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Lolly
06-18-2007, 04:34 PM
There were several posts about this novel in another thread, so I thought I would give it a thread of its own. :) Anybody else love this novel like me? Or hate it? Here is something I put in the other thread.


"I heard an author say once that Melanie is the real heroine of GWTW, because she's the one who grows and changes throughout the novel, while Scarlett's personality remains the same. I hadn't thought about that before, but you could make a case for it. At the beginning, Melly is so timid she "wouldn't say boo to a goose," but later she stands up to the Yankees and Atlanta society. The only real change that happens to Scarlett is that she goes from hiding her personality to flaunting her arrogance after marrying Rhett. Her basic personality never changed, though."

Thoughts?

Also, I heard that somebody had written a "prequel" to GWTW, where Rhett was actually in love with a slave. Has anybody heard of it? Was it good or terrible?

Or the official sequel, Scarlett by Alexandra Ripley. I bought it when it came out all those years ago, but I regretted it. I thought it was terrible.

DebMcTexas
06-18-2007, 05:15 PM
I love GWTW. A history teacher recommended it to me when I was in seventh grade and I read it a dozen times before I finished high school. I fell completely in love with Rhett Butler.

Melly is the only one who changes. The South changes, too.

Scarlett is like Capt. Jack Sparrow in the Pirate movies. He is who he is the entire way through. That's why we love them.

Although, I've often looked at Scarlett as a 'good' role model--of what I don't want to be--I do admire her grit and courage. She never quit and she was willing to work hard for what she wanted. If her ethics were questionable, it only serves to show us her humanity.

I've never heard of a pre-quel. I think Margaret Mitchell gives us lots of clues about Rhett's earlier life. He and Belle Watling having a son together, for example, is hinted at. I would like to know more about him.

I'm with you on the sequel. I read one page in the bookstore and slapped it closed. The author, IMHO, didn't have Scarlett right--and if Scarlett is not right, the book is a wash. Everything I've heard since convinces me I made the correct decision. LOL

I recently re-read GWTW and decided that Scarlett never gets Rhett back. In fact, based on the horrors she has been through, I think Scarlett goes quietly mad. She lives out her life at Tara. Rhett provides for her care and comfort, visiting her a few times a year.

And loves her until the day he dies.

Oh, to write one book with such characters and detail!!!!! There's a goal for me.

scarletpeaches
06-18-2007, 05:17 PM
I don't think Melly changes at all. She always has an inner strength and loyalty.

Scarlett changes. It takes her to the last chapter, but she changes.

Sandy J
06-18-2007, 06:07 PM
I don't think Melly changes at all. She always has an inner strength and loyalty.

Scarlett changes. It takes her to the last chapter, but she changes.


Agreed on Melanie.

On Scarlet, however, I think she stays the same hedonistic woman who wants what she cannot have.

mscelina
06-18-2007, 06:29 PM
I'm with scarletpeaches on this. Scarlett at the beginning of the book is exactly as she's described: sixteen, vain, shallow, self-absorbed to the point of annoyance, with a thin veneer of what qualified as Southern breeding instilled upon her by her mother and Mammy so she could accomplish the single goal of 'catching a husband.' She's sitting on the doorstep of a momentous event that changes the course of her country's history and all she can think about is the barbecue, catching Ashley, and how to force her own fulfillment.

She changes throughout the book in many, many ways. Oh, sure--that selfish willfullness remains intact, but as the war and then reconstruction continues, Scarlett's priorities subtly change. She gains the courage to gradually lose that imposed shell of civility in favor of a more straightforward approach to life. Her priorities change. Yeah, I know the "I'll never be hungry again" line looks like great cinema but think of the implications of it. If she were truly still so self-centered, why not go to Atlanta and hook up with a rich Yankee officer? That would truly be the easy way out! For a girl who didn't care about the war before it started, the siege of Atlanta and consequences of the Yankee occupation solidify her resolve to make it--and to take her family and the former slaves and Tara with her. Never once does she consider NOT taking on the resonsibility of her people. Sure, she tries to convince Ashley to run away with her, but we all have moments of weakness. Immediately after that, when Wilkerson shows up to make an offer for Tara does she think for a second about taking him up on it? No. Instead, she marries Frank and takes him and Pitty on too--dragging the whole clan into prosperity whether they want it or not. By the end of the book, she is a formidable woman. She's discarded the role of her upbringing, supported her family, created a successful business...all indicative of a deep character change. Her tragic character flaw throughout the book is her inability to recognize her own emotional needs--towards Melly, Ashley, Rhett, and her children--until it is too late. Even as she's trying to come to terms with it, she loses everything that is actually the most important to her and that is the brilliance of Mitchell as a writer. She leaves it to the reader to decide what Scarlett's ultimate fate is, and for almost 70 years we have debated it. If Scarlett hadn't changed throughout the book, if she hadn't become a character that we all developed if not a love for at least an unreserved respect, we wouldn't care. :)

Jersey Chick
06-18-2007, 06:36 PM
Scarlett changes in that she learns to rely on herself when she returns to Tara. She's still selfish and vain, but she does what she has to in order to keep Tara. From then on, she doesn't wait for the husband to take care of her, but does for herself. She learns she has an inner strength she never knew possible, but she figures out the rest of it a little too late - like that Ashley's a big weenie and Rhett's really the perfect one for her.

The sequel was horrible. Horrible. HORRIBLE. Ugh - I read it (got it as a gift) and when I finished, I wanted to throw it across the room. It's scary to think that of all the propective writers who threw their names in to the mix, that this book was the best of the bunch. Yuck.

Sandy J
06-18-2007, 06:51 PM
The sequel was horrible. Horrible. HORRIBLE. Ugh - I read it (got it as a gift) and when I finished, I wanted to throw it across the room. It's scary to think that of all the propective writers who threw their names in to the mix, that this book was the best of the bunch. Yuck.


It was dismal, wasn't it?? :mad: One of the stories I really wished I could have the hours I wasted reading it back to spend on more productive activities.

scarletpeaches
06-18-2007, 06:53 PM
It took me 6 weeks to get through it. And I read GWTW itself in about a week. I've read it three times and I always whizz through it. I utterly, utterly adore the book.

aruna
06-18-2007, 07:24 PM
I agree with those who say Scarlett changes. An dI too love the book. Never even attempted to read the sequel. I;d liove to write it, though! Escept I couldn't. It's one of those books where you have to be seeped in the location to be able to write. But DWTW is the prototype of the kind of books I would like to write, except in another location. Bit, dripping wioth srama and emotion and full of histoy and the character of a place. I love it!

In fact,. I recently described one of my unpublished mss to my agent as a "post-colonial Gone With the Wind". I love that tagline, and so did she!

Gillhoughly
06-18-2007, 07:28 PM
I must have read that book 6 times between the 6th & 7th grades.

Tried the exploitative sequel. What a train wreck. Closed it up soon as I read the cover blurb. Ugh.

For a very sardonic and hilarious look at the exploitative sequel syndrome, please read Elizabeth Peter's Naked Once More (http://www.amazon.com/Naked-Once-More-Elizabeth-Peters/dp/0446360325/ref=sr_1_1/002-1433808-6348055?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1182179731&sr=1-1).

Her MC is picked to write the sequel to a legendary bestseller and ends up solving the mystery of the original writer's disappearance/death.

Peters spares none in her jabs at the publishing industry.

Aspiring writers get a very funny and educational look at the other side of the fence!

This is a sequel to her hilarious poke at romance publishing, Die for Love (http://www.amazon.com/Die-Love-Elizabeth-Peters/dp/0380731169/ref=pd_sim_b_1/002-1433808-6348055?ie=UTF8&qid=1182179731&sr=1-1).

At the time Die For Love was originally published, Clan of the Cave Bear was the big noise on the bestseller lists. Peters does an insightful send up of it, including a laugh out loud visit to a romance convention.

It's worth the price of the book to read her description of the grand entrance of a Barbara Cartland-based character.

Dear heavens, no one wants to see a 80+ dumpling-shaped frump dressed in layers of Cabbage Patch Doll fluffy pink chiffon.

Not ever. :eek:

Claudia Gray
06-18-2007, 07:30 PM
I've read GWTW more than 100 times, and if anything, that's a conservative estimate. Granted, most of these readings took place in junior high and high school, when I was borderline obsessed with it (the way teenagers sometimes get about things), but I've made a point of reading it at least every year since then. In terms of construction of a popular novel, I think the book is nearly flawless.

It's not flawless overall -- it's very racist, and it's somewhat sexist, and the battles of the Civil War are scheduled in a very bizarre way that doesn't map onto real history at all. But Mitchell creates vivid characters (from Scarlett and Rhett down to people like Cathleen Calvert and Phil Meade), effortlessly handles plot and character development for more than 100 individuals, has an incredible handle on creating rich atmosphere without dragging down the pacing and -- IMHO most brilliant of all -- knows how to create a 'set piece," a blockbuster scene that bowls over the reader and ensures they'll talk to friends. Rhett bidding for Scarlett at the ball while she's a widow -- the burning of Atlanta -- the shooting of the Yankee -- Scarlett attempting to seduce Rhett while he's in jail awaiting hanging -- Scarlett walking into Ashley's birthday party in a sexy gown -- every single one of these would be the highlight of any other novel, and there are something like ten of them in GWTW! And none of them feel contrived, either; every single moment rises naturally from the story, as though it were not only plausible but inevitable. <i>That's</i> craft.

To the question of who changes in the book -- actually, very few of the characters change dramatically overall. They all get older, and to some extent mellower, but only Rhett shows any real evidence that he may have become wiser. (And even in his case, he may only have become more bitter.) Scarlett does mature -- she could hardly fail to, having been only 16 when the book begins -- but the final chapters of the novel show her attaining only the first glimmers of true self-awareness, and she famously casts that aside at the end. She ignores all the solid, sane reasons that should tell her she's lost Rhett forever, declares that tomorrow is another day, and keeps on going.

