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Gone with the Wind

Book Talk

Kelsey Dewbre

on 3 May 2013

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Transcript of Gone with the Wind

Gone with the Wind Margaret Mitchell Sixteen-year-old Scarlett O'Hara lives in Clayton County, Georgia in 1861. Her life is laced with ease, and she has never known work or hardship. Until the Civil War comes, and everything Scarlett has ever known is turned upside down. Scarlett has her sights set on marrying Ashley Wilkes. When Ashley announces his engagemet to Melanie Hamilton, Scarlett rushes into wedlock with Melanie's brother, Charles, in hopes of hurting Ashley. When the Confederate States of America call for volunteers, both Ashley and Charles leave. Unforntunately, Charles contracts and is claimed by pneumonia before he even sees a battlefield. Scarlett is left a seventeen-year-old widow and expectant mother. In 1862, Scarlett and her son Wade Hampton move to Atlanta to live with Charles' sister Melanie and his aunt, Sarah Jane Hamilton, who was known as Pittypat instead. While in Atlanta, Scarlett meets Captain Rhett Butler, a dashing young blockade runner who has the ladies of Atlanta wrapped around his finger. Captain Butler assists Scarlett in breaking the unwritten rules of Southern society. Due to her husband's recent death, Scarlett is expected to be in "mourning", a process that Scarlett is bored with. But by the end of September, the Battle of Antietam forces several women to don black garb. During the antebellum period, society had very strict codes for "mourning". Public mourning was common place, and was expected to be observed for a certain length of time, depending on a mourner's relationship with the deceased. Children who lost parents and parents who lost children were expected to mourn for a year, siblings for six months, widowers for as few as three months, and widows for two and a half years. Widowers wore a black armband, rosette, or badge to signify his loss. Widows were expected appear first in a thick, black crepe veil paired with a heavy black dress in a period called "heavy mourning", which lasted about a year. Next, she would enter "full mourning", in which she could add lace/colored collars to the drab black frocks, in addition to shortening the veil. During the last six months of mourning, a widow would be in "half mourning", where she no longer expected to wear a veil, and could also wear browns, grays, and purples. During heavy mourning, attending social functions was also considered unacceptable. http://encyclopediavirginia.org/Mourning_During_the_Civil_War

