January 19, 2023

#08-278: Gone with the Wind

Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara and Clark Gable as Rhett Butler
in a poster for the 1939 film version of Gone with the Wind (Wikipedia)

Note: The classic novel Gone with the Wind is set against the horrors of the American Civil War, but is really about the stormy relationship between two passionate people.

Get Ready: Would you ever marry someone for money?

Whenever movie and TV awards season in America rolls around, we naturally think of some of the great films--and great years--in the history of American cinema.

One such year was 1939, when nominees for "Outstanding Production" (now called "Best Film") included Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Stagecoach, and The Wizard of Oz (my favorite film).

The winner, though, was the film based on the novel we'll discuss today: Gone with the Wind.

It was published in 1936 and was an instant smash, the best-selling book of 1936 and 1937 (and winning the 1937 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction). In 2014 Americans considered it their second-favorite book (after The Holy Bible). The film, as mentioned, was also highly successful, nominated for 13 Oscars, and winning ten.

The story tells of the iconic anti-heroine Scarlett O'Hara, who fell into poverty near the end of the American Civil War after Union General William Tecumseh Sherman conducted his destructive "March to the Sea," a scorched-earth campaign that destroyed military, industrial, and civilian property. This eventually led to the surrender of the Confederacy.

But the famously optimistic Scarlett did not surrender. She maintained that "After all, tomorrow is another day!" and "As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again."

Early in the book Scarlett is pursuing a gentleman, Ashley Wilkes. When he becomes unavailable, she meets the dashing bad boy Rhett Butler. Gone with the Wind, though set against a cataclysmic historical backdrop, is really the story of their tempestuous relationship.

Scarlett tries desperately to hang onto her family's plantation, Tara. She had married one man to make Ashley jealous, and another to help pay the taxes on Tara; she would do anything to keep Tara running.

After she is twice widowed, Rhett proposes, and Scarlett accepts, but she still pines for Ashley. One by one she loses all the people she loves, including her darling daughter (by Rhett), Bonnie Blue. In the end she realizes that it is really Rhett that she loves, but it's too late, and when he walks out of her life--forever?--she asks, "Where shall I go? What shall I do?" and Rhett replies (in the film version), "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn!"


Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. anti-heroine
  2. cataclysmic
  3. dashing
  4. frankly
  5. iconic
  6. nominated
  7. scorched-earth
  8. smash
  9. tempestuous
  10. widowed

  1. gallant; stylish
  2. having lost a husband
  3. following a policy of destroying everything
  4. a female protagonist with negative qualities
  5. a big hit
  6. violently disastrous
  7. symbolic; highly admired
  8. honestly
  9. difficult; stormy
  10. named but not (yet) chosen

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for January 19, 2023

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. d; 2. f; 3. a; 4. h; 5. g; 6. j; 7. c; 8. e; 9. i; 10. b