In both cases, the writing is superb and in both cases, the film versions are among the greatest films ever produced.

I just rewatched the movie and wanted to make a few comments. First off, Vivian Leigh is breathtaking throughout and Clark Gable shows a great character arc through the movie from debonair, devil-may-care pirate and womanizer to caring father to bereaved father and back to cynical loner again. The film cuts out Scarlett's babies with George and Frank and accelerates some events (Gerald dies much earlier), but essentially captures the primary events and best dialogs from the book. I think the film was even more racist than the book in some ways (certainly the scrolling text made me cringe at many points in the film), and yet they did not cut the scene where Scarlett gives Pork Gerald's gold watch and the scene where Scarlett confronts Ashley about his hypocrisy about opposing prison labor at the mill while having no qualms with slave labor. They also pass over the fact that Frank and Ashley are in the KKK on a raid on the fateful night after the attempted rape (this only hinted at by the expression on the white man's face, the director having decided for whatever reason not to have the black actor rip apart her bodice as in the book version - too shocking for an audience in the late 30s perhaps? The scene of Scarlett crossing the rail yard looking for Dr Meade when Mellie is giving birth and the subsequent scene of the flight from burning Atlanta are very impressive and emotional scenes. Lastly, the costumes, and in particular Scarlett's dresses (including the impromptu one from her velvet curtains that she makes to try to seduce an imprisoned Rhett to pay for increased taxes at Tara) are extraordinary.

For more reviews of Pulitzer winners (1919-1938 and 1969-2021, currently working on 1938-1968), see here: https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/1...
Profile Image for BookHunter محمد.
1,430 reviews3,342 followers
December 24, 2022

طموح المرأة و انتقامها و ذكائها و احتياجها دوما للحب و الحماية من خلال اسكارليت و اجواء الحرب الأهلية الأمريكية. الغريب أن هذا هو العمل الوحيد لمارجريت ميتشيل رغم عمقه و عظمته و شهرته
من أجل أي شيء نحارب؟ ليس من أجل الشرف والمجد طبعاً. ان الحرب شيء قذر, وأنا أكره القذارة. أنا لست محاربا, ولا أبحث عن الشهرة من فوهة المدفع. ان معظم الشقاء والبؤس في العالم قد نتج عن الحروب. وعندما تنتهي هذه الحروب لا أحد يعلم شيئاً عن سبب اندلاعها
كم أتمنى لو كنت متزوجة . فقد سئمت التصرف دائماً تصرفاً لا يتفق وطبيعتي , ومللت من التقليد الذي يفرض عليّ أن آكل قدر ما يأكل العصفور وأن أسير عندما أريد أن أركض . وأن أقول إنني أشعر بدوار بعد رقصة واحدة من الفالس , بينما أستطيع أن أرقص يومين متواصلين دون أن أتعب , وسئمت مداهنة الرجال والإعراب عن الإعجاب بهم , في حين ليس لهم من الإدراك نصف ما أتمتّع به . وتعبت من التظاهر بأنني لا أعرف شيئاً حتى أتيح للرجال أن يعلموني ويشعروا بالزهو والعظمة . لماذا يجب على الفتاة أن يبلغ بها الحمق درجة السعي لاقتناص زوج ؟
جميع الحروب مقدسة بنظر المحاربين , ولو لم يجعلوها مقدسة لما بلغ الحمق بأحد للذهاب إلى الحرب . ولكن مهما كانت الأسباب التي يتشدق بها الخطباء , فليس هناك سوى سبب واحد , هو المال , غير أن الرجال الذين يدركون ذلك قلائل , فالطبول والكلمات الجوفاء تقرع في آذانهم , والخطباء الذين يتشدقون بهذا الكلمات يبقون في بيوتهم , بينما يذهب الشبّان للقتال باسم الحرية
Profile Image for Hannah.
797 reviews
September 28, 2012
I don't like reviewing overly popular, classic books because let's face it, what more can be said regarding a book that 8,720 Goodreads reviewers haven't already covered, from 1 star through 5 star opinions?

So I'll just say that I read this novel for the first time when I was only about 14 years old. And re-read it, and re-read it, and re-read it again several times until around age 18. And then I never picked it up again until age 48 (that's 30 years of reading silence for those of you mathamatically inclined...) Between 18 and 48 is a huge gulf of life and living that might make a re-read a very disasterous endeavor, and I know for a fact that for a few of my GR friends, it was just that, and they regret replacing the youthful memories of this book with more mature ones.