This is sort of her tragedy and her triumph, in the end: For me, the theme of GWTW is that every human being has a breaking point. (Will Benteen makes this explicit at Gerald O'Hara's funeral.) Every single person, no matter how smart or strong, has something they cannot lose without becoming hollowed out inside. For Ashley, the loss was the genteel, sheltered existence he had before the war. For Gerald, it was Ellen. For Rhett, it was Bonnie. Only Melanie and Scarlett aren't destroyed -- Melanie, because her body gives out, and Scarlett, because at the end of the book she lifts up her head and refuses to be beaten. It's this strength that makes us love her, despite the fact that she's a genuinely unpleasant human being.

Oh, I could go on about this book forever. Must stop.

scarletpeaches
06-18-2007, 07:32 PM
I don't get the allegations of racism and sexism. It's a novel of its time. That's how people were in those days. We can't judge the 19th century by the standards of the 21st, otherwise it would be sanitised out of all authenticity.

CatSlave
06-18-2007, 07:39 PM
I must have read that book 6 times between the 6th & 7th grades.

Tried the exploitative sequel. What a train wreck. Closed it up soon as I read the cover blurb. Ugh.

For a very sardonic and hilarious look at the exploitative sequel syndrome, please read Elizabeth Peter's Naked Once More (http://www.amazon.com/Naked-Once-More-Elizabeth-Peters/dp/0446360325/ref=sr_1_1/002-1433808-6348055?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1182179731&sr=1-1).

Her MC is picked to write the sequel to a legendary bestseller and ends up solving the mystery of the original writer's disappearance/death.

Peters spares none in her jabs at the publishing industry.

Aspiring writers get a very funny and educational look at the other side of the fence!

This is a sequel to her hilarious poke at romance publishing, Die for Love (http://www.amazon.com/Die-Love-Elizabeth-Peters/dp/0380731169/ref=pd_sim_b_1/002-1433808-6348055?ie=UTF8&qid=1182179731&sr=1-1).

At the time Die For Love was originally published, Clan of the Cave Bear was the big noise on the bestseller lists. Peters does an insightful send up of it, including a laugh out loud visit to a romance convention.

It's worth the price of the book to read her description of the grand entrance of a Barbara Cartland-based character.

Dear heavens, no one wants to see a 80+ dumpling-shaped frump dressed in layers of Cabbage Patch Doll fluffy pink chiffon.

Not ever. :eek:
I second the motion!
Barbara Mertz/Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters books are always an entertaining read, especially these two.
Delicious fun for the romance writers crowd.

stormie
06-18-2007, 07:43 PM
It's not flawless overall -- it's very racist, and it's somewhat sexist, and the battles of the Civil War are scheduled in a very bizarre way that doesn't map onto real history at all.
I agree, but this was written in the 1930s.
Also, the book wasn't written as a study on the Civil War nor the morality--or rather lack of--of slavery, nor a commentary on the differences of the sexes. That said, it was a good read and well-written, drawing the reader into the story where it was hard to put down.

But Mitchell creates vivid characters (from Scarlett and Rhett down to people like Cathleen Calvert and Phil Meade), effortlessly handles plot and character development for more than 100 individuals, has an incredible handle on creating rich atmosphere without dragging down the pacing
Yes. Exactly!

Jersey Chick
06-18-2007, 08:08 PM
It's sexist and racist by late 20th, early 21st century standards, but not by it's setting or even it's publication date. The idea of races and sexes being "equal" is a fairly recent one. Back in the 30s, there was still segragation and women had only barely entered the work force.

Supposedly, Rhett's character was based on a real person in Margaret Mitchell's past (I can't remember if he was a husband or a boyfriend-type person.) I'd love to know what her thoughts on that godawful sequel would have been. Of course, if that were possible, I don't suppose there'd be a sequel, though.

For me, the biggest problems were that the Ripley version's characters were flat and stereotypes. There were huge contrivances in the plot, and it felt too modern to be taking place in the late 19th century. Not to mention, even though I loved the characters in GWTW, they bored the hell out of me in the sequel.

PattiTheWicked
06-18-2007, 08:13 PM
I always wanted to know more about Belle Watling. When I was about twelve I wrote a short story about what happened to Belle after the war -- she and her son went out west, settled in a mining town, and opened up a saloon and made a fortune. Rhett Butler sends money occasionally.

My teacher said it was nicely done, but inappropriate to write about a whorehouse in sixth grade.

stormie
06-18-2007, 09:09 PM
I always wanted to know more about Belle Watling. When I was about twelve I wrote a short story about what happened to Belle after the war -- she and her son went out west, settled in a mining town, and opened up a saloon and made a fortune. Rhett Butler sends money occasionally.

My teacher said it was nicely done, but inappropriate to write about a whorehouse in sixth grade.
Ah, but it showed you had a great imagination!

scarletpeaches
06-18-2007, 09:10 PM
Imagination isn't really encouraged in school. At least, no school I ever attended.

lkp
06-18-2007, 09:42 PM
I loved GWTW, but I read it only once many years ago. I should reread it again some time. It was certainly a prodct of its time in a way that makes it a document of attitudes in the 1930s as well as a novel about the Civil War.

I closed the sequel when the narrator began explaining how really the slaves enjoyed being slaves, especially the house slaves, and slavery wasn't such a bad system after all. I preferred Mitchell's version of racism, which at least allows the reader to make up her own mind, to the sequel's apologetics.

Claudia Gray
06-18-2007, 09:49 PM
It's sexist and racist by late 20th, early 21st century standards, but not by it's setting or even it's publication date. The idea of races and sexes being "equal" is a fairly recent one. Back in the 30s, there was still segragation and women had only barely entered the work force.




Was it outageously sexist and racist by that era's standards? No. but that doesn't make it an unfair thing for us to say about it now. I am a huge, huge fan of this book, and I honestly do study it as a way of studying how popular fiction can and should be written, but that means looking at the flaws as squarely as I do the virtures.

Also, it's not like everyone in the 1930s was blind to the ideas of gender and racial equality; a lot of people were working very hard even then to get us where we are today. It's not like nobody knew any better back then. Mitchell mythologized a way of life that didn't and doesn't deserve that mythology; I enjoy the story thoroughly, but the only way I can do so is by acknowledging where it's genius and where it's, well, sadly short of genius.

scarletpeaches
06-18-2007, 09:52 PM
But why should she write a book according to 1930s standards when it was set 70, 80 years before that? The characters in her book acted in ways that were true to that time, not to the 1930s or any other decade but their own.

Ol' Fashioned Girl
06-18-2007, 10:53 PM
Slavery/racial issues weren't the focus of MM novel. She wrote her book with as much accuracy to the setting as necessary to tell her story. It might be different if MM was writing about Mammy or Prissy or Pork, but she wasn't... if it's 'racist', it reflected the time.

As for the sequel... Oh. My. Gods. What a waste of paper and ink. And the TV movie! If anything, it was worse. All copies of both book and movie should be burned.

mscelina
06-18-2007, 10:57 PM
You sort of have to keep in mind that Mitchell was brought up on stories of the romanticized South. The Association for the Beautification of the Graves of the Glorious Dead really did exist...scary though that thought may be. She is the child of a generation brought up on stories of the war, she was one of the children who sat on grandpa's knee and learned almost verbatim the "If Stonewall hadn't died" "If we could have kept Atlanta" the ifs ifs ifs of the Civil War in all its refought battles. In a certain segment of Southern culture the antebellum ways of life were preserved and cultivated--the Old Guard's last ditch efforts to retain prominence. I think Mitchell's goal was to accurately portray the roots of theanachronistic behavior that still existed in the thirties.

I read a biography of Mitchell once and was absolutely stunned/horrified at how many of these episodes in GWTW she'd taken from old family papers and stories. What takes it from biographical to brilliance is her approach. She was the daughter of a suffragette. She really wrote the story from that POV. If you're looking at GWTW today come at it from another angle. The novel is set in the America of the 1860s and 1870s--and written by a woman from one of those Old Guard families in Atlanta in the 1920s and 1930s. Applying our agendas onto that would be an injustice to the work. Certainly can't accuse good old Dickens of gender tolerance! Mark Twain was absolutely not a member of the NAACP. I think GWTW is anything BUT sexist. I find it the direct opposite. As for the racism angle, we have to keep the time GWTW was written in consideration. When Hattie mcDaniel won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for GWTW, she wasn't even allowed to sit on the floor with the other nominees or use the same restrooms. Taken from that perspective, GWTW is a reflection not only of the era in which its set but the time in which it was written. *grin* not every generation had the benefits we did.

scarletpeaches
06-18-2007, 11:00 PM
I wouldn't want to read a politically correct edition of GWTW anyway. Authenticity is far more important in novel writing than avoiding causing offence. I couldn't give two hoots who I offend as long as my writing is authentic.

And if I ever write a book with one tenth of the power of GWTW, I'll die a happy woman.

Gillhoughly
06-19-2007, 12:18 AM
Cheers to Hattie, a most brave woman.

I saw a recording of her acceptence speech, which had the phrase "credit to my race."

It makes us cringe now, but it would have gotten her hanged in some parts of the country.

I have always admired her reply when someone asked why she remained in Hollywood playing typecast maid roles. "I'd rather make $700 a week playing a maid than earn $7 a day being a maid,"

And--

"I'm letting no man handle my bank account."

Amen, sister.

Jersey Chick
06-19-2007, 12:42 AM
But why should she write a book according to 1930s standards when it was set 70, 80 years before that? The characters in her book acted in ways that were true to that time, not to the 1930s or any other decade but their own.

No, that's not what I meant. What I meant was that in today's PC environment, I think a more sanitized version is what would've hit the shelves. But in that era, it wouldn't have been seen as un-PC.

It's like people who decry the racism and slavery in Huck Finn or Tom Sawyer. Yes, we look at it through our eyes and see that it might be construed as racism. But it's also realism and was accepted in that time period when Twain wrote it. Should we burn a book because it's politically incorrect in our time period, as opposed to the era in which it was written? No. Rewriting history from a PC standpoint does nothing to erase what happened, it just makes it possible for history to repeat instead.

That said, I love GWTW - I wouldn't change a word of it, though I wish Scarlett came to her sense a lot sooner. **sigh**

Jamesaritchie
06-19-2007, 12:44 AM
I don't think the novel is sexist or racist in any way at all. Just the opposite. Nor do I see the battles being out of time and place in any way.

