As I was writing this post, something occurred to me – a thought I’d never had about Gone with the Wind.
I first read the book when I was 11, after smuggling it into my bedroom from the living room bookshelves. I thrilled at the scene of Rhett carrying Scarlett up the stairs and my little 11 year old heart really wished Mitchell hadn’t faded to black (I was really curious at 11). Strangely enough, when I finished the book I felt horribly letdown. I couldn’t figure out why. I was so in awe of books and writers at that age that I couldn’t articulate what I felt. To have done so would have been heresy or disrespect. You didn’t write in books. You didn’t dogear the pages. You didn’t talk bad about books.
Had I been able to verbalize what I felt it would have been this: I didn’t like any of the characters. The only one who came close to being redeemable to me was Rhett Butler and he took so long to “get it” that my respect was halfhearted. That’s when the aha! moment struck. Characters have to change in the course of a book. They have to grow. None of the characters grew in Gone with the Wind, with the exception of Rhett who took too damn long. Scarlett was always grasping. Melanie was always too sweet. Ashley was always a beta male. The scenery changed in the book. The circumstances changed. The characters never did.
And speaking of characters:
Olivia de Havilland, who played Melanie Hamilton Wilkes in the movie, turned 101 yesterday. Isn’t that the neatest news?
She’s not happy that her persona is being used in the series Feud, so she’s suing. Here’s an article about that. (It’s the Daily Mail, so open at your own risk. They like bare everything there.)
Here’s a picture of de Havilland at 95. Good grief, I hope I look that good at that age.
How about you? Are you a fan of Gone with the Wind? Do characters have to grow in a book for you to enjoy it?
FAST FLASH UPDATE
Flash had a comfy night. He ate a little at 10:30 PM and really seemed to like his yogurt. He drank some chicken broth (without salt, of course), ate some pureed chicken and yogurt and then again at 4:00 AM, and at 6:30 AM (10:30 and 6:30 are pain pill times. The 4:00 AM was a bathroom visit. I might as well try to get him to eat then, too.) I also gave him some baby food – banana smoothie with berries. He ate about a teaspoon of that.
Feeding him is a trip. I offer a little of it on my fingers, then gradually move my fingers to a very small bowl or a paper plate. You can’t just put food in his bowl and expect him to eat. He won’t. You have to lead him to the idea. The yogurt helps. So does the chicken broth.
His incision is way down right next to his you-know-what (sorry Jeff*), but it isn’t as long as the incision to remove the mast cell tumor. It starts about lower chest level and goes to his you-know-what (sorry again, Jeff*).
- Jeff thanked me for not calling that particular organ anything but it’s name. I have failed in my correct nomenclature this morning. 🙂
This morning Flash is sleeping off and on. He had a change of t-shirt a few minutes ago. He’s still drunk walking and there are times when you can tell he’s debating whether it’s worth getting up off the floor to do anything. That, I imagine, will get better with each day and with the eventual reduction of the pain relievers.