AUTHOR- MARGARET MITCHELL
PUBLISHED IN- 1936
I recently completed reading this book. It took me about a month to complete it, mainly because I was busy with other stuff as well. Anyway so, it’s the first read of 2018!
I have seen this book being called as the greatest love story of all time. I would strongly disagree with that. I felt every possible emotion except for any sort of romance. Coming to the characters, I have never read anything which was so relatable in the character section. I could identify myself as Scarlett O’Hara, who is the female protagonist. Now, one would say that it is normal to feel resemblance to the protagonist; I agree, but this experience was entirely different. From the very beginning itself, Scarlett was determined to be the center of every male attention (this isn’t something that I aspire to be) which is absolutely understandable, considering that it is based in the time period of 1860s. Gradually she begins to develop as a strong character as she single-handed takes care of her family, kills a man, runs a lumber mill…everything that she had to do to keep away poverty. All throughout the book she believes that she is in love with Ashley Wilkes, whose character is as dreamy as it could get.
He looked on people, and he neither liked nor disliked them. He looked on life and was neither heartened nor saddened. He accepted the universe and his place in it for what they were and, shrugging, turned to his music and books and his better world.
I didn’t exactly like the character of Ashley and continuously wondered why Scarlett was ever in awe of him. Was it because he looked good? Now, as shallow as it seems, I am afraid that must be the only reason why. When the character of Rhett Butler was introduced, I was in two thoughts. Rhett, who is the male protagonist, falls in love with Scarlett on their first meeting itself. Being the practical person that Rhett was, he could easily see through all of Scarlett’s put up behaviour. I was skeptical to this. Is it good? Is it good to have someone who knows you inside and out? Where’s the fun in that?
I must talk about another incredible character in the book- Melanie Wilkes, wife of Ashley Wilkes and sister-in-law of Scarlett. Just like Scarlett, I hated her in the beginning. Scarlett probably hated her because Melanie was marrying Ashley and she was extremely nice. Well, I definitely didn’t like her for the latter part. Niceness is weird. So, it was surprising for me when I felt hot tears sliding down my cheeks when Melanie dies towards the end of the book. What more, Scarlett felt the same. That put me into a thought, who do we exactly root for? An extremely likable character or a relatable one? Scarlett and Melanie were exact opposites of each other. Melanie had harboured nothing except love for everyone and especially for Scarlett whereas I saw no change in Scarlett’s behaviour towards her except when she was on her death-bed. Guess she finally caught on.
I have only one major complain over this book. I wish this book was more about Scarlett and Melanie’s budding sisterhood instead of being a love story between Scarlett and Rhett. I was half glad that the book didn’t end on a happy note and the ending was open for any kind of interpretation.
On a lighter note, Scarlett taught me that procrastination is alright! As she says, “I won’t think about it now. I will think about it tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is another day!”
Once I was done with the book, I immediately went for the four-hour long movie adaptation of it. It was a great one.
Although, both the book and movie left me in a saddened and gloomy state, I can definitely see myself returning back to read this book in the distant future.