As for who the hero/heroine is, change is highly overrated, something for critics to deal with, not readers. Whether a character should change depends on the nature of the character, and trying to make ever protagonist change is a major failing.

Having a protagonist learn from his experiences, mature as he ages and experiences is one thing, if done subtly, but trying to change every protagonist is one of Those Rules That Never Should Be.

Neither Melanie nor Scarlett changes in any real way, and neither does Rhett. But all three learn from their experiences, which is much more human and realistic than having them change who and what they are.

scarletpeaches
06-19-2007, 12:44 AM
It doesn't matter when a book is written, but when a book is set.

Even if GWTW was published today, not a word should be changed. That's how things were in the 19th century. Like it or not, there was racism. There was sexism. To sanitise that in the name of PC is to lie about what really went on then.

stormie
06-19-2007, 02:40 AM
That said, I love GWTW - I wouldn't change a word of it, though I wish Scarlett came to her sense a lot sooner. **sigh**
Yeah, esp. since when I first read the book at 15 (and had seen the movie already) Rhett Butler was Clark Gable. Ashley Wilkes, both as he was characterized in the book and the actor who played him in the movie, reminded me of a wimp. Not as bad as Scarlett's first husband, but still....

Jersey Chick
06-19-2007, 03:12 AM
It doesn't matter when a book is written, but when a book is set.

Even if GWTW was published today, not a word should be changed. That's how things were in the 19th century. Like it or not, there was racism. There was sexism. To sanitise that in the name of PC is to lie about what really went on then.


That's what I meant - I wouldn't change a thing about it. And to be honest, until this thread appeared, I never really thought about how anyone changed - I just love the story.

scarletpeaches
06-19-2007, 03:15 AM
Me too. It was no.1 on my list for so long until I read "I Know This Much Is True" but you know what? I think it's back up there and I need to read it again. I love that story. *sighs like a Southern belle*

Fiddle-dee-dee.

Jersey Chick
06-19-2007, 03:51 AM
Every time I finish reading (or watching - I adore Clark Gable in it, even though I read that Vivian Leigh complained that his breath was putrid **sigh**) GWTW, I am so inspired to sit down and write a Revolutionary War (my favorite era in American history) version of it. And I fail miserably every time... maybe it's time to try again :)

johnnysannie
06-20-2007, 05:08 PM
It doesn't matter when a book is written, but when a book is set.

Even if GWTW was published today, not a word should be changed. That's how things were in the 19th century. Like it or not, there was racism. There was sexism. To sanitise that in the name of PC is to lie about what really went on then.

Absolutely!

This idea of changing history to fit today's standards is very wrong. History is what it was - and if a novel is set in a particular time period no matter when it is written, it should reflect the true society of that time.

Sandy J
06-20-2007, 05:46 PM
Absolutely!

This idea of changing history to fit today's standards is very wrong. History is what it was - and if a novel is set in a particular time period no matter when it is written, it should reflect the true society of that time.


I agree wholeheartedly! Not only for litearture, but text books too. I hate when my school goes through textbook adoption. The history texts are tripe! Politically correct garbage. Some ignore major events like the Bataan Death March because the writers don't want to offend Japanese-Americans. :rant:

When I teach history, it boils down to me telling the kids -- often -- that people do stupid, cruel, ridiculous things. Our forefathers weren't demi-gods. People in the past were no different than people now. People have all the same flaws, regardless of the era.

Jersey Chick
06-20-2007, 05:59 PM
According to my high school History teacher, this was the Vietnam War -

Tet Offensive
Evacuation of Saigon.

WTF???

I hate revisionist history. You can't change things just to suit the PC police. What happened happened and that's how we're (supposed to) learn from the mistakes that were made. You can't simply gloss over the ugly parts. Grrrr.
:rant:

Sandy J
06-20-2007, 07:19 PM
According to my high school History teacher, this was the Vietnam War -

Tet Offensive
Evacuation of Saigon.

WTF???

I hate revisionist history. You can't change things just to suit the PC police. What happened happened and that's how we're (supposed to) learn from the mistakes that were made. You can't simply gloss over the ugly parts. Grrrr.
:rant:

Welcome to my world. I seldom use a textbook in my class. I use powerpoint on a huge screen. You'd be amazed what kind of pictures I've collected over the years. I refuse to be PC. If we were ridiculous -- ie: treatment of Indians or Japanese-Americans in WWII -- I put it right on the line. My unit on Vietnam shows the truth of what happened there -- from the French colonization to our backing France trying to retake Vietnam after the Japanese withdrawal in WWII to LBJ running the war like an enormous game of Risk.

Jersey Chick
06-20-2007, 07:50 PM
All I know about Vietnam is what my dad's told me - he did two tours and he doesn't like to talk about it all that much.

It's sad - I'm waiting to see what kind of spin is put on 9/11 and the mess in Iraq...

Sandy J
06-20-2007, 08:06 PM
All I know about Vietnam is what my dad's told me - he did two tours and he doesn't like to talk about it all that much.

It's sad - I'm waiting to see what kind of spin is put on 9/11 and the mess in Iraq...


The biggest problem is most people get their "history" from movies. I'd like to find Oliver Stone and give him a smack upside the head.

Southern_girl29
06-21-2007, 10:57 PM
My all time favorite book. I don't know how many times I read it. I do know that I first read it in the sixth grade and did a book report that year. My senior year, I took AP English, and when it came time to take the test to test out of English 101 and 102, I used GWTW as the basis for one of the essay questions. From sixth to 12th grade, I read it every year during Christmas break. I try to read it at least once a year now.

Scarlett does change. Can you imagine the 16-year-old girl at the beginning of the book being the same woman who hoed cotton, worked at a sawmill, etc. She was only concerned about catching Ashley Wilkes at the very beginning. Scarlett was selfish, but even so, she still took care of her family when she had to.

Lolly
06-27-2007, 01:12 AM
You sort of have to keep in mind that Mitchell was brought up on stories of the romanticized South. The Association for the Beautification of the Graves of the Glorious Dead really did exist...scary though that thought may be. She is the child of a generation brought up on stories of the war, she was one of the children who sat on grandpa's knee and learned almost verbatim the "If Stonewall hadn't died" "If we could have kept Atlanta" the ifs ifs ifs of the Civil War in all its refought battles. In a certain segment of Southern culture the antebellum ways of life were preserved and cultivated--the Old Guard's last ditch efforts to retain prominence. I think Mitchell's goal was to accurately portray the roots of theanachronistic behavior that still existed in the thirties.

I read a biography of Mitchell once and was absolutely stunned/horrified at how many of these episodes in GWTW she'd taken from old family papers and stories. What takes it from biographical to brilliance is her approach. She was the daughter of a suffragette. She really wrote the story from that POV. If you're looking at GWTW today come at it from another angle. The novel is set in the America of the 1860s and 1870s--and written by a woman from one of those Old Guard families in Atlanta in the 1920s and 1930s. Applying our agendas onto that would be an injustice to the work. Certainly can't accuse good old Dickens of gender tolerance! Mark Twain was absolutely not a member of the NAACP. I think GWTW is anything BUT sexist. I find it the direct opposite. As for the racism angle, we have to keep the time GWTW was written in consideration. When Hattie mcDaniel won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for GWTW, she wasn't even allowed to sit on the floor with the other nominees or use the same restrooms. Taken from that perspective, GWTW is a reflection not only of the era in which its set but the time in which it was written. *grin* not every generation had the benefits we did.


I wonder if we read the same biography? I can't remember the name of it, because I read it years ago. But I do remember it said there were still people who had lived through the War around during Mitchell's childhood, so she grew up on stories of the "glorious Old South."

About the racism, you have to remember that back in the 30's white people had no idea what went on in the minds of black people. In order to survive, black people had perfected the Uncle Tom and Mammy image. They kissed up to whites and told them what they wanted to hear. That's why there were a lot of surprised white Southerners when the 60's rolled around...what's really disgusting is that there are "historical" organizations today that still promote Mitchell's version as the gospel truth.

Lolly
06-27-2007, 01:22 AM
I loved GWTW, but I read it only once many years ago. I should reread it again some time. It was certainly a prodct of its time in a way that makes it a document of attitudes in the 1930s as well as a novel about the Civil War.

I closed the sequel when the narrator began explaining how really the slaves enjoyed being slaves, especially the house slaves, and slavery wasn't such a bad system after all. I preferred Mitchell's version of racism, which at least allows the reader to make up her own mind, to the sequel's apologetics.


OMG, I made the mistake of reading some other of Ripley's books. One of them was a romance that was basically a knock-off of GWTW, I think it was called Charleston. I would love to know when that thing was published, because it also presented Mitchell's view of race relations--happy slaves who then needed kindly whites to protect them from rapacious Yankees during Reconstruction. I remember gagging when I read it. I cannot believe anybody would have published it after the civil rights era. But then, they published Scarlett, didn't they? That publisher should be ashamed of themselves.

And why in the heck did Mitchell's heirs feel the need to create a sequel in the first place? Geesh, why mess with a legend?

As for the TV movie, gag me. If the novel was a waste of paper, the movie was a waste of film. I remember they had all that hype about finding "the next Scarlett." I bet that poor woman never worked as an actress again. :cry:

ElizaFaith13
10-20-2010, 07:19 AM
So I finally read the great American Novel.

First off, Scarlet O'Hara...she is so scandalous!! She almost had no redeeming qualities at all. Other then driving that wagon, and fighting off yankees

Second, the darkie slang...I'm sorry but when Mammy was talking I couldn't understand half of it.

Third, crapping ending...although great last liner. I was kinda mad that Rhett was done. It's like Tony & Angela all over again!


so can someone explain to me why this was such a huge hit? Granted the setting, descriptive detail and character development is great, but I can't say I was swooned by it. I understand that the time it was released was a huge factor, but other then that...

Renee Collins
10-20-2010, 08:36 AM
I'm a GWTW fan, both the book and the movie.

I love the characters. Yes, Scarlett is flawed, but I still admired her. She's smart, determined, and knows how to get what she wants. Same with Rhett. Personally, I like "gray" characters. Also, I believed their reactions and choices, even if I didn't agree with them.

blacbird
10-20-2010, 11:16 AM
At this point in history, we need to be warned about "spoilers" with Gone With the Wind?.

