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Group Read Discussions > Spoilers for Gone With the Wind

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message 1: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10095 comments Mod
Let me have it!

message 2: by Cathy (new)

Cathy (granniepurpyl) LOVED IT, LOVED IT!!! Historical fiction, set in the south, Civil War - everything I love. I read the sequel, Scarlet, & have the prequel, Rhett's People in my TBR pile. So many classic lines come from this book. What's not to love??

So many books...

message 3: by Carol (last edited May 02, 2010 03:09PM) (new)

Carol This is a mountainous book to get through.Ms. Mitchell really developed her characters well. Her grasp of the civil war was extraordinary. The battle scene descriptions are very accurate as is the burning of Atlanta and Sherman's march to the sea. His scorched earth campaign was one of the deciding campaign's of the war. There was an interesting fact about Lee's army's surrender at Appomattox.

General Lee leaves
From a contemporary sketch.
"At a little before 4 o'clock General Lee shook hands with General Grant, bowed to the other officers, and with Colonel Marshall left the room. One after another we followed, and passed out to the porch. Lee signaled to his orderly to bring up his horse, and while the animal was being bridled the general stood on the lowest step and gazed sadly in the direction of the valley beyond where his army lay - now an army of prisoners. He smote his hands together a number of times in an absent sort of way; seemed not to see the group of Union officers in the yard who rose respectfully at his approach, and appeared unconscious of everything about him. All appreciated the sadness that overwhelmed him, and he had the personal sympathy of every one who beheld him at this supreme moment of trial. The approach of his horse seemed to recall him from his reverie, and he at once mounted. General Grant now stepped down from the porch, and, moving toward him, saluted him by raising his hat. He was followed in this act of courtesy by all our officers present; Lee raised his hat respectfully, and rode off to break the sad news to the brave fellows whom he had so long commanded."

For 4 miles, Union soldiers lined the road and saluted their brethren of the confederate Army. That day the Union Army fed over 20,000 thousand confederate soldiers. The bringing together of a nation started by that simple act of respect and comfort for a defeated army.

message 4: by Carol (last edited May 02, 2010 03:07PM) (new)

Carol Here is a recorded tidbit in army documents. I found it very moving

The momentous meaning of this occasion impressed me deeply. I resolved to mark it by some token of recognition, which could be no other than a salute of arms. Well aware of the responsibility assumed, and of the criticisms that would follow, as the sequel proved, nothing of that kind could move me in the least. The act could be defended, if needful, by the suggestion that such a salute was not to the cause for which the flag of the Confederacy stood, but to its going down before the flag of the Union. My main reason, however, was one for which I sought no authority nor asked forgiveness. Before us in proud humiliation stood the embodiment of manhood: men whom neither toils and sufferings, nor the fact of death, nor disaster, nor hopelessness could bend from their resolve; standing before us now, thin, worn, and famished, but erect, and with eyes looking level into ours, waking memories that bound us together as no other bond;—was not such manhood to be welcomed back into a Union so tested and assured? Instructions had been given; and when the head of each division column comes opposite our group, our bugle sounds the signal and instantly our whole line from right to left, regiment by regiment in succession, gives the soldier's salutation, from the "order arms" to the old "carry"—the marching salute. Gordon at the head of the column, riding with heavy spirit and downcast face, catches the sound of shifting arms, looks up, and, taking the meaning, wheels superbly, making with himself and his horse one uplifted figure, with profound salutation as he drops the point of his sword to the boot toe; then facing to his own command, gives word for his successive brigades to pass us with the same position of the manual,—honor answering honor. On our part not a sound of trumpet more, nor roll of drum; not a cheer, nor word nor whisper of vain-glorying, nor motion of man standing again at the order, but an awed stillness rather, and breath-holding, as if it were the passing of the dead!

– Joshua L. Chamberlain, Passing of the Armies, pp. 260-61

message 5: by Katie (new)

Katie Flora Wilkins (kflora) Although this is one of the monthly reads, it's a long and complicated read. To think it could be read and discussed in a month is very ambitious.

My mom was/is a GWTW FAN, book and movie. The first time I saw the movie, I was 5 y.o., and it was at a theater. I freaked out during the amputation scene. I've seen the movie countless times since then, and read the book at least three times (I usually read a book once and then I'm done with it).

message 6: by tiasreads (new)

tiasreads I have read this book every year for years, it is that good. The movie is great, but the book has so much more detail. During the movie, you wonder sometimes why a man like Rhett loves such an ignorant brat like Scarlett. But the book fleshes her out more and you get a sense of the person under the facade she puts on for the world. The only thing that really bothers me about the book is the free use of the 'N' word. I know that use of that word was common and acceptable in Margaret Mitchell's time, but it still makes me cringe. I am a Southerner and some people think that automatically makes me a racist, but that word is strictly forbidden in my family. That word and the way she glamorized the KKK, those two things bug me. Otherwise, a fabulous book.

message 7: by Carol (new)

Carol Suzanne, not only does everyone categorize the women of the south as racists, but insipid creatures that are all fluff and no substance. But in real life they have backbones made of steel. Scarlet for all her bratty ways, was a strong woman. They needed to be strong for all they went through. Their men not only suffered defeat ,but the women had to take care of the home front and nurture their male kinfolk.

