Spoiler Alert! I will sort of give away the ending in this post…
For Christmas last year, I asked for a few novels I’d always wanted to read but had never gotten around to for one reason or another. One of the gifts I received was a copy of Gone with the Wind.
As an avid writer and reader, it almost seemed like I was doing the literary community a disservice by not reading this incredibly popular novel. So, I picked it up for the first time a few weeks ago.
Gone with the Wind is long. My copy was more than 1,400 pages, printed in a small font that fills each page in tiny lines. If you’re looking for an easy, weekend afternoon read, do NOT pick up this novel. It will take you a few weeks to get through – if not longer.
I managed to finish Gone with the Wind in under a week. I became engrossed with both the plot line and the characters. The “heroine” of the novel – Scarlett O’Hara – is the most evil, manipulative and unsympathetic character I think I’ve ever come into contact with in a novel. Everything she does is to advance her own self, and she marries three times for either money or revenge.
Even though Scarlett does do a number of heroic things throughout the novel – such as delivering her sister-in-law’s baby while the city of Atlanta is being ravaged by war, or continue working her late parents’ plantation despite the fact enemy soldiers keep tearing it down – there is always an ulterior motive for every action.
Rhett Butler – the man who infamously “chased Scarlett for twelve years” – is a love interest throughout the novel. The two do eventually marry, even though Scarlett made it quite clear that she didn’t love him when she said yes. Their relationships is tumultuous at best, and one can’t help but feel sorry for Butler. Scarlett plays him just like she plays everyone else, and by the end of the novel he finally had enough.
If I were Rhett, I would have left Scarlett to her own devices early in the novel and tried instead to find myself a nice girl who actually appreciated me. But, it wouldn’t be much of a love story then, would it?
I did some research about Gone with the Wind before I started reading it. In America, the novel is the second most-read book after the bible. Margaret Mitchell became instantly famous when it was published, and her popularity increased even further a few years later when a feature film of the same name came out in 1939.
If you are one of the people who have avoided Gone with the Wind in the past due to its size, I urge you to give it a try. The novel isn’t for everyone, but if you like reading about war, love, turbulent times and broken hearts it is definitely a novel for you.
Did you know? Gone with the Wind was published in 1936 and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1937 – not bad for Mitchell’s first full-length book…