Gone With the Wind
Reviewed by Annie Shao, age 16
Written by Margaret Mitchell
In Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind, Katie Scarlett O’Hara is the most sought after girl in the Georgian region she calls home. Her pretty green eyes, slender waist, snow-white skin and charisma attract all the young men to her. As the daughter of a rich plantation owner, Scarlett does not need to worry about chores; she has slaves for that. The only thing she is concerned with is winning the heart of Ashley Wilkes, the man she sees as her true love.
With the start of the American Civil War, all the young men, including Ashley, become soldiers. Everyone, that is, except for the scandalous Rhett Butler, whose mesmerizing attraction infatuates Scarlett. Throughout the book, she fights her emotions over these two men.
From this point on, Scarlett’s easy life is “gone with the wind”. She must learn to cope with the hardships that come with war: news of friends being killed or captured, near-starvation, and constant fear of the Yankees. A major turning point in the book occurs when the Confederates lose the war, leaving the South devastated. The war leaves even the wealthiest families poor. The Yankees threaten to evict Scarlett and her family from Tara, their beloved plantation. Determined to fight the eviction, Scarlett abandons her lady-like manners and enters the business world to save her family and their land.
Through her captivating story, Mitchell reveals how anyone can achieve great things if they never give up. At the beginning of the novel, Scarlett uses helplessness and dependency to get what she wants. However, her true grit is revealed as she rises above her old self and becomes a strong, independent woman. At the same time, Mitchell conveys how difficult life was for Southerners during and after the Civil War. The book’s characters all face tremendous difficulties. Some, like Scarlett, overcome the hard times, while others dwell too much on the past and can never move forward. Mitchell demonstrates the importance of making the best of a situation instead of pining about what used to exist. The author also explains how meaningful true love can be, and how infatuation can blind one from their real love.
Gone With the Wind is one of the most engaging novels ever written. It is a must-read for any high school student. Not only is it a spectacular piece of historical fiction, it teaches important life lessons about endurance, courage and love.