Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind: Then Versus Now

Margaret Mitchell’s book Gone With The Wind is an all time classic that is set during the Civil War era.

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Since the books original release date on June 30th, 1936, Gone With The Wind has remained a classic. During the Civil War, Scarlett O’Hara, struggles to survive as a daughter of a plantation owner. Given it takes place in the spring of 1861, Scarlett O’Hara has to find a suitor as a Southern belle. Notably, Scarlett lives in Georgia on a plantation called Tara and, when the Civil War kicks off, an internal war begins. Throughout this, Scarlett wrestles with her love for Ashley Wilkes. A compelling fact to note is that slavery was at the center of this book. Now, modern readers question how this book has aged and whether this book is still appropriate for contemporary audiences.


When this book first came out it sold a total of one million copies only months after its publication. Also, in 1937 Gone With The Wind won the Pulitzer Prize. Significantly, this book represented the Old South and a man who saves Scarlett from herself. Then as the war continues on, moving to Atlanta, Scarlett begins to realize just how much the war has impacted her day to day living. For example, resources became scarce and forced Scarlett into a panic as violent tensions rose as well. In addition, the book mentions how her husband Charles dies at war and Ashley is sent to prison as a war criminal.

As a result, Scarlett begins to see changes in the ways of the South. By all means the Yankees began to take over the South and modernize it to fit the standards of the North. Certainly, Scarlett wishes for old times because her life was much similar. In view of this, readers from the past could relate as they wished to relive their childhoods when there was less to worry about. Seeing this, shows why this book had such a big popularity. Especially, after World War one where corruption and imperialism grew at an all time high. For this reason, the Old South became a symbol that represented peace and simpler living.

By the same token, the hero of the story is also important because in Gone With The Wind they save Scarlett in a way that has never been portrayed in books before. Yet, for that time there were still some people who were against it. After all, this was a new style of writing that exposed issues in America, but also had racy content between Scarlett and the heroine. Even so, most found it refreshing as it talked about the issues of slavery and how historically it played out. Certainly, this is why the book translated well into a movie.

“Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect.”

Margaret Mitchell

To summarize this quote, Margaret Mitchell explains how it’s a writer’s responsibility to create stories that have complex or unsolvable problems, because that’s what life is about, the unexpected. Until now, this book was required in schools as a part of the classic reading list. When this book came out it showed perspectives and contrast between Scarlett and the slaves in the South. Since then, people question the moralities of it and whether it is in fact offensive to black people. Equally, readers can acknowledge the book’s purpose of teaching adversity to strengthen people to live better lives. Not to mention how enraged society feels about the mentions of slavery and what they believe is false feminism.

Coupled with these reasons there is a clear comparison of the South’s commander to current leaders who are immoral and lack values. These connections could not be more clear as America faces a new divide in political parties. Namely, Gone With The Wind shows communication and personal growth in respecting your enemies. Another key point is that this book was written in a different era where these expectations were not clear-cut and any issue was up for discussion. For fear that this book will spread hatred, it has been banned from public schools. However, this book is still available in bookstores, but has moved to the banned book section.

Given these points, this book is still relevant today as more readers discuss the implications of it. Whether it has been commemorated or arguably destroyed, the fiction plot still remains the same. In a word, Scarlett will always chase after Ashley, forgetting to enjoy the little things in life as war changes everything. After all, slavery is an important issue to discuss and the perspectives between the book and the readers is just as important as the writing itself. On the Whole, Maragret Mitchell wrote this book because she believed in personal development in the face of hardships. Yet, she also wanted people to challenge the slavery scenes, while the reader follows the herione to save the day.