Gone with the Wind, But Not Forgotten or Forgettable

Who doesn’t know the plot of Gone with the Wind?

At 16, Scarlett O’Hara, a spoiled, selfish, headstrong daughter of a wealthy plantation owner is passionately in love with Ashley Wilkes, a refined, scholarly man with no passion at all. It takes the Civil War, Reconstruction and her third husband, Rhett Butler, to make her realize Ashley was never the man for her.

Margaret Mitchell has an organic approach to character development. She introduces each character’s general tendencies and then grows them situation by situation.

For example, any time she’s faced with an unpleasant situation, Scarlett says, “I think of it tomorrow.” Any time she’s in trouble, she runs home to Tara. So, when Rhett walks out, her response is totally characteristic.

Most of what I remembered of Gone with the Wind was from the movie: the burning of Atlanta, ripping down curtains to make a new dress. However, Margaret Mitchell’s novel is far more than a collection of vivid scenes and characters.

Mitchell’s prose flows. She varies her paragraph lengths so reading is easy. There is lots of dialogue. Despite the book’s whopping length, I read it easily in a day.

This well-written classic deserved the Pulitzer it won.

Gone with the Wind
by Margaret Mitchell
MacMillan, 1936
1037 pages
#1 on the 1936 bestseller list
#1 on the 1937 bestseller list
Pulitzer Prize winner
My grade: A
© 2007 Linda Gorton Aragoni