Gone with the Wind, Characters, and an Epiphany

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?



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.


20 thoughts on “Gone with the Wind, Characters, and an Epiphany”

  1. Gone With the Wind was the Defining Book of my adolescence. I was in sixth grade when Mom loaned me her 1956 copy. She always said I loved that book because she was pregnant with me when she saw the movie for the first time. I lived GWTW, dreamed it….our family took vacations to Civil War battlefield sites because my interest expanded into the war. I’ve had bedrooms decorated with GWTW memorabilia, I can recite lines in the movie right along with the characters….it’s a nostalgic thing for me now (to watch the movie). The book and movie are dated are flawed, but something about them both draws the eye. Now that I’m thinking about it, I think I’ll find that 1956 copy (not find it: I know exactly where it is) and reread it this summer. Thanks for sharing that post and getting me thinking about a ‘hobby’ I had put on the backburner quite a while ago….

  2. It is ok if you are more comfortable with other words . I just always use the proper terms because of the mental pictures I get in my head. Never had a chance to see GWTW . Maybe I will one day but until then I just don’t give a…..darn . Hug Flash for me (gently)

    • Gentle hugs administered. Gentle brushing – only to make him comfy.

      I never thought I’d say this, but I’m glad he had the mast cell tumor. That surgery pretty much prepared me for this one. When I looked at the incision it was no big deal. Flash has learned to roll over so I can check it out. He’s an old pro with his t-shirts. Only the new ones have Calvin Cline on them, near his bottom. 🙂

  3. You are being a great hand maiden to Flash. BG Glad to hear he is slowly starting to eat, he should soon be going ahead in leaps and bounds (I am sure you will be ecstatic when he is leaping and bounding, especially at the window LOL).
    As for GWTW, I could never finish that book. I think I took an immediate dislike to Scarlett (in the first page I think it was), which quickly turned to actual hate. I have never finished the book and have thought there must be something wrong with me!

    • I loathed Scarlett with the heat of a thousand fiery suns. However, I still continued to read the book. I think I was waiting for her to get a clue. 🙂

  4. I’m so glad Flash is doing okay Karen. I’ve read your postings this past week on the fly and you were really in a whirlwind and so busy with your baby. You are a great Mama. Brisket my 17 year old will eat a little if I put it down. She eats the senior small bites by Blue Wilderness but I don’t think she gets enough so I actually hand-feed her every day some grain-free soft dog food.

    I like Gone With The Wind (the movie; I never read the book) but honestly Scarlet really pissed me off. She waited so long to figure out that she really loved Rhett but by then it was too late. I think it should have ended differently. Once they had their passionate night it should have been happily ever after. But then I suppose there wouldn’t have been the famous line “frankly my dear I don’t give a damn.”

    • I can’t believe Brisket is 17. She truly is part of your life, isn’t she?

      Did you ever read the GWTW sequels? I never did. It pretty much ended right there for me.

  5. Great news about Flash. He’ll be perky and back to his old self before you know it. “Gone With The Wind” was one of my favorite books and movies. But then I love to read many different types of books. Comes from being an only child I guess.

    • I wasn’t an only child, but I was an Air Force brat, which meant I was always the new kid. Reading was pretty much the only real constant in my life. Books became my friends.

  6. Never read GWTW but I remember being pretty young watching the movie. I remember thinking it was dramatic but unsatisfying. You are right, characters have to change, grow in a book or movie. If they don’t I’m not getting a HEA. Love changes a person. They are no longer a solo entity and if they truly love it’s about the other person, not self. Love is NOT selfish but giving to the other. That changes a person’s character and actions. I read the first book by a big name author that I liked that was BDSM. Not my cuppa but if she was writing it I was game. I almost didn’t finish it. The “hero” was an a**hole (and I don’t use that language ever) at the beginning and “love” didn’t redeem him. I kept waiting for it. It never came. He was the same at the end of the book and I had NO respect for the “heroine” at the end. I always finish what I started and figured I had to finish the book so he could get his epiphany moment and “get it”. Nope! I will NEVER read one of her BDSM books again. She betrayed my trust.

    I am so glad Flash is recovering so well. You’re a good Mom/Nurse <3

    • The failure to grow and change is the one thing that will ruin a book for me.

      I can’t, for the life of me, read BDSM. I think it’s probably because I was once in an abusive relationship. I don’t see domination as sexy.

  7. GWTW had been my favorite book for a long time. My grandma lent me her copy to read. My grandma and I lived 500 miles apart, so that was a big deal. Trust. Love. She was my favorite grandma. Pride and Prejudice has usurped the role of my favorite book.

    So glad Flash is slowly but surely on the road to feeling better and getting around.

  8. Never did like the book or the movie. Scarlett was a spoiled *itch, Melanie needed to stand up more for herself and
    Rhett? well. Handsome is as handsome does.

    As for Flash, that’s wonderful and exciting news!!!! Baby food is such a smart idea!

    • I was really excited about chicken and veggies, but I was just about to give it to him when I read the ingredients again. It had onion in it, so into the garbage it went. Sigh.

  9. Eating, even just a little, is GOOD. I’ve never been able to read Bone With the Wind all the way through to the end or watch all of the movie. I thought it was just me. I just lose interest in it.

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