Monday, June 30, 2014

Gone With The Wind by Diane Burton

photo from IMDB

We’re supposed to talk about Gone With The Wind this month and (hehehe) I get the last word. Love when the month only has thirty days. 

It has been a long time since I read Margaret Mitchell’s classic. The first time I was in high school. Given my immaturity at the time, my perspective was a little skewed. I didn’t see Scarlet as self-absorbed. I thought Ashley was a wimp—not far off on that one. What did Scarlet ever see in him?

I do remember Rhett Butler as incredibly sexy. Or as incredibly sexy as a fifteen-year-old knew about sexy. Of course, most fifteen-year-olds back then were quite naïve and I was no exception. I read somewhere that Mitchell had Clark Gable in mind when she wrote the book. I can’t imagine anyone else playing that role.

But my biggest error back in my teens was thinking that Melanie Wilkes was a namby-pamby, wishy-washy do-gooder. Not until I was older did I realize what a strong character she was. Yes, she did good and for some odd reason she was kind to Scarlett. Didn’t that fry Scarlett’s cookies? Her chief opponent (for Ashley’s love) befriended her. In the movie, Olivia de Havilland played Melanie. Her soft, cultured voice was perfect. Melanie was the perfect foil to Scarlett. In today's romance, Melanie would be the heroine and Scarlett a pain in the you-know-what. Oh, wait. She was that.

I can’t remember the first time I saw the movie. Probably on television. I don’t remember seeing it at the show. My younger (by two years) sister would know. She remembers everything while I have huge memory gaps. I’ve read that as you get older, your brain is so full of data some of it has to be deleted to make room for more. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. LOL

I do remember one line from GWTW so well I used it in my science fiction romance Switched Resolution. “I don’t know nothin’ 'bout birthin’ babies.” It seemed an appropriate response to an intense situation--like my heroine about to have her baby in the back of an SUV.

A couple of years ago, I won a basket of goodies at Mid-Michigan’s Retreat From Harsh Reality. In that basket was a DVD of Gone With The Wind. Until then I didn’t realize my husband had never seen it. Interesting watching the movie again.

Margaret Mitchell only published one book. And what a book, what a movie, it was.

I blog here on the 8th and 30th of each month and Mondays on my own site


Jannine Gallant said...

You're right. Melanie would be the heroine, and Scarlett would be the major PITA b*&%h she has to deal with! Hadn't really thought about that. If we wrote a Scarlett-like character now, we'd get ripped apart for having an unsympathetic heroine. Hmmm, maybe the publishing world needs to take notice that ALL characters don't have to be cut from the same cloth to have impact! Thanks for making me think this morning (before coffee), Diane!

Liz Flaherty said...

I remember feeling the same way about Melanie Wilkes. How wrong I was!

Diane Burton said...

LOL, Jannine, at the coffee.

Liz, I'm glad I wasn't the only one.

To be more realistic, Melanie should have had a fault. Maybe warned Scarlet in no uncertain terms to leave her man alone.

allywildrose said...

Love this post. I also can't imagine anyone other than Clark Gable in the role. He WAS Rhett. It's true about the heroine role reversals, if it were written today, but it is a shame that our characters have to fit into a mold to be accepted as heroine material. Maybe Melanie should have told Scarlett to leave her man alone, but Scarlett loved him before Melanie ever came along. Ashley was most definitely a wimp. :)

Diane Burton said...

Thanks, Ally. Clark Gable still makes my heart flutter. LOL

Susan Coryell said...

I read GWTW for the first time when I was in 8th grade and thought the greatest tragedy of the literary world was that Margaret Mitchell had died before writing the sequel. Then, I saw the movie. It was one of 2 movies better than the book (the other was Ben Hur--don't ask). Thanks for the post to jog my memory!

Diane Burton said...

I agree. I think the movie is much more memorable than the book.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Late getting here. Learned a lot from your post, Diane . Agree about the heroines. Good call. I never read the book and saw the movie once. Guess I need to borrow your DVD.

Leah St. James said...

Diane, you hit the nail on the head with Ashley and Mellie! I couldn't stand either one of them! Like you, I've come to appreciate Mellie's strength and goodness. But I still wonder why Scarlett would look even know Ashley's on the planet when she's got Rhett in her bedroom. (Sigh.)