I understand their feelings. I wondered if my own would replicate them. I'm glad to say that didn't happen in my case.

Not that GwtW is an easy book to digest in this politically correct era. It's hard to convey just how cringe-worthy at times a book written in the 1930's by an American Southern writer about the American South during the Civil War can effect modern sensibilities. You have to read it to believe it. The racism, the language, the attitude is all there in black and white (pardon the pun) and they can't be ignored. Those views, those attitudes existed, and still exist for many in this country and all over the world.

I don't condone it, but for me personally, I give most books written before 1960 a little handicap going into them. Not every reader can, and that's OK.

The continuing strength of Mitchell's epic novel is in her capturing of a feeling of loss to a period, a people and a place. Some would argue that it's good this era has crumbled into dust, and I'll not argue the point with them. But as a Southerner myself, I have a deep love and appreciation for my place of birth, and understand the pride and loyalty Southerners take in their homeland, because I feel it very much. Mitchell's saga isn't so much the love story of Scarlett and Rhett as it appeared to me as a teen. The real love story is Mitchell's to her homeland. Warts and all. The writing is so lovely, so authenic. The feelings and expressions ring true. The character of Scarlett O'Hara is, IMO, one of the best drawn character studies ever penned. I used to hate her as a teen, but as an adult I found myself cheering her on in places, and understanding her selfish motivations more then I could have ever imagined. What that says about me I don't know, but Scarlett is a fighter, and a survivor, and I've got to admire her tenacity if not her moral fiber.

This book is a masterpiece. A flawed, uncomfortable masterpiece. I'm glad I re-read it.

So after saying I didn't like writing reviews for books like this, I went and wrote one.

Just call me 8,721...
Profile Image for Glenn Sumi.
404 reviews1,585 followers
December 1, 2018
“God’s nightgown!”* How can I ever review the behemoth that is Gone With The Wind? Rather than write a traditional review, I’ve decided to organize my thoughts into separate sections.

*One of the many quaint and highly amusing Southernisms used in the book

I’d seen the film several times, and had always wanted to read the novel, if only to compare the two. Also: it won the Pulitzer Prize – so it had to have literary merit, right? And many people whose tastes I respect on this site love it. Then, while perusing my local library, I saw a brand new hardcover copy of the 75th anniversary edition, and that was my sign. I thought: As God is my witness, now is the time to read it. And read it. And keep on reading it. I renewed it several times. It took me well over a month to get through (albeit during a super busy time at work). But like Scarlett clawing her way back to Tara after the war, I persevered. And I'm so glad I did.

There’s everything in here. Immigration. Slavery. A brutal war and its aftermath. A moving romance. An examination of ethics and morality. There are big themes like money vs. love, passion vs. friendship, the old world vs. the new. And at its centre is one of the most complex characters in all of literature, Scarlett O’Hara.

She’s vain. Selfish. Petty. Culturally ignorant. She’s a terrible, terrible mother (the film only shows her with one child, Bonnie, but she has two other children from different husbands, and barely pays them any attention). She is deluded about her beloved golden boy Ashley Wilkes (at times the book reads like an Old South take on He’s Just Not That Into You) and doesn’t appreciate Ashley’s wife, Melanie, until the end. BUT: Margaret Mitchell makes us root for her. She’s a survivor. She’s a hard worker. She’s street smart. And ultimately, even though she complains while doing it, she helps her family. She doesn’t care about social niceties or appearances (unless they can help her); they won’t feed and clothe her and her brood. Her eye’s always on the bottom line. And if something’s not working out, she’ll ignore it and think about it tomorrow. She’ll find a solution. What. A. Character.

Swarthy, muscular, tanned, hairy, interested in fashion, well-travelled, super well-educated even though he was kicked out of West Point, Rhett Butler is a bit of a romance novel wish fulfillment type. And he always seems steps ahead of everyone else. But the dashing, enterprising blockade-runner is one helluva romantic lead. The evolution of his relationship with Scarlett is so carefully and artfully structured that the final 100 pages will make your heart ache. And what Mitchell got away from censors – the love-making on the night of Ashley’s surprise birthday party is pretty much rape – is incredible.