http://thecivilwarlady.webs.com/mourningcustomsandrituals.htm http://19thcenturyartofmourning.com/1860%27S%20CIVIL%20WAR%20MOURNING%20DRESS,%20VEIL,%20BONNET%20&%20ORIGINAL%20HOOP.JPG Heavy mourning attire http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_gnXf7uK3WME/TR5Y5D2zYDI/AAAAAAAAB9o/DWCsuwtFXHo/s1600/scarlett+rose+dress-+godeys-+june+1862.jpg Typical women's fashion during the 1860s In 1863, the War finally takes its toll on Atlanta's upper class. The blockade tightens, making goods such as fabric and coffee very difficult to come by. The Battles of Gettysburg and Vicksburg leave almost every family in mourning. The number of parties and benefits for the Confederacy decline. However, Ashley comes home for Christmas on furlough. Scarlett is still living with Melanie, and promises Ashley that she will take care of Melanie while he is away. After his victory at Chancellorsville, General Robert E. Lee marched his troops north to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in an attempt to bring the war to the north. He hoped that by bringing battle to the North, the peace movement would strengthen. On July 1, 1863, Union cavalry pushed Confederate advancements back, until Union infantry reinforcements arrive at about the same time as Confederate back up. The numerically superior Confederates were victorious. The fighting went back and forth like this for two more days. Finally, on July 3, General Lee retreats with the remenants of his exhausted soldiers, defeated. Gettysburg is the bloodiest battle in the Civil War, with an estimated 51,000 casualties. http://www.civilwar.org/battlefields/gettysburg.html?tab=facts
http://www.history.com/topics/battle-of-gettysburg http://famouspix.org/images/famous_events/gettysburg/LOC-Battle-of-Gettysburg-Rose-Woods-1863.jpg Dead soldiers after the Battle of Gettysburg http://cdn2.americancivilwar.com/americancivilwar-cdn/civil_war_map/battle_of_gettysburg.jpg Map of the Battle of Gettysburg The Battle of Vicksburg took place in Vicksburg, Mississippi, a port city on the Mississippi. Also called the Seige of Vicksburg, it lasted over a month. The Union recognized the importance of holding the Mississsippi. It would cut the South in half, making it difficult to send troops and supplies to the western side of the Confederacy. In addition, it would provide a network of transportation for the North. The battle began on May 19, 1863, when Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant attacked Confederate fortifications. General Grant attacked again on May 22, then lay siege to the city. Union forces continued to attack the city for 47 days. Finally, on July 4, Confederate commander John C. Pemberton surrendered. Grant's campaign to control the Mississippi was successful. http://www.civilwar.org/battlefields/vicksburg/maps/vicksburgmap.html http://www.civilwar.org/battlefields/vicksburg/maps/vicksburgmap.html Map of the Battle of Vicksburg http://www.usa-civil-war.com/West/Vicksburg/vick_1862.jpg Vicksburg during the Civil War The year of 1864 brought many dramatic changes to Scarlett's life. Melanie was expecting a baby, and things were not going well for the Confederate States of America. Sherman's March forces Scarlett to leave Atlanta with Melanie and her newborn in tow. She flees back to father's plantation, Tara, only to find her mother dead and her sisters ill with typhoid. She and Rhett have become good friends, yet he leaves her to join the Cause that he resents. In the months after her relocation, Scarlett and her family are desolate. They struggle to find their next meal. She starts to work in the fields, and is forced to make tough decisions, something she is not used to. "Sherman's March to the Sea" is the nickname for General William T. Sherman's Savannah campaign. Beginning on November 15, General Sherman led his men on a 285 mile march from Atlanta to Georgia, wreaking havoc on anything they came in contact with. They stole food and valuables, killed livestock, and burned almost all homes and plantations in rural areas. They left urban areas fairly intact, but that did not keep them from stealing increasingly scarce food. Sherman and his troops reached Savannah on December 21, 1864. General Sherman presented Savannah and its 25,000 bales of cotton to President Abraham Lincoln as a Christmas present. http://www.history.com/topics/shermans-march 1865 did not treat Scarlett well. She was so accustomed to luxury that working like a field hand did not sit well with her. She fights to provide for herself, her two sisters, her son, Melanie, Melanie's son, and the few slaves who did not desert the plantation. On the bright side, the War ends, and Ashley comes home. Although Scarlett is thrilled to have Ashley out of harm's way, she is constantly reminded of his marriage, and begins to see him as just another mouth to feed. After four years of war, the Surrender at Appamattox Courthouse was a welcome relief to both the North and the South. On April 9, 1865, after a defeat at Petersburg, Virginia, General Robert E. Lee was forced to retreat to a small town of Appamatox Court House. It was there, in the home of Wilmer and Virginia McLean that General Lee surrendered his Army of Northern Virginia to General Ulysses S. Grant. The terms offered by Grant were merciful, requiring only that Lee's men lay down their weapons and go home. Also, it allowed Union forces to be redistrubuted throughout the South in order to quicken the surrenders of other Confederate armies. http://www.nps.gov/apco/the-surrender.htm
