Why I Love... Gone With the Wind
I read Gone With the Wind three years ago when I was fifteen. I had never seen the movie and had always viewed reading the novel as something that was impressive, and big, so I read it. I didn't read it just because no one else my age did and it was an awesome thing to throw into conversations (though that was a perk) but I primarily read it because it was always noted as one of the greatest, if not the greatest American novel, and that was something I wanted to find out about. I had never seen the movie, and I frankly didn't know much past Scarlett and Rhett's names.
If you're going to read Gone With the Wind, having no idea of the story is the way to do it. I had the ability of reading like Margaret Mitchell had intended, before she knew of a movie or of any awards, I read it knowing nothing and it was fantastic.
Michener once said in an interview that Gone With the Wind was, "The shortest long novel I have ever read" and that is very much the case. Yes, the story is about the war, but it's really about the characters and about the struggle that was forced upon them, and greatly the human will to survive.
For instance, I love Scarlett. Throughout the book we watch her go from a ninny of a girl to becoming someone who could take charge and protect not only herself but those around her. She proves on countless occasions throughout the novel that she would do anything to protect the ones she loves. She lives in a time of utter destruction and she still lives with courage and refuses to let anyone break her. She has inner strength that stems past anything that we would have though possible of her to possess in the beginning of her story and that is what is amazing to me. Regardless of her flaws, she has strength and even though at times we hate her and cant stand her decisions, we know that because she is Scarlett she will survive.
Also, one very important thing about Scarlett is her love of her home. Throughout the novel we see her wanting to go to Tara, the idea that home is the best place on Earth is drilled in her head and I think everyone feels that way to some degree. Home is safe.
This type of story goes deep into human feelings. The novel covers so much chaos and destruction you're faced with thinking how would you hold up. Would you take it horribly and complain in the dirt like Scarlett's sisters, or would you be like Scarlett and work the field and learn to take care of your family? It's these questions that make you love this novel as it spans every type of human emotion possible, and leads you to cry your eyes out on one page then laugh the next.
I can't express my love for this novel and it's characters enough. Years after reading my thoughts still wander to Scarlett and Rhett and I still get caught up in their world when I don't mean to. Their story is one full of love, passion, and the very meaning of being human, and it will always be my favorite book.
Everyone who breaths should read this novel at least once.
I leave you with this, one of my favorite passages:
"Somewhere, on the long road that wound through those four years, the girl with her sachet and dancing slippers, had slipped away, and there was left a woman with sharp green eyes, who counted pennies and turned her hands to many menial tasks, a woman to whom nothing was left from the wreckage, except the indestructible red earth on which she stood."