Book Gadget v0.72

Friday, July 8, 2011

Go for it, Scarlett O'Hara!


Just this week I was re-reading Gone with the Wind, mainly to study the amazing character of Scarlett O’Hara.  I like to feature strong, independent women as the heroines in my own novels, and it’s hard to find a better role model than Scarlett!  She broke the rules, did whatever she wanted, did not care whether her actions were frowned upon by “proper” society.

Yesterday, a friend picked up my Kindle and noticed what I was reading.  “You can’t go wrong with classic literary fiction,” he remarked.   My wife overheard this and said, “Sorry to contradict you, but Gone with the Wind isn’t considered a literary classic—the highbrows look down on it, even today.”

I had forgotten that sad fact.  You won’t find a copy of Gone with the Wind in the libraries of very many literature professors.  When Margaret Mitchell wrote the book, her intention was to entertain, not to make any earth-shattering, philosophical statements about the meaning of life, or push a pet political agenda.  And—God's nightgown!—she certainly accomplished her goal.

We decided that in penning Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell did exactly what Scarlett O’Hara would have done in the same situation—she wrote the book she wanted to write, and the critics be damned!

Go for it, Scarlett!

11 comments:

  1. "I'll think about it tomorrow!"

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  2. Mike, I hope you had the opportunity to see the recent PBS original film, Margaret Mitchell: American Rebel. If not, you'll find it well worth your time:

    http://www.gpb.org/margaret-mitchell

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  3. I love this! Gone with the Wind is one of my favorite novels. It's fast-paced filled with drama, thrills and romance. It's hard NOT to think of it as a classic.

    Well, I guess the lit professors wouldn't have it in their libraries, but probably on their nightstands to read before bed instead.

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  4. Gone with the Wind has always been one of my favorite novels, and Scarlett my favorite heroine. Her 'selfishness' and willingness to do whatever it took to save what she loved makes her one of the strongest females I have ever come across. My 13 year old self cried and cried at the end of this novel, because even though she could be awful, I had come to love her and root for her success. Hopefully more professors, especially woman, come to realize that this novel does what every great book should do. It makes you believe in someone and something, even if your own beliefs do not align with the characters.

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  5. Mike, people will like what they like. And hate what they hate. But novels continue to be read regardless. You can't please everyone, but you can outlast them, like Ms Mitchell has done. The proof is in the trifle.

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  6. We just read GWTW for book club and everyone (well almost) LOVED it! Sometimes I wanted to shhh her but all the well I was prodding her to Go for It!

    Great analogy of Margaret Mitchell doing (in writing her book) what her great Heroine would have done. I totally agree! Don't we usually put a big slice of ourselves in our characters? ;)

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  7. Mike, love GWTW and love Miss Scarlett too. Mitchell did an incredible job of creating an entire world I wanted to float around in. It was the longest book I had read (I was 12 when I first read it), and I didn't want to see it end. Characters, plot, setting - winner all the way around.

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  8. I'm not sure what makes a book a classic. GWTW has withstood every test, but its popular themes and appeal seem to count against it. I loved it and have read it several times. Scarlett, as you said, is a great, strong woman, not always likeable but endlessly fascinating.

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  9. Here's one literature professor who tells his classes that not only has The Great American Novel already been written, it was written by a woman named Margaret Mitchell.

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  10. I was just talking with my husband about really memorable characters - the characters you can name even if you've never read the books or seen the movies based on the books. Scarlett O'Hara was #1 on our unscientific list. And the list was surprisingly short: Ebeneezer Scrooge, the Grinch, and Scarlett. I'd be interested to hear what other EPIC characters people can think of...?

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  11. Great post! GWTW is one of my favorite books! Go Margaret, go Scarlett:)!

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