Raye's Reviews > The Wind

The Wind by Dorothy Scarborough
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's review
Oct 23, 2011

really liked it
Read in October, 2011

Imagine yourself to be a sheltered and pampered 18-year-old girl living in Virginia in a snug house surrounded by orchards, flowers, and streams. And then a family death and overwhelming debts force you to travel to live with a relative in an unpainted wood-frame shack on a ranch, where the area is suffering its worst-ever drought--no trees, no greenery, no water. And the wind blows all the time. How would you fare?

The year is 1887 and the ranch location is outside Sweetwater, Texas. Letty Mason is not at all prepared for her new environment, particularly not for the weather. Circumstances go from bad to worse as her relative's wife begins to resent Letty's intrusion, and she finds herself almost forced into making a loveless marriage. She begins to think of the constant wind as a demon, and "began dimly to comprehend how women tried beyond endurance might sometimes go mad."

Later in the novel, she personifies the ever-present winds in her mind and believes they are trying to destroy her. She thinks, "Hell was a place where the winds blew all the time, winds that tormented you, but would not let you die....Demon winds!...."

This novel is somewhat melodramatic, although historical accounts tell of pioneering women who, indeed, went mad. Descriptions of the sights and sounds of the landscape are amazingly evocative, and the dialogue of the West Texas cowboys sounds just right. A reader who has never lived "where the wind comes sweeping down the plain" may dismiss the heroine's obsession with the wind as overdrawn, but for anyone who has ever lived in West Texas (as I have), it will seem entirely plausible.

'The Wind' was written in 1925 and caused a great furor at the time from Chambers of Commerce in the area, but today it is acknowledged by many critics to be a classic of Texas literature.

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