Gone With the Wind…Still

You guys. Seriously. You guys. I’m still reading this book. And I feel like no matter how many pages I turn, how many times I tap the digital Kindle page, how many times I pick it up, Sherman is still shelling Atlanta and there is still SO MUCH MORE TO GO! I mean, for goodness sakes, Melanie hasn’t even had her baby yet, and then they still have to get to Tara, and then Scarlett will never go hungry again, and then…well, then the entire second half of the movie starts. But, to be honest, I can’t say I’m disliking all of these facts.

I mean, I feel bad, but because I don’t want things here to seem like I’m dragging or things are lacking. I start to feel bad when I come back week after week talking about the same book (and it’s definitely looking like that final intended deadline I set might have to be revised, but that’s a different topic for a different day) and that’s part of the reason that I think maybe things have quieted down the past week or so – because I’ve just been chugging along, reading the same books as the last time I was here! But other than that? I don’t feel bad about how slow I’m getting through Peg’s classic. I mean, the banter between Scarlett and Rhett is delicious, the portrait of the south that Mitchell creates, and the language she uses to create it – I’m, like, basking in it. It’s just too much to take in a whole bunch of in one setting.

I like to think that I’d get along with the Wilkes, if I’m being honest. And while I know that pretty much everyone has their druthers with Miss O’Hara, I’ll say that the thing that I probably like about her the least is how much she despises Melanie (but, then again, I kind of find it cloying how much Melanie defends Scarlett anyway. Like, there’s gracious and then there’s being a doormat. Like, CLEARLY this woman doesn’t really care for you, and after a while I feel like it stops becoming empathy and starts becoming a lack of self worth). I love the Wilkes family, and there is something about the thought of a family who adheres to philosophy, book learning, and art in a land of whiskey and dogs and hunting and joviality. It’s like in creating these two families (the Wilkeses and the O’Haras) Mitchell has found a way to mirror some of the dichotomies I feel/see in my own life – I too love art and music and literature and discussing all those things. But I also love beer from the can and laying in the mud and just being…well, undignified!

The last 100 or so pages that I’ve read have been largely about the battle to, and in, Atlanta. And while I’ve never been in a state of war, and am never planning on being in one, I can imagine that Mitchell only scratches the surface of what it must be like to see your friends, lovers, family, and neighbors marching off bravely and gallantly only to return broken, dirty, and defeated – or to not return at all. And for what? One of the most touching parts so far was Ashley’s letter to Melanie explaining how futile it all seems, how silly the war is and how even those in it could see that dying for a Cause is so seldom actually worth dying for. I loved it. And it made me sad. All at the same time. That’s what a lot of this Gone with the Wind experience has done so far, and it’s not a bad thing. It’s a great thing, actually, and one that reaffirms the boundary-pushing reasons I’m undertaking this project. I’m not even finished yet!

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2 thoughts on “Gone With the Wind…Still

  1. My cousins defended Atlanta during the scenes you’re reading. And we’re pretty sure my great-great grandfather was there. He was in the war but had been captured as a POW in 1863 in Georgia. He was released before Sherman’s March and “pledged” to stay up North until after the war, but the odds are he only said that to get released and immediately started fighting again. If so, he was there. We’re still researching (Mom & me.) 🙂

    • Jillian, that is so amazing! I’m kind of jealous that you get to have that extra level to your reading of GWTW! My family is mostly Iowa/Illinois heavy, so while I love my plains authors, it’s the great literature of the Atlanta scenes that holds the appeal for me. I’m hoping to post soon on making up my mind about Scarlett (man some of the things that girl does drive me nuts) as well as on some of the gender dynamics I see so much at work on, you know, EVERY PAGE. Thanks for the great support on my first read through my favorite movie!

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