Thursday, May 14, 2015

Gone With the Wind Group Read, Week One Question: the Author


     The Pursuit of Happiness is hosting the Gone With the Wind group read, and here are a series of prompts to explore the featured novel: 

      Week One (through May 16): The Author (Host's response

Who is Margaret Mitchell?  I have no idea, except that she is the author of GWTW.  The only thing I knew already was how she tragically died.  She was crossing a street with her husband to attend the theater when she was suddenly struck by a drunk driver.  She died five days later.

When was she born? November 8, 1900

Where did she live? Atlanta, Georgia

What is an interesting and random fact about her life?  Pertaining to GWTW, I read that she wrote the final chapter first, and then everything else followed, which took ten years to complete.  I will ponder this when I read the final chapter.  I also read that Mitchell grew up surrounded by family members who told her stories about the Civil War; and it wasn't until age ten that she learned the South had lost the War.

What do you think of her writing style?  It agrees with my senses and comprehension abilities - so pleasant, thorough, smooth, and enjoyable.  It feels very natural, especially if reading aloud.

Is there a particular quote in Gone with the Wind that stands out for you right now? 
Ellen's life was not easy, nor was it happy, but she did not expect life to be easy, and, if it was not happy, that was a women's lot.  It was a man's world, and she accepted it as such.  The man owned the property, and the women managed it.  The man took the credit for the management, and the women praised his cleverness.  The man roared like a bull when a splinter was in his finger, and the woman muffled the moans of childbirth, lest she disturb him.  Men were rough of speech and often drunk.  Women ignored the lapses of speech and put the drunkards to bed without bitter words.  Men were rude and outspoken, women were always kind, gracious, and forgiving.

During this reread, I have found Ellen, Scarlett's mother, to be an admirable character.   I will speak more on her later.

Why do you think she may have written this book?  When some people have a story to tell, they must write; if they don't, they will die (figuratively, of course).  Maybe Mitchell did not necessarily care if GWTW was made public; nonetheless, she had this story growing inside for years, and it had to be told.


Jillian said...

Lovely post. I've never tried reading the book aloud -- but maybe I will. I can definitely see how it would trip right off the tongue. I especially agree with your final point, and the quote you selected is one of my favorites. x

Unknown said...

I am pleased to have discovered your blog, and even though I will not be reading Gone With The Wind, I will be visiting your archives and your future postings. After all, I sense a kindred spirit -- another who is in love with literature. At my new blog -- -- I will be attempting a special approach to American literature. Perhaps you and your blog followers will stop by and visit every now and then. The "welcome mat" has been put out for everyone, and I would appreciate perspectives and comments.

Sharon Wilfong said...

I enjoyed this book. Mitchell's character studies were fascinating. Scarlett was so narcissistic, the complete opposite of her mother. Also the opposite of Melanie her friend. Scarlett's selfishness is amazing. But if you haven't read it through yet I don't want to say any more.
Mitchell said she wanted to write about people with "gumption". I'm not quite sure what she means. Does gumption mean claw over others in order to survive? Don't know. I read that Mitchell's favorite character was actually Melanie.

Ruth said...

No worries. This is my second read.

Well, gumption means resourcefulness, shrewd, and spirited initiative. I would say Scarlett is all three. And I guess if she had to step over others to get what she wanted, then so be it. Maybe she was the negative aspect of gumption.

Sharon Wilfong said...

Ha, ha! No doubt she was. However, I don't know that the other women characters are as interesting as she is. She was pretty selfish but the others were a bit bland. It's really a fascinating character study.

I just finished reading The Mind of the South by W.J. Cash. His book was a reaction to the "Southern Myth" created in books like GWTW. Of course that tack is what discredits his book a bit. It was too reactionary. And even if GWTW is a romanticized version (which I don't think it entirely is) of the South's past. That doesn't mean it doesn't offer good insight into a bygone culture.

Jillian said...

Oh, The Mind of the South sounds great. I just added it to my list. :D