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Gone with the wind

September 21, 2014

gone with the wind

Even though you might not be aware of it, you must have already heard  of Gone with the wind. This novel, considered as a “classic” of American literature was written by the talented Margaret Mitchell in 1936. It evokes Scarlett O’Hara, a young woman who lives in the south of the United States (near Atlanta). She is renowned for her beauty, and as a consequence many men want to marry her. She could choose any of them, except one: Ashley Wilkes. Obviously he is the only one that she wants. During the whole book, she does everything she can in order to seduce him (even marry another man). During this quest towards love, the young woman faces many hardships, including the Civil War (which brings sorrow, insecurity and poverty) and a man called Rhett Butler.

I read this book a few years ago, because I had heard about the plot and it seemed like the kind of  story I would enjoy. However, when I held this huge book in my hands I was not so sure whether I would ever find the courage to read the whole book (indeed, it is more than a thousand pages long) !  I started reading, and although I was sometimes bored by the amount of war descriptions, the novel fascinated me. I really enjoyed Scarlett’s strength and courage, Melanie’s goodness and Rhett’s cynicism. The disillusionment Scarlett faces about Ashley made me realize that sometimes, dreams can be blinding.  This reading had many advantages: it was entertaining, and helped me learn about the USA: the Ku Klux Klan, the Civil War, and American society in general are well depicted in that novel. The most enjoyable part was the ending: it conveys hope and it’s one last proof of Scarlett’s determination. It made me realize that a major theme of this book was time: even if they are meant to be, Scarlett and Rhett never succeed in loving each other at the right moment which prevents them from knowing happiness. Moreover, the open ending leaves an important place to imagination: as an optimist, I believe that Scarlett eventually succeeds in getting who she wants.

gone with the wind filmThe famous book was turned into a movie in 1939: I also watched the movie (after reading the book) because I had become obsessed with the story. The movie was shot during Hollywood’s golden age: the actors (especially Clark Gable) are made for their roles and in spite of the movie’s age the special effects still work. However, some interesting parts of the plot are totally inexistant which is a shame, in spite of that lack the movie is still really (perhaps even too) long.

As a consequence, I would really advise you to read it if you haven’t done so yet, rather than watching the movie. This book belongs to the tiny list of stories that changed something in me: I became aware of the fact that many things in life are a matter of timing, and also that even in the darkest moments you may experience you still can be hopeful for the future. To put it in a nutshell: thank you Margaret Mitchell!

Nina

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