I clearly remember the day I read Gone with the Wind for the first time. I was fourteen, and it was the summer vacation. We had just returned from a trip to Kozhikode, and I had bought a load of books from TBS (a once-popular book store in Kozhikode). Gone with the Wind was the one I was looking forward to read the most, and I started right away, despite my Mom repeatedly asking me to at least change my clothes first! I read and read and read and when I finished, it was 3:00 AM!!
If you ask me which book my favorite is, I can’t name one, but this will definitely feature in the top ten! And I’m sure it’s the same for many others – Scarlett O’Hara is not a heroine one easily forgets. With her perfect figure, her dark hair and piercing green eyes, Scarlett is a seductress, a worker, a businesswoman, a lover but above all, a survivor.
There are just too many themes in this book to talk about in a blog post – I could probably do another A to Z challenge on this book alone! Scarlett is born in Georgia, U.S., where slavery is widely practiced and the story opens on the eve of the American Civil War. Though the war is seen through Scarlett’s eyes, a great many details are included and they actually helped me learn about the war much better than any history text. The effect of war on regular people and families is destructive, regardless of who wins or what cause they fought for. Then there’s the entire story line about Scarlett’s love life, where Scarlett is less than diligent, as the consequences show. But more than anything, it’s about Scarlett realizing who she really is, why Tara (her home) means so much to her and why she’s ready to do just about anything to preserve her home and family.
Scarlett isn’t exactly likeable. She’s vain, cunning, impulsive and even appears to be cruel at times. But she has her own code of honor and she sticks to it, regardless of what others think or say. Her dogged determination to survive despite everything is admirable, and is the stuff that survivors are made of. All the people around her realize this too, which is why they stick around, although Scarlett is forever craving for that true love that constantly evades her.
I think that this book is a must read for everyone, whatever your gender, nationality or race. The characters are first and foremost human. The foundation of human nature is discussed, whether in hunger, disease, love, war or politics. If you haven’t read this yet, you don’t know what you’re missing out!