http://blueandgraytrail.com/event/Surrender_At_Appomattox http://www.nps.gov/apco/the-surrender.htm http://blueandgraytrail.com/photo/18 Two photos of the McLean home in Appomatox Court House, known as the "surrender house" 1866 was a little bit more kind to Scarlett, save for the taxes. The property tax on Tara goes up, in an attempt to get the property in the hands of the sheriff, then to an estate sale. Scarlett decides that she will go back to Atlanta, and try to charm Rhett into lending her money. Rhett is fabulously rich from his days as a blockade runner, and also from other endeavors. Scarlett knows this and ventures to get a marriage proposal out of him. Rhett sees right through her plan and refuses everything she asks. On her way home from her visist with Mr. Butler, she runs into Frank Kennedy, a man she has known her whole life. He has been doing well financially, so he informs her. This sets off a lightbulb in Scarlett's brain, and two weeks later she becomes Mrs. Frank Kennedy. Soon after her wedding, Scarlett once again runs into Rhett. He offers her the money he refused to give her, and she takes it. This time though, she does not pay taxes, she buys a saw mill, in hopes of insuring her financial safety for a while. In 1867, much to her dismay, Scarlett has a baby. A little girl named Ella, whom she does not particularly care for. This whole year she has been acting very unladylike, and Frank is to meek to press her about it. Running saw mills was a business, and business was considered a man's trade. Scarlett is the talk of the town, and she is beginning to embarass her husband. On top of being silently ridiculed, Scarlett is handed yet another blow when her father passes away. She and her father were close, and she honestly mourns his death. Scarlett continues her unbecomming behavior through 1868, until she is attacked by an ex-slave on her way to visit her saw mills. He was looking for money and he was obviously wealthy. Traumatized, she runs home to Frank, only for him to leave to go to a "meeting". Later that night, Scarlett is informed that she is once again a widow. Frank, along with Ashley and most of the white men she knows, with the exception of Rhett, are members of the Ku Klux Klan. Scarlett's incident had been the last straw, and the Klan takes action. Rhett steps in and saves the men he can from the Yankee courts, but he can do nothing to save the dead. Shortly after Frank's funeral, Rhett asks Scarlett to marry him, to which she accepts. The year of 1869 treats Scarlett very well. She marries Rhett, and with that his money. She will never live in fear of hunger again. About a year after Scarlett becomes Mrs. Rhett Butler, she has a baby. The baby girl's given name was Eugenie Victoria, but her eyes were as blue as the "bonnie blue flag", so she came to be known as Bonnie. By 1870, Scarlett is still not recieved well by Atlanta's upper class. They are coldly polite and treat her with her respect, but Melanie is the only one who considers her a friend. Unfortunately, her children are beginning to feel the scorn of the town as well. They are not invited to birthday parties, are not welcome in tree houses or renactments of the War. Rhett notices this, and is determined to redeem his reputation of a cheating speculator. He starts going to church, he donates to foundations that supports widows and orphans of the Confederacy. He votes the Demoncratic ticket. Soon, Rhett is being invited to the classiest parties and in recieved in the nicest parlors. In 1872, Scarlett's world comes tumbling down. She and Ashley have maintained their friendship, and have become very close. Their relationship is not romantic, but they are comfortable with sibling-like physical contact. However, the Southern aristocracy is not. When Ashley is caught comforting Scarlett, all of Atlanta no longer feels the need to treat Scarlett with dignity. Rhett goes on an extended vacation to see his mother in Charleston, Scarlett is left alone and disgraced. When Rhett returns, Scarlett reveals that she is once again expecting. That is, until she falls down the stairs and miscarries. Rhett has very carefully hid his love for Scarlett, knowing that she only married him for his money, but he can no longer do so after Scarlett's accident. She does nothing to counteract the stress he feels from the blame he puts on himselft for her misery, and he almost looses his mind. As if the last year was not bad enough, 1873 treats Scarlett worse than anything. Her daughter Bonnie has become interesting in ridding, so Rhett gets her a pony. He also teaches her how to jump. She gets a little too sure of herself and attempts to make a jump to high for the pony's short legs. She falls of animal, and is dead before anyone can catch her. Melanie, who never really recovered from her son's birth, miscarries. Weakened beyond hope of recovery. Melanie's last wishes were that Scarlett take care of Ashley and their son, and that she treat Rhett well. Scarlett realizes that she never really loved Ashley, only the idea of him. In turn, she comes to terms with her feelings for Rhett. She loves him, but by the time she tells him, it's too late. He spoiled Bonnie with the love that Scarlett would not take, and when she died, all his love died with her. GONE WITH THE WIND "Gone with the Wind" is a riveting novel that is full of surprises. Margaret Mitchell does a superb job of developing her characters, and places them in situations that challenge their integrity. The storyline is captivating, and the setting is rich. Moral ambiguity is a reoccuring theme throughout the book, as the main character, Scarlett, is faced with many dilemas that try her teachings as Southern lady. She is faced with the hardships of war, poverty, hunger, immorality, public scorn, and the stuggles of being forced to grow up too soon. Scarlett's game of tug-of-war between her will to survive and what is considered "acceptable" for a lady of her status to do will make you question your own ethics. A full five stars for Margaret Mitchell's "Gone with the Wind". It will pull you in, and keep you there until you turn the last page. MARGARET MITCHELL "Luck be a Lady", Frank Sinatra "Luck be a Lady" is a song about being what society deems 'respectable'. Originally from the classic musical "Guys and Dolls", this song is a plea to a woman to act like a lady. Throughout "Gone with the Wind", Scarlett breaks rules and practically turns her back on ladyhood. She runs a business, she goes places without an escort, she comes out of mourning much sooner that acceptable. She is constantly being asked to act respectably, to act like the lady that she was raised to be. Dear Scarlett, I must ask that you not come visit, my dear. I'm afraid that your mother and sisters have fallen ill with typoid. They are suffering, and I don wish to see you in such a state as well. Please understand, I ask this out of love.

How are things going for you? I do hope they are better than here. We never imagined that the
War could drag on so dreadfully long. Please protect yourself, my child.

Much love,
Your Pa
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