Gone With the Wind

Given that I spend a great deal of the during the school year reading children’s books, I especially enjoy reading more “adult” literature in the summer. Not “adult” in the mature-content definition per se, but “adult” as in “literature.” To that end, I’m taking a class at Northwestern University this summer titled, “The Deep South,” The focus is on the works of southern writers including William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, and Carson McCullers. To start off the class, however, we’re reading Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. Many of us have read GWTW. Many of us have seen the movie. We know Scarlett and her story. Why re-read it?

Why, indeed! In part one alone, Margaret Mitchell provides us with the backstory on every major character, sets the stage for the war, foreshadows events between Scarlett and Rhett, and moves Scarlett through major life events from marriage, to widowhood, and finally, to motherhood. The story is sweeping. The writing is masterful.

The book was (and is) a blockbuster. An article that appeared in New Republic on September 16, 1936, recounted GWTW‘s sales history. The book was published the week of June 29, 1936 and in that week had its fifth printing. The sixth printing was the week of July 13. The movie rights were purchased by Selznick International on July 15. In early August, 1936, it went into its ninth printing. A million copies were sold in the first six months (source: http://www.margaretmitchellhouse.com). And all of this while the country is in the midst of a depression.

As a reader, I’ve been swept back to another time. I’m in the grasp of memorable characters. I’m caught up romantic dreams. I’m amazed at the resilience and survival of the human spirit. There. Reasons to re-read GWTW.

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1 Response to “Gone With the Wind”


  1. 1 Jillian ♣ June 21, 2012 at 3:19 am

    This is my favorite novel of all time. :)


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