Lesson 2: Tomorrow is another day!

2

Gone with the Wind is my best fav. novel, also is a romantic drama and the only novel written by Margaret Mitchell. It is set in Jonesboro and Atlanta, Georgia during the American Civil War and Reconstruction. and follows the life of Scarlett O’Hara, the daughter of an Irish immigrant plantation owner.

And the writes: Mitchell, is a legendary recollection of the last brilliance of the Old South. The writer’s debut novel was an instant success. And the story has been bestowed an even further reaching popularity since Vivian Leigh presented a vivid translation to the screen of Katie Scarlett O’Hara, a southern belle raised in her father’s white-pillared plantation Tara. A climax of Hollywood, from Director Victor Fleming for MGM, Gone with the Wind is more than a vicissitude, it is also an old, lost culture revisited.

It is Old South, which today is no more than a dream remembered. People were once there, living with the high strong slaves’ songs in the quarters, in security, peace and eternity. Here, Scarlett spends her young maiden years. She is well disciplined by her mother, but her blazing green eyes always betray her covert capricious self; the one who enjoys parties and the surrounding ofbeaus. She dreams to marry the noble Ashley Wilkes. The impending war shatters the golden peace of the South, and leaves many lives permanently changed. Plantations, treasures, and honor are ruined. Scarlett is made a most peculiar widow by the war, and then compelled into a second marriage in continuation of her struggle for the salvation of Tara. And her third marriage to Rhett Butler is also jeopardized because of her secret, stubborn ardency for Ashley.

In the end of the movie, Scarlett is left only with her Tara, a plantation which symbolizes the culture of the Old South, a place where she could ever gather her strength. Because tomorrow is another day, just go for it!

Gone with the Wind is a moving novel whose story evokes my sympathy a thousand and one times and leads me to think profoundly about love and life in a realistic manner. 

Among all the characters, Scarlett and Rhett impress me most. On one hand, they both are people with unique personalities; on the other, their romance which has come a long way does not have a happy ending. My impression of Scarlett is ambivalent. She is much too naïve, even silly, and too vain in early years. Being a daughter of a rich family and extraordinarily charming, she is always surrounded by pursuers, which makes her vain and proud. Her love for Ashley, I think, is more the love for conquering a man who “does not lose heart to so beautiful and elegant a woman as her”, than the pure love for Ashley himself. Perhaps she was simply driven by her vanity and pride to do so; perhaps she just cannot bear it that there should be a man who does not love her. But isn’t that childish and silly?

Also, she impulsively marries Charles, a man who she does not love, only out of the purpose to “take revenge”. She is much more like a naïve little girl than a mature woman. While her perception of love dismays me, yet her persistence does touch me. Few women who are confronted with the same wretched situations as hers can live with them, let alone make a way out. But Scarlett makes it. When she finds Tara Manor burnt to the ground, her mother dead and her father mad, she does not break down; instead, she determines to regain the glorious happy old days, and she works really hard on the manor, which she has never done before. And when she comes across a Yankee soldier on her manor, she bravely kills him instead of screaming and running away, which in the past she would be very likely to do. To make a living, she establishes her own wood business, and runs it quite well. Despite her egoism, she is undoubtedly a strong-hearted woman who will never give in to fate and who actually has a kind heart and savvy mind. Those are merits difficult to be found in women of her time. 

As a matter of fact, I am not sure whether I like or dislike her. I admire her frankness, bravery and persistence, but I despise her perception of love. Another key role, Rhett Butler, gains my favor more. He is just as perseverant in pursuing love, but much more mature than Scarlett. 

Unlike Scarlett, he knows his love well, and knows how to love the other. He knows Scarlett is childish and vain, but he tolerates it, rather than get furious with it or try to change it. For example, on the ball in Atlantic, when he knows Scarlett loves dancing but is not supposed to dance because she is in her widowhood, he invites her to dance with him in the name of fundraising for the Southern army, which satisfies her desire and at the same time avoids getting her into blame or gossip. And whenever Scarlett is in need, he just gives her whatever he can, regardless of what he may get from her. Deep in his heart, he likes to see Scarlett happy. That is what I believe love is: to love to see your beloved one happy. Besides R’s perception of love, his bravery and resourcefulness also impress me. 

He must have a strong love for his mother land; otherwise he will not bother to join the Southern army even though he himself knows very well that the South will soon end in failure. And he is so resourceful a man that he manages to transport munitions from North to South and make a large sum of money out of the trade. But what I see in him is not just about merits, after all. 

I also see in him a flighty heart and a selfish mind, which, although, might not be what he himself likes but the result of the times. Throughout his life I dare say he may well have loved and kept in relationship with not a few women. And despite his gentleness, he is also kind of selfish. For instance, he misappropriates the fund of the Southern army. Anyway, I like Rhett. He is in general a respectable good man. 

All in all, the story was very realistic, and the characters very close to life. Perhaps that’s why this novel is so famous and popular ever since it came out. For my own part, I like the novel, for it not only presents me an affecting story, but makes me think about much: about love, and about life.

Best Regards,
LuJia曹鹭佳

previous:
The first lesson
next:
Lesson 3: Wait and Hope

2 Comments »

  1. Benjamin

    April 13, 2021 @ 5:44 am

    1

    Thank you, prof. Cao.

  2. madaran

    April 13, 2021 @ 9:19 pm

    2

    hi. wish you best

Leave a Comment