I found Scarlet maddening at times,but all and all she was a genuine character and somewhat of an optimist, because she couldn't believe she would not achieve her goal. I don't think Margaret Mitchell glamorized the KKK. She had Rhett there to be an equalizer, and the voice of reason.

You could say her love of Ashley was allegorical for the South and the Southern life. It is difficult to change, but in the end Scarlet realized Rhett was truly for her.

The South realized the lack of industries caused their defeat, but a United States was much stronger country than two divided states. In the end the south knew their life style was going to change. Some embraced it with full measure and others like Scarlet adapted. I know I made it sound so simple and it was not. We have read the toll it took on every ones lives.

I will await before I say more. I want to hear what others think.

message 8: by El (new)

El I read this several years ago, so I probably won't participate in the discussion very much - I remember feeling so-so about it, mostly because of Scarlett and Rhett... I felt similarly about them as I did about Catherine and Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights (as in neither character had many redeeming qualities about them). What GWTW had going for it was the interesting historical background. Interestingly, a quick look back I see I gave GWTW 4 stars. I'm not sure if I still feel it's a 4-star book, but I don't like changing those things after the fact. I must have felt better about it at the time.

Kudos to Carol for the inclusion of the Chamberlain document. I've had a soft spot for him ever since reading The Killer Angels and then watching Gettysburg - Jeff Daniels was an incredible Chamberlain.

I used to work with a nurse who said GWTW was her all-time favorite book, and she would read it once a year. After many years of this, she finally convinced her husband to read it. He thought he'd hate it, and he grumbled about it a lot, but she caught him crying over it. She said she felt pretty powerful after that. :)

message 9: by Carol (new)

Carol Putting Scarlet and Rhett aside for the moment, do you think the war and the aftermath were accurately portrayed by Ms. Mitchell. How do you think her knowledge rated.

message 10: by Elena (new)

Elena I plan to read this book. I won't start it until later this month. I think I read it many, many years ago.

message 11: by El (new)

El Carol, if I remember correctly she did a good amount of research. I guess my point is, if I wasn't distracted by false information enough to remember then it must have been pretty accurate. I do remember reading somewhere that a lot of what she wrote about the war and after was taken from family stories she grew up hearing. Family stories often can be somewhat glorified (like, "Hey, I lived through this craziness, listen to this!") or mis-remembered if the family member telling the story was young at the time it occurred. I tell stories now about my childhood and my older brothers are often like, "Dummy, that's not how it happened." :) But I think it's the historical accuracy of GWTW that is appealing to so many readers - and I think the book was more accurate than the movie. I seem to remember a lot being left out of the movie - because the book is so spanking huge, and the movie was done before Peter Jackson could make money off of it. :)

message 12: by Jessica (new)

Jessica (rhiannonsgrace) | 17 comments I discovered GWTW the book a year ago. In that year I read Scarlett and Rhett Butler's people. At one point my friends began to fear for their curtaions.

I love this book. I love it more today then the day I first opened the front cover and started reading. Mitchell's heroine left a lot to be desired in many ways. But I think that's what's made her such and endearing and long living character.

Scarlett was fallible. She had many issues, but she was also determined to make it, no matter what. She was going to have her lifestyle back, her station, and she was going to pull those she cared about with her onto that platform no matter how reluctant they were.

She realised how much she loved Rhett only when he left her, she realised how good a friend Melanie was only when Melanie died; and it wasn't until that moment that she realised that she never loved Ashley, she only loved the idea of him.

How many of us have been in a situation where we didn't realise how much we valued someone until they had departed from our lives in one form or another? How many of us have "loved" the wrong person, while the right person was standing in front of us waiting for us to see? I think these universal themes are at the heart of the book's enduring through the years.

"Scarlett O'Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm..." I love this line. It immediately let's us know that she is not the beautiful and gorgeous Vivian Leigh. She was an average woman like so many of. But she did have many admirable qualities. I think her stubborness was one of them.

Without her stubborness and tenacity, without her determination her sisters and father would have starved to death. Without her Melanie and Beau would have died in Atlanta. Without her so many people who later scorned her wouldn't have had a chance. She was the tip of the spearhead. She refused to be broken no matter what Sherman decided to do.