Just because I'm a mean SOB, I'll here issue some other spoilers:

1. Captain Ahab doesn't get the White Whale.
2. Tom Robinson is found guilty of raping Mayella Ewell.
3. Romeo and Juliet don't live happily ever after.
4. Frodo Baggins does manage to destroy the Ring.
5. Matters don't end well for Gatsby.

Damn, that felt good.

scarletpeaches
10-20-2010, 11:18 AM
I've never read LotR and probably never will, so thanks blaccy - you saved me the bother. I got 180 pages into it before deciding I wanted to kill myself rather than carry on.

Marian Perera
10-20-2010, 01:32 PM
I'm a GWTW fan, both the book and the movie.

It's my favorite novel. Scarlett is not only smart and strong-willed, but she defends whatever she loves (too bad she only loves Ashley and Tara). She's fashionable and flirty while still being hard as nails. And it was so rare to find a heroine who wasn't a good mother and didn't dote on her children. Yes, that's a serious flaw, but I also thought it was an original one. That, and her lack of taste when it came to jewelry.

I also loved the fact that although men were attracted to Scarlett in spades, they generally didn't fall in undying love with her. Once she married Charles, Stuart started courting India Wilkes again while Brent went to Carreen. Ashley, for all his faults, didn't lose sight of the fact that Melanie was a far better partner for him. And even Frank Kennedy, after their marriage, reflected on how he would have been happy with another woman. Scarlett was a catch, but not a keeper.

scarletpeaches
10-20-2010, 01:34 PM
I loved the fact she didn't care for her children. If she'd live in this day and age she would have been on the pill but back then there was little to no way of stopping children happening if you were married, so...

Why do you think I chose Scarlett as my pen name? She was a non-maternal bitch who cared about money and her own comfort more than other people.

Marian Perera
10-20-2010, 01:41 PM
I'm convinced that if I pick up another novel featuring a shrewd, avaricious businesswoman, the story will either make her go down in flames or will bring out her sweet maternal side by foisting a kid on her, a la Baby Boom (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_Boom_(film)).

scarletpeaches
10-20-2010, 01:45 PM
I can whizz through GWTW in a couple of days, but the Godawful sequel took me six weeks the one and only time I read it.

Marian Perera
10-20-2010, 02:01 PM
I saw the miniseries based on it. That turned out to be even worse than the book, which I hadn't thought possible.

Spoiler :



The scene where Scarlett is graphically beaten and then raped while she screams her head off and the servants just stand there staring like a flock of catatonic sheep was the worst. I got the impression that everyone involved in the sequel and the miniseries absolutely hated Margaret Mitchell's Scarlett, and wanted to either change her or make her suffer or both.

scarletpeaches
10-20-2010, 02:02 PM
Even though Timothy Dalton was in it? Man, it must have been craptacular!

Selah March
10-20-2010, 04:34 PM
I wrote an paper in English 402 about how Melanie Hamilton Wilkes represents the enduring legacy of the Old South, and Scarlet O'Hara Hamilton Kennedy Butler represents the rise of the New South, and how the crash and burn of her third marriage and the death of Bonnie Blue Butler is a symbol of the the failure of Reconstruction, but her final comment ("After all, tomorrow is another day.") is a harbinger of both ultimate reconciliation and the resiliency of a people that will not be defeated by unfortunate circumstance -- even circumstance they've brought upon themselves.

If I remember correctly, there was also some stuff in there about how Ellen O'Hara and Ashley Wilkes were two sides of the same coin as secondary symbols for those who insisted on clinging to/grieving for the old ways -- one noble and strong, serving as a model for behavior even in death, and one weak and spineless, with no real practical use in a changing world.

Of course, I have no idea if Mitchell actually intended any of this, but it got me the A.

Mostly, I've always had a huge crush on Rhett. :)

Lyra Jean
10-20-2010, 04:40 PM
I liked Scarlett. She did what she felt she had to do to survive. Unfortunately not everything she did was necessary and it was her inability to give up control that lost her Rhett.

aruna
10-21-2010, 12:58 PM
I can't admire Scarlett; I just don't admire egoism in any form and shape, no matrer how succesful it turns out to be. I do like the way she got Tara back on its feet but I wanted to see character growth, change, more softness coming in. I can get a woman not wanting children, but I don't get (or admire) a woman having a child and not loving it.

Carlene
10-21-2010, 06:09 PM
Whenever I bitch about the flaws of a book I'm reading my husband asks me this question - is it a good story?

I believe most people love GWTW is because it's a good story. It encompasses a fascinating part of our history, war, has some interesting characters and a love story. What's not to like?

Carlene

johnnysannie
10-21-2010, 06:23 PM
I have always admired Scarlett; she is a survivor and does what is necessary to survive. She saves the family plantation, she works in the fields so that the family can eat, she sells herself out to the highest bidder to get enough money to survive.

She is ruthless, stubborn, headstrong, and tough.

What's not to like?

BTW as much as I loved GWTW at an early age and still do, I hated the "sequel" - that one sucked.

aruna
10-21-2010, 07:29 PM
What's not to like?
.

Her egoism.

scarletpeaches
10-21-2010, 07:31 PM
I can't admire Scarlett; I just don't admire egoism in any form and shape, no matrer how succesful it turns out to be. I do like the way she got Tara back on its feet but I wanted to see character growth, change, more softness coming in. I can get a woman not wanting children, but I don't get (or admire) a woman having a child and not loving it.You don't have to like Scarlett; few people do - the whole point is that she's interesting. And she definitely did grow throughout the book.

And plenty of women had children they didn't love in days when there was very little you could do to stop them happening.

aruna
10-21-2010, 07:36 PM
[

You don't have to like Scarlett; few people do - the whole point is that she's interesting. And she definitely did grow throughout the book.

And plenty of women had children they didn't love in days when there was very little you could do to stop them happening.


Oh, I agree she's interesting -- without her there wouldn't be a book!

yes, she did grow -- but she never learnt that she is not the middle of the universe.

And I know that some (I won't say plenty) mothers didn't love their children back then, and now, too. That doesn't stop it from being wrong.


ETA: I'm talking about the movie, mostly; I read the book only once, eons ago, and can't remember.

scarletpeaches
10-21-2010, 07:39 PM
Anyone called Scarlett totally is the centre of the universe. :D

Is it wrong not to love a child you never wanted? Well...what else was Scarlett supposed to do? She needed protection and/or money, which meant a husband, which meant babies. It was either that or let her family starve. It's not like she could nip out to the surgery to get a prescription for the pill.

aruna
10-21-2010, 07:45 PM
Yes, even if you never wanted it, it's wrong. Sorry, but for me that is inviolable! Your mother, Scarlett my darling, was wrong. Maybe she couldn't help it, didn't know hot to help it, but she was still wrong.

I hate to admit this in a forum full of indomitable Americans (and Scotswomen!) but I'm a great admirer of the Melanie-type character -- those of quiet, unobtrusive, background strength. In real life they are often the ones who win through and support everyone else.

scarletpeaches
10-21-2010, 07:53 PM
In my own mother's case, she had a way of stopping herself getting pregnant. She was just too stupid and selfish to use it.

In Scarlett's case? How on Earth was she supposed to stop herself getting pregnant?

There's one part of the book where she says to Rhett that there are to be "No more babies. You know what that means, don't you?"

By that time he was willing to stay away from her because he hated her then (or at least strongly disliked).

I still say it's unrealistic to expect a woman to love a child she never wanted. Be outright cruel? No. But you can't love on demand. I don't care if a child came out of your body. Love is not automatic.

aruna
10-21-2010, 08:19 PM
. But you can't love on demand. I don't care if a child came out of your body. Love is not automatic.

I think back then women didn't even consider whether they wanted babies or not -- they just happened, and with most mothers love does kick in automatically. If it doesn't? Well, at the very least, you can care for the child as if you did love it, simply because you know you should; the child didn't ask to be born any more than you asked to have it, or make sure it is well looked after; for certain, the baseline is do no harm.

But at best: it's possible to learn to love, if you try really hard, and really want to. I wouldn't expect a woman of Scarlett's character to do this, though...

scarletpeaches
10-21-2010, 08:21 PM
I think back then women didn't even consider whether they wanted babies or not -- they just happened, and with most mothers love does kick in automatically. If it doesn't? Well, at the very least, you can care for the child as if you did love it, simply because you know you should; the child didn't ask to be born any more than you asked to have it, or make sure it is well looked after; for certain, the baseline is do no harm.

But at best: it's possible to learn to love, if you try really hard, and really want to. I wouldn't expect a woman of Scarlett's character to do this, though...I think this is what I would do. I would hope.

I'm inspired to read the book again, despite my mountainous TBR pile growing to Everest proportions.

A friend once said, "You should read GWTW every five years; you get something new out of it every time."

aruna
10-21-2010, 08:25 PM
Oh, and I'm so glad your mother did not use birth control! There would have been a huge black -shaped hole in AW and we would all have been peering into it shaking our heads and muttering, where is she, where is she, where is she...

scarletpeaches
10-21-2010, 08:29 PM
Something would have been missing from the universe. :D

And we wouldn't be having this conversation about how something was missing, and we would never know that something was missing, because I wouldn't be here to say "Imagine if I wasn't around..."

Okay, back to GWTW now, people, before my head asplodes. :D

regdog
10-21-2010, 08:54 PM
For the time in which it was written, 1936, having a female MC who was unapologetically ambitious, non-maternal, intelligent, shrewd, and wealth driven and openly in love with another woman's husband wasn't the norm.

It delved into the subjects of slavery, and women in society. It did not paint a rosy picture of either subject and gave a brutal depiction of war.

And she wasn't originally Scarlett, she was Pansy O'Hara.

scarletpeaches
10-21-2010, 08:55 PM
And she's not even Scarlett. Her first name's Katie.

regdog
10-21-2010, 09:03 PM
Her full name was Kate Scarlett O'Hara Hamilton Kennedy Butler. Try fitting that on a driver's license :D


I like female characters who are unapologetically ambitious. Being a shrinking violet doesn't go with the women of my family

Marian Perera
10-22-2010, 02:03 AM
I hate to admit this in a forum full of indomitable Americans (and Scotswomen!) but I'm a great admirer of the Melanie-type character -- those of quiet, unobtrusive, background strength. In real life they are often the ones who win through and support everyone else.

