It must have been the strong-willed main character of Scarlett O’Hara, the protagonist in the film adaptation and novel of “Gone With the Wind” by Margaret Mitchell that I completely identified with. Her fierce independence and determination stood out amongst women who were docile and complacent during the Civil War and Reconstruction time period. Interestingly, the novel and film follow closely with the exception of Scarlett’s children from her previous marriages. There are additional characters not seen in the film as well.
Above all else are the author’s vivid details and descriptions of characters and settings. The novel was published in 1936. It would later win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1937. Mitchell loved writing and socializing where relatives and friends told her tales of the Civil War. This would eventually be the basis for her one and only published novel.
The first time I saw “Gone With the Wind” at the movie theater was as a child. This film left such an indelible impression on me. Eventually some years later I finally read the hardback book my mother had a copy of. Once I began reading the book I couldn’t put it down. Mitchell’s impeccable creation of fascinating characters was the ones you could identify with in current times. It certainly gave me another perspective of the Civil War from a woman’s point of view rather than a scholarly historian. Even though it is set in wartime it isn’t a war novel. I remembered thinking I wanted to write something as timeless as her book.
After reading “Gone With the Wind” not once, but twice, it planted a seed in me to eventually write my memoirs. Needless to say my memoirs project has been on-going for a number of years now. It has never left me and I know one day it will all come together. In the meantime, when I decided to start my writing project I realized I needed to write other pieces, at least for practice and experience.
One of the things I excelled in during my college years was writing. It gave me a great deal of validation and determination to eventually pursue writing as a possible career. Unfortunately living in a city with very little writing opportunities was very discouraging. I never gave up and eventually found an outlet to do writing on a continuous basis. Yes, the book “Gone With the Wind” is something I still look to for ongoing inspiration. It was a book written completely from a women’s point where her female lead character was the entire focal point. This was at a time when it wasn’t the standard practice. You could say Margaret Mitchell and her famous novel pushed the envelope for future writers.
Christina Lewis, “Margaret Mitchell, Gone With the Wind”, LiteraryTraveler.com
Craig Wilson, “Classic novel ‘Gone With the Wind’ turns 75,” USAToday.com
The New Georgia Encyclopedia, Gone With the Wind (Novel), GeorgiaEncyclopedia.org