Friday, May 30, 2008

Guest Blog--Tara. Home.

I can hear the music playing as Scarlett O'Hara looks across the horizon and utters those few words. I have watched the film Gone with the Wind several times in my life. Each time the ending credits play, I breathe a deep sigh of remorse that the over two hours of film has ended.

I don't know why it took me this many years to read the novel (maybe it was the 1000 pages), but I'm glad I finally did it. I LOVE Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind. Not only do I have a major crush on Captain Rhett Butler, the rogue entrepreneur from Charleston with a shady past and ungentlemanly ways, but I love the detailed history of the Civil War.

I've always had a love for the history of this great American war, so it was very interesting to hear the political views leading up to the war, the battles during, and later on the reconstruction, all from a Southern perspective. It was a thrill to read about these historic battles and to know I had visited and walked on the same ground. As I reflected on my visits, I was saddened to think of a whole generation of men wiped out within one battle and to wonder what the world would be like now if the Civil War had never occurred.

Although Scarlett O'Hara can be frustrating because she thinks more with her change purse and less with her heart, I believe she is a feminist before her time. Scarlett lives in a time when women are supposed to be beautiful, dumb, and show no interest in "manly" matters of business or politics. Scarlett is shunned by Southern society because she is strong, speaks her mind, and runs a successful business. Her downfall is that her motives for doing so are fueled by pride and greed. It is difficult for the reader to pity Scarlett based on her actions and choices.

I feel Mitchell's first novel is miscategorized as a story for female readers. Yes, there is romance and yes, I do love Rhett Butler (wait, did I already mention that?), but there is so much more to this epic. After discussing the novel with my husband and impressing him with my new Civil War knowledge, he was tempted to dive into the thousand-page read himself.

My vast knowledge of the South during this time period was useful as I recently ran into some Confederate soldier reenactors and discussed the daily hardships a Southern soldier faced. Little did they know that I was neither from the North nor the South but from the Wild West. They would have been shocked.

4 comments:

Blogger said...

Where did you meet the reenactors? DC? Virginia?

Blogger said...

By the way, I have always been too intimidated by the length. I started Gone with the Wind in high school and just couldn't make it past the first few chapters.

The Aspirant said...

We met the reenactors in Farmville, VA. There was a "The Best of Central Virginia" carnival so we stopped to eat some good carni food. Of course Will had to ask the reenactors questions and then someone asked if they could take a picture of us with a reenactor. We said yes and the man said, "Nothing like being proud of your heritage." Too bad it's not our heritage. Our picture is probably in some Descendents of the Confederates newsletter. Awesome.

notaconnoisseur said...

If only Rex had been there to be in the picture with y'all.