I admire Melanie too. She's my favorite character in the book after Scarlett and Rhett. Not to mention a great example of the fact that one can be quiet, gentle, self-effacing and respectful of conventional standards while also being harder than steel. I love the scene where she walks into the living-room to find India and the other women trash-talking Scarlett, and then puts them all in their place.

India : I retract nothing.
Melanie : Then it is fortunate that you are no longer living under my roof.
India : Melly, you're my sister-in-law--you wouldn't quarrel with me over that fast piece--
Melanie : Scarlett is my sister-in-law too. And dearer to me than any blood sister could ever be... I want it understood that any of you who do not call on Scarlett need never, never call on me.

About Scarlett's children - I felt she cared for them insofar as she was capable of doing so. When she was poor, she made sure Wade was fed and clothed to the best of her capacity, but as far as spending time with him or nurturing him, I don't think she was up to it because she had so much else to do with just keeping the plantation in some semblance of order.

She probably thought that the priority for today was making sure everyone stayed alive, and the task for tomorrow was being a lady, fitting neatly into polite society and becoming a good mother. Except that when tomorrow came, she'd been changed to the point that she could no longer do those... and her children were no longer comfortable with her either. There's a section in the book where she realizes Wade is tongue-tied and intimidated when she speaks to him, but he bubbles over with Melanie and adores Rhett.

Scarlett always faces the consequences of her actions - if not immediately, then later on down the road. That's another thing I love about the book.

Stlight
10-22-2010, 10:00 AM
Best piece of luck that happened to Scarlet in the whole book was when Rhett finally left. Talk about an abusive man. And he was abusive for his time because he delighted in going against society and forced Scarlett to do so as well. Public humilation is abusive. Private humilation thy name is Bell Watley.

And yes, Scarlett was in love with Ashley, but she never actually did anything to try and take him away from Melanie, and she was the one who saved Melanie.

Of course my grandmother told me that no lady would have acted as Scarlett did. When I protested that her sisters, her children and Melanie would have died if she hadn't done what she did, grandmother said it would have been better if they had died and she remained a lady. So I guess I missed something.

And Rhett was the one who insisted that Bonnie Bell could take that jump and should try it. He over-rode Scarlett's attempts to stop it. So Bonnie died as Scarlett's father had.

I admired Scarlett and Melanie. I detested Rhett and just felt sorry for Ashley, not because of Scarlett, but because he couldn't change. At least he had Melanie to help him survive emotionally in the new world.

ETA The sequel was unspeakable. I pretend it doesn't exist.

scarletpeaches
10-22-2010, 10:02 AM
Are you talking about the same book? Rhett, abusive?

And Scarlett not doing anything to steal Ashley? Um...yeah.

I am seriously puzzled that anyone could think that about GWTW.

aruna
10-22-2010, 10:21 AM
I can't even remember a son, Wade. I'm that old. He wasn't in the movie, was he?I only remember Bonnie.

scarletpeaches
10-22-2010, 10:22 AM
She lost two children between the book and the film - Wade and Ella Lorena.

aruna
10-22-2010, 10:31 AM
hummph. I really am old. I read it when I was about 20, I think-- nearly 40 years ago. I've seen the movie several times since then, though, so that is what has stuck.

Carlene
10-22-2010, 10:19 PM
I'm with you, SP, Rhett abusive? I thought he had the patience of a saint to put up with Scarlett for as long as he did.

Re: Wade - he was in the book, not the movie. She barely knew Charles, got knocked up ASAP then the poor guy died in the war.

Carlene

Lyra Jean
10-22-2010, 11:55 PM
I'm with you, SP, Rhett abusive? I thought he had the patience of a saint to put up with Scarlett for as long as he did.

Re: Wade - he was in the book, not the movie. She barely knew Charles, got knocked up ASAP then the poor guy died in the war.

Carlene

What's funny is he didn't get to fight. He died in camp before even seeing any action. Unless I'm confusing the movie with the book.

COchick
10-23-2010, 01:10 AM
Love it. My favorite book. I love Scarlett because she is unapologetically ambitious and hard headed...traits that aren't always the best, but they got her what she needed to survive and make for a damn interesting story. And I always feel so upset in the last third of the book, when she is totally blind to how Rhett is watching her, waiting for her to return his love...

I've read both the sequels...I actually didn't mind the one titled Scarlett so much, although it wasn't in fitting with the original. There's another...Rhett Butler's People...boy, that was terrible.

Stlight
10-23-2010, 05:27 AM
I'll give you that I may have missed Scarlett working on stealing Ashley, I do miss things like that.

But I remember Rhett insisting Scarlett wear the red dress to the ball/party where eveyrone else was dressed in mourning for the death. That is public humilation. Maybe that was all he did and I remembered a different sense to it.

I do have the impression that he was going down to Bell's after he married Scarlett, but I guess that was after she said 'no more babies' so he had to go get laid somewhere.

Again I could be remembering it wrong. It's been awhile. We had to read it for school. I just remember being so happy for her when that dreadful man Rhett finally left and she could have a life. I'm no longer sure why I disliked him so much, but I did and still do.

Of her men, I liked Frank Kennedy, because he owned a store. Now I see him as the active embodiment of Ashley's philosophical outlook. Both were holding onto what was gone. Frank had to die for it and Ashley had to live sort of in a coma.

ETA We read GWTW in 8 grade. I think it was to teach us that war was wrong. Maybe the others got the parts I missed, I was dreadfully sheltered which is why I missed what was ativly going on with Scarlett and Ashley.

ElizaFaith13
10-23-2010, 05:32 AM
watching the movie right now. I pictured Gerald younger, and with wild silver hair. He's an an old man!

Marian Perera
10-23-2010, 07:34 AM
But I remember Rhett insisting Scarlett wear the red dress to the ball/party where eveyrone else was dressed in mourning for the death. That is public humilation.

That was after she had publicly humiliated him by being caught embracing another man.

Melanie, of course, didn't believe a word of it and stood behind both of the people she loved, but Rhett knew the truth.

Stlight
10-23-2010, 07:53 AM
That was after she had publicly humiliated him by being caught embracing another man.

Melanie, of course, didn't believe a word of it and stood behind both of the people she loved, but Rhett knew the truth.

I see, I had forgotten that part or being naive hadn't released hugging someone was a huge deal. I was 13 when I read it.

What about visiting Bell's? Was that just before they were married and not afterward?

I don't have a copy and I'm not sure I could get through it again. The part about the twins' mother struggling to buy them tombstones nearly finished me. Seriously. That part, not the love story, was how the book influenced my out-look, and I guess that was enough for one book. It is still the strongest anti-war book I've ever read.

scarletpeaches
10-23-2010, 08:08 AM
I'll give you that I may have missed Scarlett working on stealing Ashley, I do miss things like that.

But I remember Rhett insisting Scarlett wear the red dress to the ball/party where eveyrone else was dressed in mourning for the death. That is public humilation. Maybe that was all he did and I remembered a different sense to it.

I do have the impression that he was going down to Bell's after he married Scarlett, but I guess that was after she said 'no more babies' so he had to go get laid somewhere.

Again I could be remembering it wrong. It's been awhile. We had to read it for school. I just remember being so happy for her when that dreadful man Rhett finally left and she could have a life. I'm no longer sure why I disliked him so much, but I did and still do.

Of her men, I liked Frank Kennedy, because he owned a store. Now I see him as the active embodiment of Ashley's philosophical outlook. Both were holding onto what was gone. Frank had to die for it and Ashley had to live sort of in a coma.

ETA We read GWTW in 8 grade. I think it was to teach us that war was wrong. Maybe the others got the parts I missed, I was dreadfully sheltered which is why I missed what was ativly going on with Scarlett and Ashley.Anything that Rhett did to her was deserved. He made her wear the red dress because she'd just tried to cheat on him. Plus, she'd put all the men's lives in danger by making those evil black men attack her, so all the good KKK men had to go out and see to them, which was the night Frank got killed.

Judging by the sensibilities of the day and its political climate, Rhett was easy on her, far from abusive.

Stlight
10-23-2010, 08:45 AM
From reading this, and I appreciate the comments because they are really helping me understand what I didn't 'get' in the book. Thanks.

One more question, if you don't mind. Did Rhett and Scarlett even like each other? I didn't think that they did. I thought it was a marriage of convience- or lust- not a love match.

Guess his vengence would have been complete if he left her pregnant, wouldn't it? Did he? There is no way I'm reading the sequels or seeing the movies of them. Though I am considering maybe re-reading GWTW. Maybe then I'll figure out why grandmother liked it some much when she hated Scarlett and didn't think that much of Rhett (the Bell thing was unacceptable in her world, at least the way she told it.)

scarletpeaches
10-23-2010, 08:47 AM
Rhett loved Scarlett. Scarlett loved Scarlett. So they had that in common at least. ;)

At the end of the book he was old (by his standards) and too damn tired to go on trying to make her love him.

But he always did. He recognised a kindred spirit from the first time he saw her, I reckon. Trouble is, Scarlett was always more selfish than him, despite having a similar "Screw you, polite society!" attitude.

ETA: At one point, post-Bonnie Blue Butler, Scarlett did get pregnant, but she fell down the stairs and lost it. Also, it's never said explicitly in the book, but Belle Watling had a son - Rhett's - which is why Rhett stayed loyal to her. He wanted to see her, and the boy, right.

Stlight
10-23-2010, 09:25 AM
Well, that explains an awful lot that I didn't get. Thank you.

HelloKiddo
10-23-2010, 03:40 PM
Anything that Rhett did to her was deserved. He made her wear the red dress because she'd just tried to cheat on him. Plus, she'd put all the men's lives in danger by making those evil black men attack her, so all the good KKK men had to go out and see to them, which was the night Frank got killed.

Judging by the sensibilities of the day and its political climate, Rhett was easy on her, far from abusive.

That's what an abusive person is, isn't it? Feeling that she "deserved" to be punished? Her being attacked by the black men and setting the KKK on them was an accident. It's not like she wanted to be attacked. As for her cheating--Rhett cheated. He was the cheater in that marriage, wasn't he? I read it when I was 14, so it's possible my memory is not accurate...