Reading this book in 2018 is often an uncomfortable experience because of the treatment of the African-American characters. The N-word and the euphemism “darkie” are all over the place. Few of the Black characters are given any agency or dignity, except Scarlett’s Mammy, and even she is often described in animal terms - compared to an old ape. There's a strange disconnect, too. Often the Blacks are described as lazy and loafing. And yet, Mitchell frequently has her characters working "as hard as a field hand." So who was lazy? Worse, in sections that are supposed to be written in some objective third-person narration (they provide lots of fascinating information, to be fair), Mitchell clearly sides with the Confederates. One chapter in particular, 37, was extremely difficult to read; it’s pure propaganda.

As a Canadian, I didn’t have to study the war in school, and what I know about it has been cobbled together from bits and pieces. The way Mitchell interweaves the war into the narrative is incredible. You see it from a macro and micro perspective. I’m very curious now and want to read other books, both fiction and non, about it.

I plan on rewatching the film in the next month or so, but I wanted the book to settle in first. Here’s what I remember about the differences: Besides leaving out Scarlett’s other two children, we don’t get Archie, an ex-convict taken in by Melanie, who becomes Scarlett’s driver for a time, and Will Benteen, a simple but hard-working man who helps run Tara while Scarlett’s away, but you can see why the filmmakers excluded them. One of the best minor characters is Grandma Fontaine, an embittered old woman whom everyone (including Scarlett) fears. She digs the truth out of Scarlett in a scene that is seared into my brain it’s so powerful. I also don’t recall anything about the Ku Klux Klan, and that Ashley and Scarlett’s second husband, Frank Kennedy, are part of it. Good call, filmmakers! Rhett’s determination that Bonnie be accepted by good society is much more pronounced than it was in the movie. And it’s interesting that Scarlett’s aristocratic mother, Ellen, was in love with someone else but married her husband, Gerald, in the same way that Scarlett, in love with Ashley, did with husbands 1, 2 and 3. That’s not in the movie, but it adds so much texture to the book, and makes you see patterns in human behaviour. (Also: Scarlett’s daughter, Bonnie, has inherited Scarlett’s and Gerald’s stubbornness.) And the book also features a fascinating motif of Scarlett having nightmares that is ingeniously integrated into the climax. That couldn't be done in the movie.

A flawed masterpiece about a flawed character and a flawed country that’s still, in some ways, dealing with the effects of this chapter in its history. The book features one of the most unforgettable characters and romances in the canon. I can’t give it anything less than 5 stars.
Profile Image for Judy.
Author 11 books183 followers
January 19, 2016
Having a hard time slogging through the blatant racism in this book. Times sure have changed. And thank God for that.

Okay, nearly forty years since I first read it, the epic love story set against the brutality of the Civil War still manages to sweep me up.

But the racism still wrankles, especially the glorification of the Ku Klux Klan--southern gentlemen had no other choice. They weren't bullies terrorizing people because of the color of their skin, they were protecting their women from the rapacious appetites of the newly freed slaves.

Mitchell says more than once that the blacks were like children and couldn't manage without whites taking care of them. There's a part in the book where she describes how Scarlett's mother Ellen would evaluate the Negro children, selecting the best and the brightest to be house servants. The others would be taught a trade and if they failed at that, they become field hands. As the best and the brightest of the race, the house servants were the ones who stayed with their masters, apparently aware of their own limitations.

And yet, this is a book about a strong woman who actively defies the strictures for women of her time. Scarlett runs Tara, she becomes successful at business, she bosses grown men around, even though she was taught that a lady must hide her intelligence and always appear subservient and helpless around men. Since they had little if any rights, that was the only recourse for women at the time.

I find it ironic that Ms. Mitchell never realized that just as the women were playing the role of fragile creatures subservient to the fathers and husbands, their black slaves were doing the same thing--hiding their abilities and intelligence because they had no other choice.

Something else, my daughter is reading GWTW and commented "Everybody dies." I explained that during the Civil War, 800,000 men died and just like the Tarletons, families lost all their sons. A good reason not to go to war.
Profile Image for Luffy (Oda's Version).
765 reviews757 followers
December 21, 2019
Review to come. So far this has been an engrossing read. I remember watching the movie an having mixed feelings about it, but the book has less of those moments when you are kind of exhorting the plot to stop plodding. It really puts into perspective how we are the products of our culture. This is definitely five-star material.

