Melissa's Reviews > Gone with the Wind

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
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's review
Dec 24, 13

Read from June 29, 2012 to December 24, 2013

I've read this book and seen the movie numerous times. I discover more and more about the story each time I read it. This time around I particularly paid attention to the little known characters that did not make it in to the movie but have a huge impact upon the story. Grandma Fontaine, Will Benteen, characters who can relate to Scarlett's plight. Grandma Fontaine who speaks from experience when she tells Scarlett to always save something to fear just as she saves something to love. Grandma encourages her to get out there and pick that cotton and stop bemoaning the fact that there's no one else to do it. Will Benteen who comes along and shoulders some of the responsibility of Tara, who is also a bit of an opportunist and who seems to be able to understand Scarlett and not judge her for her often times ruthless actions. And then there's Archie, the murderer. Neither he nor Scarlett hide the fact that they hate each other but Scarlett needs him to drive her and he is beholden to Melanie who has taken him in. It is Archie and not Mammy who guards the ladies on the night that Frank is killed and it is Archie who is sent out on orders to cover up the incident which got Frank killed.

Scarlett is easy to dislike because of her actions but in that same vein, she is easy to admire for not staying down when beaten down. My question to her would be was it all worth it?

Updated review: One of my favorite novels to reread. My feelings about the characters have changed over the years and I found one little gem in the story this reading that pretty much sums up the whole 1,000 pages. It comes from Grandma Fontaine and it deals with a continual theme throughout the book of overcoming adversity.
Grandma Fontaine only shows up in the story a couple of times. She advises Scarlett on how to move forward when all is crumbling down around her after the death of her mother and her father's decline in mental health. She kick starts Scarlett with the idea that she can get out there and pick that cotton with her own two hands. We learn that Grandma Fontaine's life has been none too easy. She lost her family to a Creek uprising when she was Scarlett's age and admits that because of this she has faced the worst a person can face in life and it made her bitter and hard.
Grandma Fontaine appears again in the story after the death of Scarlett's father. The wise old matriarch of the Fontaine family wraps up the whole story of Gone With the Wind in one statement to Scarlett: "We're not wheat, we're buckwheat! When a storm comes along it flattens ripe wheat because it's dry and can't bend with the wind. But ripe buckwheat's got sap in it and it bends. And when the wind has passed, it springs up almost as straight and strong as before. We aren't a stiff-necked tribe. We're mighty limber when a hard wind's blowing, because we know it pays to be limber. When trouble comes we bow to the inevitable without any mouthing, and we work and we smile and we bide our time. And we play along with lesser folks and we take what we can get from them. And when we're strong enough, we kick the folks whose necks we've climbed over. That, my child, is the secret of the survival." And after a pause, she added: "I pass it on to you." What a great cost to Scarlett to survive in such a manner.


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