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gone-with-the-windI started Gone with the Wind twice — I guess I needed to be sick in order to really take the plunge into this 1,037-page “epic novel” — and the second try easily sucked me in. The sweeping description of Northern Georgia and Tara made me long for the place I haven’t seen since I was four. I came to love Scarlett — her determination, her spunk.

“But for all the modesty of her spreading skirts, the demureness of hair netted smoothly into a chignon and the quietness of small white hands folded in her lap, her true self was poorly concealed. The green eyes in the carefully sweet face were turbulent, willful, lusty with life, distinctly at variance with her decorous demeanor. Her manners had been imposed upon her by her mother’s gentle admonitions and the sterner discipline of her mammy; her eyes were her own.” {pg. 3}

And, as I’ve come to notice, Rhett Butler is possibly the smartest man in Gone with the Wind. He recognizes that the Confederate is at a disadvantage, after all the Yankees have “thousands of immigrants who’d be glad to fight for the Yankees for food and a few dollars, the factories, the foundries, the shipyards, the iron and coal mines — all the things we [the Confederate] haven’t got. Why, all we have is cotton and slaves and arrogance. They’d lick us in a month.” {pg. 111} And, like Matt, I couldn’t help but compare him to Mr. Darcy of Pride & Prejudice during both his first interaction with Scarlett — when he overhears her confession of love to Ashley – and the conversation and dance they share in Atlanta more than a year later. Darcy is enamored with Miss Elizabeth Bennett’s fire and Butler is enamored with Miss O’Hara’s fire.

“When I first met you, I thought: There is a girl in a million. She isn’t like these other silly little fools who believe everything their mammas tell them and act on it, no matter how they feel. And conceal all their feelings and desires and little heartbreaks behind a lot of sweet words. I thought: Miss O’Hara is a girl of rare spirit. She knows what she wants and she doesn’t mind speaking her mind — or throwing vases.” {pg. 187}

The community is distrustful and unwelcoming of him since he and a young lady “stayed out nearly all night” and “he refused to marry her the next day.” {pg. 99} Of course, Darcy did nothing of the sort, but both he and Butler are very prideful and Butler is quick to point out how little thought his hosts have given to the whole Civil War.

“Has any one of you gentlemen ever thought that there’s not a canon factory south of the Mason-Dixon Line? OR how few iron foundries there are in the South? Or woolen mills or cotton factories or tanneries? Have you thought that we would not have a single warship and that the Yankee fleet could bottle up our harbors in a week, so that we could not sell our cotton abroad?” {pg. 110}

Maybe the similarities to Darcy are why adore him so, but I do. Scarlett, on the other hand, is a different manner because as soon as she married Charles, I loathed her. She comes off as very whiney and very selfish and very consumed with the notion that Ashley loves her. Towards the end of chapter nine, my loathing has turned into heated dislike, so hopefully I grow to like her again. I can only hope so because I heartily dislike books in which I hate the main character.

As I’m trying to follow along with Matt’s reading plans, and finish the book on or by my birthday, here’s the {tentative} schedule for the remainder of the read-a-along:

  • Week 1 {March 1-7}: end of Chp. 9 or pg. 196
  • Week 2 {March 8-14}: end of Chp. 25 or pg. 436
  • Week 3 {March 15-21}: end of Chp. 37 or pg. 644
  • Week 4 {March 22-28}: end of Chp. 50 or pg. 892
  • Week 5 {March 29-April 4}: end of Chp. 63 or pg. 1037
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