One more question, if you don't mind. Did Rhett and Scarlett even like each other? I didn't think that they did. I thought it was a marriage of convience- or lust- not a love match.

Rhett loved Scarlett. Scarlett loved Rhett's money. At least until the end, when she realizes she loved him all along, blah blah blah.

Marian Perera
10-23-2010, 04:34 PM
I see, I had forgotten that part or being naive hadn't released hugging someone was a huge deal. I was 13 when I read it.

Imagine how you would feel if you heard that your husband or wife had been caught tenderly embracing someone else.

Now imagine you knew that your husband or wife was infatuated with that person, rather than returning your love for him or her. This isn't even getting into the fact that it was set in a historical time when hugging someone who wasn't married to you would be a big deal.


What about visiting Bell's? Was that just before they were married and not afterward?Rhett visited Bell while he was married to Scarlett, but that was partly because Scarlett refused to have sex with him and partly because he knew Bell genuinely cared about him and respected him.

I think he was quite justified. If I were married to someone who didn't care about me and who constantly imagined another woman in my place when we were in bed together (which was what Scarlett did - she imagined being with Ashley instead of Rhett), I might also seek comfort from a man who really did want me.

What I found interesting was that the book made a distinction between physical infidelity and emotional infidelity. Rhett made it clear that if Scarlett had just had an itch that needed to be scratched, and if Ashley had done that and gotten it over with, that wouldn't have been so bad. But instead, what she gave Ashley was her heart and mind, neither of which he wanted or could appreciate - and both of which Rhett longed for.

ElizaFaith13
10-23-2010, 06:14 PM
I thought the boy that Rhett took care of, wasn't his for some reason, but that he was just a guardian. It definitely wasn't Bell's because the boy was in New Orleans.

Belle_91
10-23-2010, 06:24 PM
You don't have to like Scarlett; few people do - the whole point is that she's interesting. And she definitely did grow throughout the book.

And plenty of women had children they didn't love in days when there was very little you could do to stop them happening.

This.

Many Southern women I know back then-who had the money-had a mammy for their children. The plantation mistress was often busy calling on neighbors, tending to the sick (as Mrs. O'Hara does), working with the overseer (again Mrs. O'Hara), and making sure that the house was running smoothly.

Yes, some of them might have loved their children, but I think Scarlet resents hers because they aren't Ashley's children. I believe I remember her saying that she resented Wade-Charles's son-because he was Charles's son.

aruna
10-23-2010, 06:29 PM
Wealthy people in Guyana also invariably had nannies. There's nothing in having a nanny which implies you don't love your children. It's just like today's working women giving their children into daycare. Doesn't mean they don't love them!
You don't have to specifically WANT a child to love it.

Belle_91
10-23-2010, 06:31 PM
That was after she had publicly humiliated him by being caught embracing another man.

Melanie, of course, didn't believe a word of it and stood behind both of the people she loved, but Rhett knew the truth.

And it wasn't a funeral she was going to but a birthday party for Ashley.

Belle_91
10-23-2010, 06:36 PM
No, I'm not saying that women who have nannies don't love their children, its just in Scarlet's case it doesnt seem like she did. I haven't read the book in awhile, but I do think she did care for Wade and Ella, in her own way. I mean-from what I remember-she wasn't abusive or neglected them (she made sure they had clothes and food).

Yes, it's a shame she didn't love any of her children, and I do think that when most women have a child-no matter whose it is-they love them unconditionally. However, that's not the case of Scarlet O'Hara. She was always selfish.

HelloKiddo
10-23-2010, 07:17 PM
If Rhett didn't trust her, and didn't want to be in a marriage with a woman who did not love him as she loved another man, then he should not have married Scarlett. He knew she loved another man when he married her. It's wrong to marry a person and qualify it, i.e. "I'll marry you but will punish you every time I'm reminded of your flaws." Nope. When you marry a person you take the whole package, as is. I can see how his jealousy and anger could be interpreted as the behavioral pattern of an abusive man.

scarletpeaches
10-23-2010, 07:26 PM
He knew she was infatuated by another man when he married her. He thought he could make her forget Ashley, or that she would behave properly. She didn't.

So people think he was wrong to humiliate her with the red dress?

Where are the people saying Scarlett shouldn't have humiliated him by throwing herself at another man?

Ol' Fashioned Girl
10-23-2010, 07:30 PM
Even though Timothy Dalton was in it? Man, it must have been craptacular!

Surely there's a stronger word for it than just 'craptacular'. It was 100 different kinds of bad. If I were the people involved in making it, I'd spend my last dime buying up all the copies in the universe and destroying them.


....You don't have to specifically WANT a child to love it.

And you don't have to love a child just because you have it. You don't have to love it even if you wanted it. It would be nice, preferable even, if everyone was born into a family with parents who loved it, but that's just not the case - in Scarlet's era, before and/or after. Right or wrong, that's the way it is/was/will be. Children have been used for centuries as bargaining chips, chattel, means to end wars and secure treaties, avenge wrongs, get revenge, stop parents whining for grandchildren, reasons to kill/divorce their mothers and marry another... humans are kinda ugly.

Marian Perera
10-23-2010, 07:34 PM
If it was abusive of Rhett to be jealous and angry, then it was also wonderful of Rhett to support his wife's unfeminine (for that time) ambition, comfort her when she had irrational fears and pay for everything she wanted. Which makes him a very three-dimensional person, and one reason I like him so much.


He knew she was infatuated by another man when he married her. He thought he could make her forget Ashley, or that she would behave properly. She didn't.

Yes. He thought that since he and Scarlett were so well-suited personality-wise - both unconventional and hard-headed and passionate - that after she came to know him better she would respond to him and grow closer to him rather than Ashley.


Where are the people saying Scarlett shouldn't have humiliated him by throwing herself at another man?

Not to mention that this was after she had withheld sex for months (supposedly to avoid getting pregnant, but in reality because of Ashley). Wasn't that manipulative, if not abusive?

scarletpeaches
10-23-2010, 07:34 PM
I do love this thread. For all my vehemence in my arguments, I do love it. GWTW is one of my two favourite novels ever and I could talk about it for hours.

(My other favourite, which constantly jostles for the no.1 spot is Wally Lamb's I Know This Much is True).

scarletpeaches
10-23-2010, 07:36 PM
If it was abusive of Rhett to be jealous and angry, then it was also wonderful of Rhett to support his wife's unfeminine (for that time) ambition, comfort her when she had irrational fears and pay for everything she wanted. Which makes him a very three-dimensional person, and one reason I like him so much.I adore him. From the way he encouraged her to thumb her nose at polite society to the way he accepted her fear of the dark. A childish, irrational fear, but he didn't mock his wife - he comforted her.

And as...oh, I forget the character's name...pointed out, no man who loved a child as much as Cap'n Butler loved Bonnie, could be all bad.

Marian Perera
10-23-2010, 07:44 PM
Rhett gave Mammy a gift even when she treated him coldly and disapproved of him. He went out of his way to make Wade feel loved and wanted after Bonnie's birth - how many fathers of that time would be so sensitive to their stepkids' feelings? He always treated Melanie with respect.

What he wasn't prepared to do was to either take any crap from Scarlett or to admit to her that he was deeply in love with her, because he knew she would use that against him. And that wariness eventually backfired, because when she did start to care about him, she didn't believe he felt the same way about her.

HelloKiddo
10-23-2010, 07:45 PM
Where are the people saying Scarlett shouldn't have humiliated him by throwing herself at another man?

The people saying that are you, Queen of Swords, and Carlene.


He knew she was infatuated by another man when he married her. He thought he could make her forget Ashley, or that she would behave properly.

Exactly. Bullshit. And his trippin' because he couldn't change her is irrational. It's my belief you don't change a person by marrying them. That's just my belief.

Scarlett was wrong, sure she was wrong. Everybody's wrong sometimes. Rhett was wrong. It changes nothing.

Marian Perera
10-23-2010, 07:55 PM
And his trippin' because he couldn't change her is irrational. It's my belief you don't change a person by marrying them.

I agree. I would never recommend marrying someone in the hopes that they will change.

On the other hand, to him it was a calculated gamble. He wagered that if Scarlett married someone who was like her, someone who understood her and protected her and gave her everything she wanted, she would start to fall in love. I don't see that as being so irrational (he didn't need her to stop working or drinking, just to relinquish a crush she'd begun as a teenager). Rhett had gambled and taken risks before, so he tried it one last time, and lost.

scarletpeaches
10-23-2010, 07:57 PM
And of course, there was his line about never being able to resist a lost cause.

HelloKiddo
10-23-2010, 08:08 PM
On the other hand, to him it was a calculated gamble. He wagered that if Scarlett married someone who was like her, someone who understood her and protected her and gave her everything she wanted, she would start to fall in love. I don't see that as being so irrational. Rhett had gambled and taken risks before, so he tried it one last time, and lost.

I agree with everything except the underlined part. It is irrational to believe you can change someone by marrying them. He took a chance for love and lost. I can't hate him for that, but I can't hate Scarlett for not changing herself and becoming his doting dream girl.

But the point I was making is that his behavior was controlling and, so far as I understand it, it in fact is the type of behavior that abusers exhibit. One of my friend's mother had Battered Woman's Syndrome and the type of behaviors my friend described sound similar to what Rhett did--"punishing" her, publicly humiliating her, becoming extremely jealous.

Whether or not Scarlett deserved it is, in my mind, not the point. Adults don't punish each other for misbehaving. That's what parents to do children.

As for Rhett's cheating being different because Scarlett was withholding sex--*whistles*. Madam, we do not agree.

scarletpeaches
10-23-2010, 08:10 PM
You're judging a 19th century man by 21st century standards.

HelloKiddo
10-23-2010, 08:18 PM
You're judging a 19th century man by 21st century standards.

How's that?

Marian Perera
10-23-2010, 08:24 PM
As for Rhett's cheating being different because Scarlett was withholding sex--*whistles*. Madam, we do not agree.

