by Abigail Fisher
During Thanksgiving break, a treat more delicious than turkey was AMC’s 24-hour Gone with the Wind marathon. I watched snippets from all six showings of the film, which I count as at least one full viewing. Watching Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh’s enthralling performances helped me to remember the first time I read Gone with the Wind. When I first read the book I had never seen the film, so my mind was able to envision the characters without outside influence. Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler were free to take on any shape I chose.
But a curious thing occurred when I watched the film after finishing the book. The characters in my head matched perfectly to the characters in the film. This had never happened to me before, and I was pleasantly surprised. Not only was Gone with the Wind one of my favorite books of all time, but it also became one of my all time favorite movies. Director Victor Fleming was able to include almost every detail from the book and seamlessly brought the story to life for the silver screen. Most importantly, Fleming stayed true to author Margaret Mitchell’s characters and the overarching themes of Gone with the Wind.
Taking place throughout the Civil War, Gone with the Wind follows Scarlett O’Hara’s life as she grows from being a pampered southern belle to a hard, strong woman. Scarlett is in love with Ashley Wilkes, and although he is in love with her as well, Ashley marries Melanie Hamilton. The Civil War rages around these lovers, and the only constant in Scarlett’s life seems to be Rhett Bulter, a debonair yet harsh gentleman who saves Scarlett many times. The crux of the novel is that Scarlett can endure her many sufferings because she still has her home, her plantation Tara. Scarlett may betray every person she once called family, but she can never betray Tara.
Gone with the Wind is, in my opinion, one of the greatest stories of all time. When I find myself in need of inspiration, I can always turn to Scarlett to lift myself out of whatever hole I’m in. If you haven’t read it yet, drop whatever you are currently reading and pick up a copy. (I’ll even lend you mine.)