I think in all honesty, she is one of my heroes. lol

message 13: by Carol (new)

Carol El yes you are accurate, she said a lot was from an uncle I think who was in the war. It is a good portrayal of Southern life before, during and after the war. These women were amazing. They were cottled and spoiled but many lost so much, they just didn't have time to think about anything but survival. It is a wonderful fictional book, that brings the glory and ugliness alive .

The blockade runners were very essential during the war and they made huge amounts of money.I think everyone at that time were exploited.

message 14: by Mary (last edited May 06, 2010 04:29PM) (new)

Mary (madamefifi) | 358 comments Jessica--well said! I've read GWTW numerous times and my admiration for Scarlett only grows stronger with each reading. She refuses to be stuck in the past and has no patience for people who long for the old days. Her world after the war is brutal and strange but she faces it full on and conquers it. Her Mammy put it best when she says "What that child got to stand the Lord give her the strength to stand", which I think is actually a quote from the movie, lol, but it sums up Scarlett's endurance very nicely.

message 15: by Carol (new)

Carol Mary wrote: "Jessica--well said! I've read GWTW numerous times and my admiration for Scarlett only grows stronger with each reading. She refuses to be stuck in the past and has no patience for people who long f..."

In a nutshell girls.

Tanya (aka ListObsessedReader) (listobsessed) | 317 comments I think Margaret Mitchell was very brave writing such a huge saga about such a flawed heroine. However I also think she was very skilled to make it so compelling.

I have been meaning to read this book for some time, so I was really happy when it came up for the group read. (The last few months of almost all of the group reads have been long time tbrs of mine, so it's been great!) And now that I've read it I can say I loved it! It's one of those great big books that you can't wait to finish and hate to end.

message 17: by Kerri (new)

Kerri Carol (akittykat) wrote: "This is a mountainous book to get through.Ms. Mitchell really developed her characters well. Her grasp of the civil war was extraordinary. The battle scene descriptions are very accurate as is the ..."

Carol, both of your posted accounts were beyond "moving." The scope of what the men and women endured during the Civil War is beyond grasping....even an attempt at understanding it grabs my heart and catches my breath.

message 18: by Carol (new)

Carol Thank You! Gone with the Wind is one of my favorites. The movie and the book, although the movie does not portray the scope of Scarlet's and Rhett's Characters and not the others in the book.

message 19: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Tipescu I have to admit, I was not looking forward to reading this book. I am probably one of the few females who did not like the movie. I think I was too young to appreciate it. And having said that, I LOVED THIS BOOK! I could not put it down. The detail of what life was like during that time was incredible. Scarlett was a very strong woman who did what she needed to do to support her family. She wasn't perfect, which only made her more believable. I will definitely be reading this book again.

message 20: by Kerri (last edited May 23, 2010 09:03PM) (new)

Kerri I first read this story when I was in my early twenties. At that time (20 years ago), I liked it a lot, but definitely struggled with the differences between the movie (which I had seen as a young girl) and the book. I thought it was really long and I strongly disliked the unhappy ending....back then, I would have rated it 4 stars. Today, as a forty-something....I definitely rate it 5 stars. I still think it's super long, but oh-so-wonderful! What an incredible epic story with characters filled with depth and emotion. My heart still breaks with the certainly left me wanting more even after the huge sense of accomplishment I felt as I finally read the last sentence and closed the cover. An amazing book.

message 21: by Karina (new)

Karina I enjoyed the book, however struggled towards the end (until all the climatic goings on at the end) because it was so long but the best part about it was that the characters were well developed and so believable. I believed in the flawed heroine that was Scarlett O'Hara and it was even more believable that there was no happy ending for her. I wanted to shake her and slap her when she let Rhett walk away and all she could think of was going back to Tara. That tomorrow was another day! She should've seized the moment and gone after the man she suddenly loved! She was foolish and stupid but so real! Now the question is should I watch the movie...

message 22: by Kerri (new)

Kerri I drove all over town last night and today trying to find a Gone With the Wind DVD (wanted to buy one for my personal library now that I'm so attached to the story...I want to watch it ASAP and didn't want to wait for it to come in the mail).....after going into several stores, I finally found a 70th Anniversary edition. I was very perplexed as to why it was so hard to find....the first 5 stores I went to didn't even have a spot on the shelf for it. The book's 75th Anniversary is 2011....I wonder if they are getting ready to have some sort of special re-release or big celebration??

message 23: by Kerri (new)

Kerri The book will be 75 next year, but the movie didn't premiere until 1939 so that doesn't explain why it wasn't out on the shelves.....

message 24: by Elena (new)

Elena I finish the book and I am very glad I read it. I have heard people say they don't a want a book to end and now I understand what they mean. I could keep reading about this people forever.

