Top critical review
2 of 2 people found this helpful
purely for fiction
on November 19, 2001
"Gone With the Wind", taken as pure fiction, stands as an interesting and well-written tale of life in the Old South. Characters are well developed and constant in their portrayal of the complexities of love and life under the strain of a collapsing civilization. Survival amidst tremendous hardships and the source of strength in the human soul are topics that the novel/movie address nicely. However, taken in a context of reality, "Gone With the Wind" is insulting to the reader's/viewer's intelligence and to the ancestors of Southerners, both black and white, free and slave, through its completely one-sided depiction of life in the plantation south. Many other reviewers on this site have commented that "Gone With the Wind" is a nice change from other books and movies in that it portrays the master/slave relationship as being affable. The truth, however, is not so pleasant. It is evident from the reading of historical documents that even the kindest of slaveholders did not keep their slaves as well-clothed, well-fed, and lightly worked as the O'Haras kept theirs. Only once did the movie portray slaves doing field labor. It never showed the slaves' living quarters, which were often less than comfortable. The only brutality and punishment it showed was when Scarlet hit Prissy for not moving fast enough when Melanie was giving birth. The representation of Mammy is partly accurate in that she was a jack-of-all-trades woman who cared especially for the master's children. The other side of the "Mammy" role however, was that on most plantations, the mammy was overworked, on-call 24 hours a day, and abused sexually and physically by the master. Also, a mammy would have never had the authority to boss around a master's daughter like Mammy bossed around Scarlet. For those who desire a well-written piece of fiction that takes place in a beautiful and gentile fantasy world called the Old South, I would surely recommend "Gone With the Wind". For those who know better than to believe in illusions of peace and warmth in the plantation south and who enjoy books that have at least one foot in the doorway of reality, "Gone With the Wind" will not be on your list of favorites.