Finished the book finally. What a chunkster! What a story! The words kept coming, and I kept being riveted all the way. A slight complaint is that the main character Scarlet has too much grief to bear, and there's no respite for her. The last chapter took me 10 hours to complete. It was so unrelenting in tension. But people labelling it as a romance is sometimes a disservice. It's so much more. This large but singular book (Margaret Mitchell did not write a Go Set A Watchman) is viscerally yours to enjoy. That's it from me.
Profile Image for Zen Cho.
Author 56 books2,422 followers
July 3, 2011
Copied over from my blog:

I'd known this was racist in a vague sort of way, not remembering much about the book or movie except bosoms and swooning, but wow, I didn't know it was that mindblowingly racist. The people who wanted to cut the n-word from Huckleberry Finn should all get together and have let's-set-Gone-With-The-Wind-on-fire parties. Man, if they applied their efforts to Gone With The Wind they could probably cut the book short by about a hundred pages.

I should say I like Scarlett as a character and found all the romance and striving bits interesting in themselves, but the book is sick through and through. It was very much worth reading. It's a bracing reminder of the wariness one should have of any nostalgia for false Arcadias.

Highlights include:
- Former slaveholders reproving Scarlett for hiring leased convicts to work on her mills. When Scarlett points out they were happy to use slave labour, they respond that their slaves weren't miserable! Narrative agrees! It's like satire, but it's not meant to be!
- In hunger and trepidation near the end of the war, Scarlett vows to herself that one day there'll be food on the table, her clothes will all be of silk, and black hands instead of white hands will pick the cotton on her plantation.
- Scarlett's lowest point is when she collapses in a slave garden and -- urgh, this part is too gross for me to even write it out. Urgh, I feel gross just remembering the line.
- Noble gentlemen whose lives have been uprooted and world turned upside down are forced in the nobility of their hearts and the staunchness of their pride to start a little club called the Ku Klux Klan. But they were forced to it! They had the best intentions!
- Ludicrous scene where Yankees are shown to be super racist against the black people they purported to want to free from slavery, whereas Southerners are good because they love their slaves and treat them like children as they should be treated.

Reading this was like being transported to an alternate universe where up was down, red was green, sweet was bitter and racist shit was not racist shit but a ~beautiful ideal~. I actually started worrying towards the end that I was going to come out of the book a more racist person.

After finishing it I felt a violent urge to read nonfiction, so I'm now reading bell hooks' Where We Stand: Class Matters and the Andayas' History of Malaysia. The stuff on alluvial deposits is particularly comforting.

One star for Scarlett and for the un-put-downable quality of the writing (it's throw-at-the-wallable, but I was never bored -- just furious). I'd give an extra star for her dynamic with Melanie which I kind of love (but what does it say when Scarlett comes off as LESS racist than Melanie because she buys into the poisonous ideals of the Confederacy less?), but I gotta do something to pull down this four star average.
Profile Image for Vit Babenco.
1,461 reviews3,609 followers
October 27, 2022
Is it the stream of consciousness?
Oh, why was he so handsomely blond, so courteously aloof, so maddeningly boring with his talk about Europe and books and music and poetry and things that interested her not at all – and yet so desirable? Night after night, when Scarlett went to bed after sitting on the front porch in the semi-darkness with him, she tossed restlessly for hours and comforted herself only with the thought that the very next time he saw her he certainly would propose. But the next time came and went, and the result was nothing – nothing except that the fever possessing her rose higher and hotter.
She loved him and she wanted him and she did not understand him. She was as forthright and simple as the winds that blew over Tara and the yellow river that wound about it, and to the end of her days she would never be able to understand a complexity. And now, for the first time in her life, she was facing a complex nature.

It is the stream of snot.
Profile Image for El Librero de Valentina.
278 reviews20.5k followers
December 28, 2022
Uff ¿qué diré de este libro? Miren, me tuvo obsesionada durante dos meses, amé la historia, el contexto, las descripciones precisas de la autora, los temas que van desde: la Guerra de Secesión de EUA, el racismo, las tradiciones, el desarrollo de una sociedad hasta los increíbles diálogos entre los personajes, especialmente entre Rhett Buttler y Scarlett O’Hara. No es la historia de amor convencional y color rosa que uno pudiera pensar, todo lo contrario, sin embargo, me deja el corazón hecho pedacitos con ese final.
Profile Image for Magrat Ajostiernos.
580 reviews4,062 followers
April 7, 2018
Enamorada de esta novela y de sus personajes. Una historia épica y enormemente emotiva, con sus claros y oscuros, pero que te hace reír, sufrir, llorar y soñar como solo lo logran las grandes novelas
Pronto reseña en el canal ♡
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