It is fascinating to read the reviews and comments of the book, and the different point of view from the people that don't like it. For me, the fact it stir so much emotion on each side, proves that it is a great book.

I have put the movie on my Netflix queue.

message 25: by Jaclyn (new)

Jaclyn (jaclynr0806) | 88 comments I just finished this book last night. I loved it and totally agree with Tanya that it's one of those great big books that you can't wait to finish and hate to end. The ending broke my heart but it was so fitting at the same time that I was left feeling a little mixed about it. You would have respected Rhett less for staying but I so wanted him and Scarlett to finally be happy together.
I loved all the detail about what it was like for Southerners during the Civil War and how the aftermath affected them. It was like an interesting and enjoyable history lesson. I'm glad to hear that although it's not a history text, it's well-researched and fairly accurate. Not being much of a history buff, I'm always doubly pleased when in the process of reading an enjoyable book I can learn a bit more about the world and other times.

message 26: by Elena (new)

Elena Well, there was hope at the end that Scarlett would win Reth's heart again...she was going to try. I like to imagine that she conquers him in the future.

message 27: by Kerri (new)

Kerri Elena wrote: "Well, there was hope at the end that Scarlett would win Reth's heart again...she was going to try. I like to imagine that she conquers him in the future."

Me, too!!! My personal theory is that she went back to Tara, got revitalized and then went off to Charleston to win him back. I'm sure he would make her jump through quite a few hoops, but eventually she would wear him down!!!!

message 28: by Carol (new)

Carol Then don't read Scarlett the sequel. I hated that book. I don't think Ms. Mitchell would have liked it very much either. I do think Scarlett was one to burn her bridges. I think it was to little to late for Rhett. But as you say Scarlett was one determined woman. I think the only way she might win Rhett back was to have another child by him. If someone else came along and could have his child, he would not give Scarlett another thought.

message 29: by Kerri (new)

Kerri You know....Margaret Mitchell never really resolved or explained the whole "ward in New Orleans" that Rhett talked about. I know Belle talked about having a child at one point....was that Rhett's?? Or was Rhett just looking after him? Or was it a child completely unrelated to Belle?? Any insight??

message 30: by Kerri (new)

Kerri Carol (akittykat) wrote: "Then don't read Scarlett the sequel. I hated that book. I don't think Ms. Mitchell would have liked it very much either. I do think Scarlett was one to burn her bridges. I think it was to little to..."

I did read Scarlett years ago, but don't remember much about it. I know she went to Ireland...wasn't Rhett in the picture? I'm pretty certain that Margaret Mitchell's Scarlett would have stayed in Georgia.

message 31: by Carol (new)

Carol Kerri wrote: "You know....Margaret Mitchell never really resolved or explained the whole "ward in New Orleans" that Rhett talked about. I know Belle talked about having a child at one point....was that Rhett's?..."

Belle's child was not Rhetts, It was someone else's I got the feeling it was someone in Rhett's family who was the father. Rhett and Belle forged a strong bond with each other that had moved beyond sex, at least on Rhett's part, especially when Scarlett was in the picture.

In some ways the war lent Scarlett a certain amount of maturity, but when it came to men in her life she reverted to the guile of her youth. She was very predictable .

message 32: by Elena (new)

Elena Kerri wrote: "You know....Margaret Mitchell never really resolved or explained the whole "ward in New Orleans" that Rhett talked about. I know Belle talked about having a child at one point....was that Rhett's?..."

I think Bellas' child was Reth's. I didn't understand why, loving children as he did, he would not acknowledge it. At the end, when he said he will come once in a while to keep appearances for Scarlet, who was worried about people saying they divorced, I realized he probably did not do anything in this case for appearances purposes also. For the child sakes', not them.

message 33: by Tara (new)

Tara I was wondering about that too. I read this a few weeks ago so some of the details are already fading, but we never learned if the child in New Orleans was Belle's, right? I thought that it was probably Rhett and Belle's child together, but it didn't make much sense to me that neither parent was present all the time. I like some of the other theories you guys have suggested though.

As for my 2 cents, I also loved this novel. I admit, I was just hoping for a happy ending so I was torn apart by Rhett no longer loving Scarlett when she finally realized how much she loved him. And all the tragic deaths! Such a sad novel, and yet, so good!

message 34: by Carol (new)

Carol Oh I think Rhett still loved Scarlett , he just could not tolerate her insensitivity any longer. In the end they were so much alike.

message 35: by [deleted user] (new)

One of my favourites, this book is so rich and detailed! I love/hate Scarlett O'Hara, and adore Rhett Butler! I grew up loving the movie, but so much more happens in the book, I was a convert right away. An epic read, if ever there was one, in my opinion.

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