As I said, the book established that he saw physical and emotional infidelity in different ways. If it was acceptable for Scarlett to cheat on him in every way but the physical one and then withhold sex so she could pretend she was being faithful to Ashley instead, then it should have been equally acceptable for him to go to Belle Watling.


the type of behaviors my friend described sound similar to what Rhett did--"punishing" her, publicly humiliating her, becoming extremely jealous.

Just as Scarlett also "punished" Rhett and publicly humiliated him. Plus, her calling him a drunken fool and telling him to take his hands off her didn't seem to indicate that she was cowed by his behavior.

scarletpeaches
10-23-2010, 08:28 PM
How's that?Really, the difference in Rhett's cheating being okay and Scarlett's...not.

I actually agree with you in that what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

However...by the standards of the day, men's needs were seen as...well, needs. They had to get sex somewhere.

Plus, of course, Rhett's infidelity was sexual. Scarlett's? Emotional. Hypocritical of society, yes, absolutely, but at the time, emotional infidelity - and for a woman, shock horror - would have been judged as somehow 'worse'.

aruna
10-23-2010, 08:29 PM
I adore him. From the way he encouraged her to thumb her nose at polite society to the way he accepted her fear of the dark. A childish, irrational fear, but he didn't mock his wife - he comforted her.

And as...oh, I forget the character's name...pointed out, no man who loved a child as much as Cap'n Butler loved Bonnie, could be all bad.

It was a long time ago I last read GWTW so I don't remember the details, but I do remember that I loved Rhett and loathed Scarlett; but wanted to see Rhett's love melt her into a loving him back. There is such a soft core to him, and it's that I adored. In her I only see naked ambition and selfishness; there's nothing behind it.


Rhett gave Mammy a gift even when she treated him coldly and disapproved of him. He went out of his way to make Wade feel loved and wanted after Bonnie's birth - how many fathers of that time would be so sensitive to their stepkids' feelings? He always treated Melanie with respect.
.

This.

scarletpeaches
10-23-2010, 08:35 PM
Regarding Scarlett's hard core, something in the book struck me as monumentally sexist. (Well, much of it did, but to a point, Mitchell acknowledged its inherent sexism).

An older woman told Scarlett that a woman should always have something to be scared of. If she was scared of nothing, she'd become hard, scare men away.

It reminds me of a girlfriend telling me I shouldn't be so independent; men need to know you need them. A 21st century woman reflecting a book set in the 19th century. Plus ca change...

Stlight
10-23-2010, 08:37 PM
[QUOTE=Queen of Swords;5443496]Imagine how you would feel if you heard that your husband or wife had been caught tenderly embracing someone else.

Now imagine you knew that your husband or wife was infatuated with that person, rather than returning your love for him or her. This isn't even getting into the fact that it was set in a historical time when hugging someone who wasn't married to you would be a big deal.

Rhett visited Bell while he was married to Scarlett, but that was partly because Scarlett refused to have sex with him and partly because he knew Bell genuinely cared about him and respected him.


Yes, now I get the embrace business, I did not get it when I read the book when I was 13.

Too bad she didn't have another form of birth control other than not doing it. Of course if she'd had 10 or 12 kids he might have left anyway.

Marian Perera
10-23-2010, 08:38 PM
In her I only see naked ambition and selfishness; there's nothing behind it.

She did love her parents, though - so much that it broke her heart to come home and find Ellen dead and Gerald a mental wreck. She loved Tara enough to sell herself if it kept the land.

And Ashley... well, she could have abandoned Melanie and fled when the Yankees invaded, but she didn't because she gave Ashley her word that she would look after his wife. She hated doing it and she hated Melanie, but she kept Ashley's wife and child safe for him even though it put her own life at risk.

Towards the end of the book, she finally realized how much Melanie meant to her - and then, just as she had once promised Ashley she would take care of his wife, she promised Melanie to take care of her husband. This being after she realized that she didn't really love Ashley and that he would always be a millstone around her neck.

Scarlett is selfish and ambitious, absolutely. But this is why I think there's far more to her than just those qualities.

scarletpeaches
10-23-2010, 08:40 PM
Scarlett also killed to protect those whom (and that which) she loved. That'll do something to a woman.

Stlight
10-23-2010, 08:51 PM
Hellokiddo has explained to me why I hated Rhett when I read the book. At 13 I didn't have the 'read the book in terms of it's era' going.

I was told Melanie was right, Scarlett was wrong.

Now, with these explainations I see Scarlett's greatest flaw war marrying Rhett when he loved her and she didn't love him. Did she know he loved her? If she didn't that changes everything and makes it okay for her to have married him. But he changed the deal.

Yes, in that time and maybe now, if you marry someone you act like a proper wife. Here her conflict is that Rhett is all about 'we don't have to be proper, we are different' except when he didn't want her to be different.

Still not liking him. Even if his actions were acceptable for the time, not liking the punishing her for - basically - failing to fall in love with him.

The question, I suppose, comes down to this. Can people force themselves to fall in love because someone else wants them to or because it's convient? Is this a voluntary or involuntary emotion?

HelloKiddo
10-23-2010, 08:57 PM
Just as Scarlett also "punished" Rhett and publicly humiliated him. Plus, her calling him a drunken fool and telling him to take his hands off her didn't seem to indicate that she was cowed by his behavior.

I'm finding it disturbing that in response to comments that Rhett's behavior was controlling and inappropriate I keep hearing, "But she was bad too/but he did good stuff too" In abusive relationships, it goes back and forth. People egg each other on, bait them.

Examples we've all seen: Rhianna was aggravating and picking on Chris Brown, taunting him and threatening him before he attacked her. It doesn't change the fact that he attacked her. And I'm reminded of Mel Gibson's tapes and the comments that came after. People kept saying, "She was pressing his buttons, setting him up." Yes she did...he threatened to kill her and hit her while she was holding their baby. NO excusing that. Not even when his ex wife came forward and said he was a good guy to her...again...not the point how he was with someone else.

Also FTR I'm not arguing that Rhett actually harmed Scarlett, only that his behavior showed some of the qualities abusers have. It stopped, I guess, before it got serious and he actually harmed her, but the behaviors were there.


However...by the standards of the day, men's needs were seen as...well, needs. They had to get sex somewhere.

Abusive behavior is acceptable in many cultures and throughout many periods in history. It's still abusive behavior, whether culturally acceptable at the time or not. Also, how is that different from today? Maybe in your part of the world. Not in mine.

scarletpeaches
10-23-2010, 08:57 PM
Good point about "Be different except for when I want you to conform."

Did Scarlett know Rhett loved her? I think she thought he liked her. She was fun. They were alike. He was rich, could give her everything she wanted. Perhaps she assumed they both felt nothing more than affection for the other.

Remember her father saying "Like must marry like," for there to be any success in a marriage.

I'm going to read this book again, definitely.

scarletpeaches
10-23-2010, 09:00 PM
Abusive behavior is acceptable in many cultures and throughout many periods in history. It's still abusive behavior, whether culturally acceptable at the time or not. Also, how is that different from today? Maybe in your part of the world. Not in mine.My part of the world does not judge 19th century people by 21st century standards.

I am puzzled by the apparent willingness to judge Rhett more harshly than Scarlett for apparent 'abuse', when she was as bad as him.

Note I said as bad as. Not better or worse than.

aruna
10-23-2010, 09:14 PM
Towards the end of the book, she finally realized how much Melanie meant to her - and then, just as she had once promised Ashley she would take care of his wife, she promised Melanie to take care of her husband. This being after she realized that she didn't really love Ashley and that he would always be a millstone around her neck.

Scarlett is selfish and ambitious, absolutely. But this is why I think there's far more to her than just those qualities.


OK, like I said t was a long time ago, I was young an inexperiensed, and maybe I did see only that one dimension of her. I do have an instinctive dislike of women who think they can get other women's men simply because they WANT them, and go about trying to get them. Because I was that girl who lost her boyfriends to girls like that; girls who were loud and obnoxious but somehow men fell for them!
I should have been happy with the fact that Ashley didn't fall for her; that was incredibly satisfying, actually. Like I said, I preferred Melanie...
OK. I said in my first post that I admired her fighting to save Tara and the folk who depended on her, and I still do.

scarletpeaches
10-23-2010, 09:17 PM
In such instances, I always say, "You can't steal a man who doesn't want to be stolen." So, if such a woman can steal your man...let him go. He's not worth your time.

Ashley, though? Oh, he wanted her. Trouble is, he was scared of her too.

I really, really need to work on Mount TBR, but damn...Scarlett, she calls me...

Also, whenever someone says in this thread, "Scarlett's a bitch!" I think, "Hey now, what have I...oh, wait, for once they're not talking about me." :D

Marian Perera
10-23-2010, 09:46 PM
I'm finding it disturbing that in response to comments that Rhett's behavior was controlling and inappropriate I keep hearing, "But she was bad too/but he did good stuff too" In abusive relationships, it goes back and forth. People egg each other on, bait them.

Maybe part of the reason you're hearing that is that people are trying to explain why they like Rhett as a character. We can't really explain that by saying, "He did certain inconsiderate things, therefore we like him", so we explain it by saying, "He did certain inconsiderate things, but these are his reasons and these are his far better qualities, and therefore we like him."


Abusive behavior is acceptable in many cultures and throughout many periods in history. It's still abusive behavior, whether culturally acceptable at the time or not.

I don't see how it's reasonable to judge the people of a different culture and time period by our own standards. If we do so, shouldn't we also conclude that Scarlett's entire society was being controlling and abusive towards her by telling her that women shouldn't go into business to support their families?

Marian Perera
10-23-2010, 09:53 PM
OK. I said in my first post that I admired her fighting to save Tara and the folk who depended on her, and I still do.

Sorry, aruna, I didn't mean to overlook that - just responding to the comment that there was nothing more to her than selfishness and ambition.

The end of the book made it clear that Ashley was physically attracted to her. But being Ashley, he expressed that attraction in hearts-and-roses terms that made her believe he really did love her, when in reality the only woman for him was Melanie.

HelloKiddo
10-23-2010, 10:18 PM
Maybe part of the reason you're hearing that is that people are trying to explain why they like Rhett as a character. We can't really explain that by saying, "He did certain inconsiderate things, therefore we like him", so we explain it by saying, "He did certain inconsiderate things, but these are his reasons and these are his far better qualities, and therefore we like him."

