Saturday, February 17, 2018
Reading Through the Classics: Gone With the Wind
AUTHOR: Margaret Mitchell
GENRE: Historical Fiction, Romanceish
PREMISE: Follow Scarlet O'Hara and her trials and tribulations as the South goes to war with the North.
MY THOUGHTS: I have...complicated feelings on Gone With the Wind. First, I'm going to address the elephant in the room: yes, this book is racist. Anyone tries to tell you it isn't, please side-eye them like hell for me. It absolutely is. I see all of you defenders about to go "but but but historical accuracy! That's why it's in there!" NO. If Mitchell cared about historical accuracy, she wouldn't have had a scene with black men leering at Scarlet in public. Guys, black men back then would never have done that. Because if you were a black man back then, and you so much as looked at a white woman wrong, you got killed. Racism is not in there because of historical accuracy. It is in there because Mitchell herself was more then likely racist. This was written in the thirties. Racism was a big thing back then.
Ultimately, that is what hinders this book for me. Mitchell's personal biases shine through like a beacon in this book. It makes an otherwise decent saga of a deeply flawed woman dealing with the stuff life throws at her the best way she can just tedious to get through. I am in the minority where I actually love the character of Scarlet. Yes, she is horrible. I won't lie to you and say she's actually secretly likable and you're just sexist or something if you hate her. No. She is an aggravating character and I one hundred percent understand if you don't like her. I am personally glad Rhett left her. But damn is she entertaining sometimes. Also, she's oddly inspiring at times, with how she goes on no matter what life throws at her. She endures. She's that character that I like, despite wanting to shake her half the time.
Writing wise, this book is not at all hard to get through. The writing is straight forward. The story is easy to understand. It's actually a very easy classic. It's just LONG and you have to have a lot of patience with it. You also have to mine through a lot of racism, and just willful ignoring of history that doesn't suit the author's worldview in it and believe me, that can get frustrating. There's a reason it took me two months to finish this. My best advice going into this is to have a lot of patience with it, because you will need it.
WHO SHOULD READ: those that don't mind dealing with racism in their classics, people with a lot of patience