The synopsis below may give away important plot points. Synopsis After serving four years in prison for killing a man, hotheaded Tom Joad heads back to the family farm in Oklahoma.
But it works for two reasons. First of all you wait for justice to fall its merciless blow with one of the most recognized lines in cinema "frankly my dear, I don't give a damn"but you end with a broken and somewhat repentant character and you can't be pitiless.
Secondly, if you were going to parallel the beautiful, affluent, lazy, spirited South It takes guts to make your main character spoiled, selfish, and stupid, someone without any redeeming qualities, and write an epic novel about her. Secondly, if you were going to parallel the beautiful, affluent, lazy, spirited South being conquered by the intellectual, industrious North, what better way to do that than with characters who embody those characteristics?
You come to feel a level of sadness that the South and Scarlett lost their war and hope that they will rebuild. I enjoyed the picture of pre-war South outside of what you learn in history class approved by the nation that won the war.
If the South had won, we would have an entirely different picture painted. A story of lush lands and prosperity abounding with chivalry and gentility by a too passionate people.
If you visit the South today, you can see that all these generations later the wounds of the war and the regret at losing the way of life are still fresh. But if it had not been the civil war, it would have been by other means that the lazy sprawled out way of life would have been conquered by our efficient, compact, modern lives.
I enjoyed the picture of plantations that did not abuse slaves to the extent that you read about in many memoirs. There was still a disrespect in that they viewed "darkies" as ignorant and childish and worthy of being owned, but there were those who cared for those in their trust.
And the North who came down riling up the lowest of the slaves to flip the oppression did not want any contact with a race they feared. Prejudice takes many faces. Slavery is such an important part of American history, but I don't know that I agree with the format in which it is taught at least the way it was taught to me.
We take young, tolerant children and feed them stories of racism and abuse and then tell them the world is naturally prejudice that they are prejudice so don't be.
White children start feeling awkward and aware and black children start feeling mistreated and aware.
We manage to teach children about Indian and Holocaust history without the same enthusiasm to end racism by breeding racism. There has to be a better way. I also enjoyed Mitchell showing the volatile formula in which the KKK was aroused, that it wasn't just a disdain for free darkies but a need to protect their women and children from the rash anger now imposed on them through this new regime.
Not that there are any redeeming qualities in the KKK, or even the Southern rash justice by pistol shot to curb wounded pride, but it was interesting to learn the wider circumstances in which it arose.
The entire picture of the Southern perspective from the hierarchy of slaves to the disdain of the reconstruction was enlightening. The post-war difficulties, that sometimes it's harder to survive than die, were some of my favorite epiphanies of the story.
What everyone in the South went through, both white and black, after everything was deconstructed and they didn't know how to rebuild. It wasn't just about freeing slaves but about rebuilding an entire way of life and sometimes change, even good change, can be this scary and destructive.
My one complaint about the book was at times the description was lengthy. I'd get a grasp for the emotions of Scarlett that are supposed to describe the emotions of all Southerners or the description of the land at Tara as a representation of the rich red soil all Southerners love and then Mitchell would go on for paragraphs or pages rehashing that feeling to pull the most emotion out of you.
It worked, but sometimes I think she could have done so in fewer words. I view Scarlett as a representation of the South in which she loved. She did not care from whence the wealth came or believed that it would ever end. Because she was rich and important, she would conquer.
As the Yankees attempted to rebuild the South, fresh in their embitterment at a war they did not want to fight, you can both see their reasoning and feel for the Southerners who were licked and then stomped on in their attempts to gain back of their life.
You see that in Scarlett. On one hand you don't pity her and think she needs a lesson in poverty and on the other hand you want her to survive. Either she can lie down and cling to her old ways or she can debase herself and rebuild.
Survival, not morality, is her strongest drive. We all know people like her. People who unscrupulously use their womanly charms to get ahead and carry a deep disdain for those bound by concepts of kindness, morals, or intelligence and most especially for those who see them for what they are instead of being manipulated.
People who care for nobody but themselves and who find enjoyment in life not in what they have, but in conquering the unattainable that is only desirable because it is out of reach. I loved how Mitchell showed Scarlett's decline from a religious albeit not believing girl who allowed her rationalization and avoidance to carry her from one sin to the next of intensifying degree.
An excellent portrait of the degradation of character. Initially I thought she was the only character who wasn't growing, actually digressing.The synopsis below may give away important plot points. Synopsis After serving four years in prison for killing a man, hotheaded Tom Joad () heads back to the family farm .
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As Steinbeck intends, the Joads’ plight seems to represent the plight of all farmers—or, indeed, all people living through trying times—and so following the narrative can feel like following some mythological or Biblical story about the woes of humanity.
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