Updated: Dec 8, 2020
So we live in a era where travelling for leisure is prohibited in most countries and we don't know when will we get the chance to travel again. During this time, it is important to still explore and discover new topics and to learn that history does in fact repeat itself. One of my favourite books that I have read multiple times over and over again during times when I was lonely is Gone With The Wind. Sometimes, you want to be able to travel back in time and live through someone's else's eyes to understand that your life in comparison is not the worst, in this case the story of Scarlett. I believe that it is only through understanding other people's lives that you can fully appreciate your own.
I have never read a book more than two times.
Every time that I read this Gone with the Wind, I understand more the plight of Scarlett and the other characters. Perhaps this story is just a romantic eye-sore; the plot is to get us to emphasize and relate to the love triangle between Scarlett, Ashley and Rhett? But it is more than that. This time reading it contrasted from the same time around 6 years ago when I was in high school and I began to understand more about the bonds that tie us together, the history that unravels us, and life that is purely gone with the wind.
I’ve always resonated with Scarlett’s story - growing up during the glory days of the Southern Confederacy as young, stubborn, vain young women who could get everything she wanted to losing everything and regaining it. I’ve followed her life journey throughout her marriage with Charles Hamilton and the Civil War, to her second marriage with Frank Kennedy, where she demonstrated a strong mind for the business of the day by selling sawmills. In fact, I followed her story all the way to the end to then finally to being reunited with her lover Rhett Butler after the Reconstruction Era, only to lose her child and eventually the two people who mattered most in her life, Rhett and Melanie. I believe that as a person, to be able to emphasize with someone's life allows a person to grow mentally. A story is always stronger when you resonate with it, because it conjures a resemblance stronger than empty words and bare language.
I was surprised that a book written so long ago can have such revealing quotes about the human spirit and human ingenuity, particularly in times of hardship.One quote has stood out to me this whole time and it was said in particular by Ashley to Scarlett as he was plowing the fields at Tara: “Life is under no obligation to give us what we expect.” We take what we get and are no thankful it’s no worse than it is.” Maybe this quote from Ashley is too melodramatic for our times, but it has always struck a chord with me. I’ve always wondered if the reason why Scarlett is so stubborn and head-strong is because the hard times have made her that way. The fear of the Yankee soldiers, to the emancipation of the former slaves have changed her; the previous events in her life have separated her from her carefree ways entirely. If you look at Ashley as a sort of conventional figure in history, and Rhett as avante-guard and moving society forward, then this novel can be seen as a struggle between various peoples and ideas. In a time when slavery was still regulated, varying viewpoints often meant the price between life or death. If we take away anything from this book, we should be appreciative today that we live under certain governments that don't impose restrictions that subject us to utter poverty and degradation.
6 years ago, when I read this story, I believed it to be a love triangle between three people: Scarlett, Ashley and Rhett, so I eagerly read on, not convinced by my mother that is wasn’t. But now, I do believe that it is no more a love story than eye-dropping glance into the glory of the Southern Confederate during its glory days, the changes that the civil war implicated upon this generation of people, and the resilience and heartache of the human condition through struggle.
Looking back at this book again during the pandemic, it never ceases to amaze me the amazing vitality that the story was told, from the gripping agony of heartbreak to understanding that life changes and that we must adapt, in one or another. Gone With The Wind teaches us that during the pandemic we must learn to adapt to new ways of interacting with each other, whether we like it or that and that we can only do the best we can in these circumstances. Many time through travel we experience emotions that allow us to better deal and understand situations in our life; a great books provide that source of understanding the world and contextualizing it in the same way that travel provides.
If you want to travel to a different era that brings you into a world full of history and dynamic characters, then Gone With the Wind is a must-read.
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