Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Thoughts on Gone With the Wind


I did not set out to listen to this once again. I just wanted to check a passage at the very beginning of the book, and so I decided to listen to that point. Probably about 150 pages in. I got sucked in to this story ONCE AGAIN.

My eyes and ears were much more attuned to the story outside of Scarlet and Rhett this time, which I have to confess is what must have been the only thing I paid attention to in times past. The sugar coated, slavery is a good institution pre war attitude almost made me put the book down. Then the post war, hateful, name calling, one sided -- south was right north was wrong -- attitude was excruciating, but by then I was too vested, and before long it got bearable again. I do remember hating the second part of the book when I was younger, and this must have been why. It's a far cry from even the new Harper Lee book and is just shocking.

As to the whole Scarlet (and Rhett, etc. etc.) thing, I think my view on her (and him, them, etc.) has not changed, but has definitely deepened. I'm perhaps more amazed that her POV was written when it was. We tend to think that that feminist revolution made women, but the fact is that it didn't, it just made a lot of women realize that there were others out there. (That is not to deny that legal changes didn't make sweeping changes for women's lives, both good and bad, but that isn't what I am talking about).


What an interesting story. Now, I confess, I'm scared to read the new Mammy version. What an indictment that must be. But I want to. Maybe I shall. 

However, if it is being told from that generation, I do think it is what the plantation owner class, esp. women, did. How else could you live with it, without sugar coating it -- no, no slave was ever beaten or mistreated in the whole county, etc. etc., our way was better, they are going to kill us all, the Clan is required, etc. etc. I guess I worry that this book will be torn down from the libraries, and I hope it won't be. We need books like this to show us where we truly were so that we can never ever go there again, and so that we can understand how the true anguish caused by the sins of the past do still reverberate.

Books don't tend to be written one sided any more, if anything they are politically correct and show both sides so you can see that the truth is somewhere out there and dependent upon your vantage point. But if we are too politically correct, especially in times past, then we are not being honest. How do we tell these stories? How do we keep these old stories from being ripped away, just because they make us hate what we are hearing and experiencing when we read them? I don't know.



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