Point taken. IMO explaining a person's reasons for bad behavior is not acceptable to me. It reads to me like excusing someone's behavior, but we all see it our own way.


I don't see how it's reasonable to judge the people of a different culture and time period by our own standards.

I'm not judging anybody. Not sure why that word keeps coming up. Making a statement is not judging.

I don't claim to be an expert on the cultural norms of nineteenth century Georgia, but is it incorrect to say that the behavioral patterns that lead to domestic abuse were similar if not the same for that period in history? If so, I'll accept that perhaps he was not exhibiting a behavioral pattern consistent with that of a potential abuser. I'll also accept that I am wrong about the behavioral patterns commonly seen in abusive men and the signs of a potential abuser. I'm not an expert in that either.

However, whether it is accurate or not, I can see how it is perceived that way. Note my original statement:


I can see how his jealousy and anger could be interpreted as the behavioral pattern of an abusive man.

Marian Perera
10-23-2010, 10:42 PM
Point taken. IMO explaining a person's reasons for bad behavior is not acceptable to me.

I think motivation plays an important role in how we view actions. For instance, if I said my parents beat me, people might conclude my parents were cruel and abusive. On the other hand, if I said my parents beat me because they were raised in a culture which convinced them that children needed to be beaten to be corrected and brought up well, people might instead conclude my parents were misguided rather than deliberately malicious.

Is that excusing their behavior? I don't think so. We can still criticize bad behavior while simultaneously understanding the reasons behind it.

The same thing applies here, IMO. Sometimes there are reasons for bad behavior, and they can lend a lot of unexpected depth to characters.

Though as you said, everyone has their own views on this.


I don't claim to be an expert on the cultural norms of nineteenth century Georgia, but is it incorrect to say that the behavioral patterns that lead to domestic abuse were similar if not the same for that period in history?I'm not an expert in nineteenth century Georgia either so I can't say. What I can say is that Rhett is far more bark than bite when it comes to Scarlett. He occasionally threatens to hurt her ("I've always thought a good lashing with a buggy-whip would benefit you immensely") but he only physically hurts her once - when he's tying her corset strings just before Ashley's party and he pulls them too tight - and I don't see that as an example of domestic abuse, or a behavior pattern which might lead to domestic abuse.

Of course, there's far more to domestic abuse than just the physical aspect of it, but in the one sex scene which could have been abusive, it's clear that Scarlett was a willing participant after her initial fear. Their arguments don't seem to be on the level of abusive or prelude-to-abusive either.

If he really was an abuser, he picked a victim who wasn't afraid of him when he was in a drunken rage and who had previously murdered a man who threatened her. So even if his jealousy and anger remind people of the behaviors exhibited by abusive men, I think there's a lot more to the situation - and to his and Scarlett's personalities - than that.

HelloKiddo
10-24-2010, 12:49 AM
God damn you guys! Now I'm gonna have to reread it. I've been putting off rereading it...

*Grumbles*

If anybody needs me I'll be back in...about 9 months, when I've finally finished this monster :tongue

scarletpeaches
10-24-2010, 12:50 AM
Join us.

Jooooooooooooin usssssssssssssssss...

Marian Perera
10-24-2010, 01:06 AM
I had one copy of GWTW, but I read it so many times it fell apart. Then I bought another copy, but a friend loved it so I gave it to her.

Thankfully I have a good memory for all my favorite lines. :)

scarletpeaches
10-24-2010, 01:09 AM
OMG - you had a falling-apart GWTW too? My third copy has the cover sellotaped back on!

HelloKiddo
10-24-2010, 01:11 AM
...how many times have you two read it? :Wha:

scarletpeaches
10-24-2010, 01:15 AM
...how many times have you two read it? :Wha:I can't give you an exact figure, but somewhere between five and ten, with episodes of "I'll just read this scene/chapter," countless times.

Don't even ask how many times I've seen the film. At least 20. At least.

Marian Perera
10-24-2010, 01:53 AM
...how many times have you two read it? :Wha:

I stopped counting after the fourth time. Watched the movie thrice.

Mr Flibble
10-24-2010, 02:19 AM
I was having a thunk about the abuse thing re him making her wear that dress.

Is it abusive to show someone the pain their actions have/might have caused? To face the consequences of their actions, and to see that they might have hurt someone..who then refused to believe they could ever do something so awful? that one scene was (imo) the start of Scarlett growing up a bit., the kernel for the moment when she realises what she really wants...because Rhett showed her what she was doing to a sweet, kind lady, and how that sweet kind lady refused to believe all those awful things people said about Scarlett, that here was someone who liked her anyway, because Scarlett had helped her when she didn't have to (although she only did it because she promised Ashley).

Rhett held up a mirror in front of Scarlett and said 'This is who you are. This is what you want to do, ruin this woman's life and she still doesn't hate you. Either be that person in the mirror, or don't. But if you're going to be her, then you have to BE her, not hide away because you can't face what she's done.'

Rhett loved her despite her flaws, even though they drove him crazy. He also loved her enough to say 'Enough is enough' when she went too far. If he hadn't, he'd have been a doormat. Being angry with someone for behaving like a bitch to a good person who mever wished you any harm...

Is that abuse? I don't think so. YMMV.

I always loved how Rhett was so very respectful of Melly - even when he didn't respect much else- and that he saw what a good person she was. I also see why such goody goodies can be annoying to the Scarlett in us :D

Carlene
10-24-2010, 02:56 AM
I've only read it five times - and the last was years ago. Time to pick it up again.

Carlene

Marian Perera
10-24-2010, 03:18 AM
I was having a thunk about the abuse thing re him making her wear that dress.

Is it abusive to show someone the pain their actions have/might have caused? To face the consequences of their actions, and to see that they might have hurt someone..who then refused to believe they could ever do something so awful?

Excellent point. If Rhett's only motivation had been "punishing" Scarlett for being caught with Ashley that morning, he could have beaten her up in the privacy of their home. Society would probably have condoned it.

Instead, he came home to find Scarlett hiding in her room, refusing to go to Ashley's birthday party that night. In other words, she was refusing to appear in public at Melanie's house, which would have hurt Melanie and might even have made her wonder if there was truth to the allegations. I think Rhett had every right to call her out on that.

Could he have been nicer about it? Absolutely. But his choice of words (and the red dress) was meant to drive a point home to her - and Scarlett might well have remained there if he had been gentle and coaxing. Instead, he made it clear she had no option other than to go out and behave as the loyal friend and loving sister-in-law Melanie believed she was. Because to do otherwise would be to hurt a kind, innocent woman who had never done her any harm.

Lyra Jean
10-24-2010, 06:38 AM
In such instances, I always say, "You can't steal a man who doesn't want to be stolen." So, if such a woman can steal your man...let him go. He's not worth your time.

Ashley, though? Oh, he wanted her. Trouble is, he was scared of her too.

I really, really need to work on Mount TBR, but damn...Scarlett, she calls me...

Also, whenever someone says in this thread, "Scarlett's a bitch!" I think, "Hey now, what have I...oh, wait, for once they're not talking about me." :D

Didn't Ashley kind of see Scarlett as basically a one night stand, like he just wanted to have sex with her but not actually marry her. I think he told her that but I can't remember if it was only in the movie or if it was in the book as well.

aruna
10-24-2010, 09:52 AM
I hate you all. Now I have to read it again too, just when I was getting nicely through my TBR pile!!!!

Lyra Jean
10-24-2010, 05:32 PM
I'm going to the library Tuesday and will be checking it out as well. I'm staying away from the sequels. Or has anyone thought to write their own sequel to GWTW?

Marian Perera
10-24-2010, 06:22 PM
I'm going to the library Tuesday and will be checking it out as well. I'm staying away from the sequels. Or has anyone thought to write their own sequel to GWTW?

I'd love to see a sequel that's better that those two travesties, but somehow I doubt there'll ever be one that even comes close to GWTW.

Although the end of the novel seems like Mitchell left the door open for a sequel, such a sequel would have a huge upward climb. Most of the iconic characters from GWTW would be dead. Rhett would be recovering from the effects of near-alcoholism, as well as grief over the death of his only child; it would take him a long time to even trust Scarlett again, much less get back together with her. Plus, a lot of the drama and tension in GWTW came from the war. I don't know if there was enough happening in the South during Reconstruction to provide subplots and a strong historical framework for a sequel.

And part of the greatness of GWTW, for me, was that I never knew how the book would end. At first I hoped Scarlett would get Ashley, then after Melanie was introduced I hoped she wouldn't, and then I wanted her to fall in love with Rhett, then I grew increasingly afraid that their relationship was doomed, and finally the last chapter poleaxed me. What could a sequel do to even try to match that?

Alexandra Ripley's Scarlett was utterly predictable in comparison. Scarlett's goal stayed the same from the first to the last page, and I felt certain that she would get Rhett, so I wasn't surprised when Ripley killed off his wife and child to hand him back to her. It was a category romance with the main characters coincidentally named after the ones in GWTW.

HelloKiddo
10-25-2010, 02:35 AM
I was really ready to let this discussion go, but I googled GWTW now that I am rereading it (I was not looking for this info, I just stumbled upon it) and guess what I found?

Margaret Mitchell's first husband was named Berrien “Red” Upshaw (name sound familiar?) It's believed by many GWTW researchers that the character of Rhett Butler was based on Red. Red supposedly believed it, as does his family. Apparently they had a lot in common and shared similar personality types, according to the articles I found.

Info on Red:


Mitchell married Berrien “Red” Upshaw in 1922, but they were divorced after it was revealed that he was a bootlegger and an abusive alcoholic.
Mitchell married Berrien "Red" Kinnard Upshaw on September 2, 1922, but the marriage was not a happy one. Upshaw beat Mitchell, and the violence continued even after the marriage was annulled in 1924.
[Mitchell] was pursued by...Berrien "Red" Upshaw, an ex-football player and bootlegger...She married Upshaw in September 1922... Margaret's marriage to Upshaw was stormy and short-lived, culminating in marital rape

I didn't research this extensively, obviously, just sharing what I found.

Stlight
10-25-2010, 03:59 AM
That reminds me, and I could be remembering it wrong, but didn't Mitchell describ Rhett has having 'small feet'?