Sunday, March 22, 2009

Gone With the Wind - Margaret Mitchell (Week 3)

First of all, I am excited to tell you that this is my 100th post! Who would have thought, a year ago, or even six months ago, that I even would have had a blog. I know I am still very much the novice, but I'm proud of it nevertheless.

In my third week of reading Gone With the Wind, I find that I am consistently about 100 pages behind where I should be, according to Matt's schedule. Even though I am making a career out of reading this book, I must say that it has been one of the most enjoyable books I've read in quite a while.

In this installment, I was thoroughly entertained to the point of laugh-out-loud glee with the banter and dynamics between Scarlett and Rhett. Rhett pushes Scarlett's buttons, and Scarlett takes the bait...every time! He really knows how to dish it out. He teases her into thinking that perhaps he loves her, then instead suggests that she become his mistress. He continually tells Scarlett that he isn't the marrying kind, but we know he is hopelessly infatuated with her, and likewise with Scarlett. They just can't seem to get any momentum built up before he offends her or she offends him, and the part ways. Again and again. Talk about star-crossed! I must comment that despite my attraction to Rhett's dashing roguish character, he'd probably annoy the hell out of me too.

With regard to Scarlett, we see her really evolve in this section of the book. Despite the war that is encroaching on Atlanta, she steadfastly stays by the ailing Melanie's side, awaiting the birth of Ashley's baby. Yes, she complains, but will not go back on her word to Ashley to protect Melanie in his absence. Once the Yankees seize Atlanta, Scarlett can only think of Tara and her mother. She begins to understand the lessons of her father, which revolved around the love of Tara, the land and the meaning of home. Against all odds, she acts as midwife to Melanie, and with assistance of Rhett, takes the new baby, Melanie, Prissy and Wade through the war-ravaged countryside, back home. She finds Tara barren and damaged, without food, cotton burned, and only three slaves left. Her mother is dead, her sisters sick with Typhoid, and her father with dementia. Scarlett steps up to the plate, and with a solemn oath, vows to survive, with one of my favorite quotes of the book:

"As God is my witness, as God is my witness, the Yankees aren't going to lick me. I'm going to live through this, and when it's over, I'm never going to be hungry again. No, nor any of my folks. If I have to steal or kill - as God is my witness, I'm never going to be hungry again."

One noticeable difference at this point between the movie and the book is Scarlett's management of the Tara household. In the movie, she showed leadership and resourcefulness in making sure that they all didn't starve, and they pulled together to bring Tara back from the grave. In the book, however, she was just downright nasty. She was physically and verbally abusive to everyone that got near her, including her sisters, her servants and her son. Granted, it was all in the name of survival, but I was really offended with her!

I was also taken aback at Mitchell's description of the devastation that was wreaked on the South at the end of the war. It almost takes your breath away. We read about the pillaging and burning of the beautiful plantation homes, the burning of the crops, stealing the livestock, and even digging up graves to find valuables. Even in today's news, I find it shocking to witness mankind's frailties bubble to the surface when there is war, a fire, a hurricane, or some other catastrophe.

I am facing a busy couple of weeks in front of me...the Spring Book Fair at my kids' school. I find that my life is not my own around this time, but will do my best to fit in a few stolen moments to read. At least enough to excite you all with my weekly musings!


Anonymous said...

She certainly has got her hand full after the Yankees has invaded Atlanta. The war brings out the best of her stubbornness and persistence--she will achieve her goal at the expense of anything. Like she says, steal or kill--which she does both.

I cannot wait until she and Rhett Butler to seal the deal. All these banter and verbal fights will only build up the anticipation for their coming together.

Sandy Nawrot said...

Yeah, but I've seen the movie and I know what happens when they get together! The same damn thing that happens when they are messing with each other throughout the book! I guess you haven't finished the book yet (this is a surprise!) but this is a classic example of a seriously dysfunctional, screwed up relationship!

Melody said...

Congrats on your 100th post, Sandy!!! :D

I'm glad you're enjoying reading this book. Imagine the fun I've missed for not reading this along with you all..., but then I know I'll neglect my other books if I do so because this is such a thick book to me, LOL! Hopefully one day soon...

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on 100 posts!

Sandy Nawrot said...

Melody - you know I love this book, but it is driving me insane looking at all the books I have stacked up on my shelves waiting to be read. I just can't read fast enough!!!

caite said...

Yes, let me add my congrads on the 100th post!

I have to be honest and say that I never read GWTW...and only say the movie once, years ago.

And I know what you mean about no reading fast