There is something profoundly strange about this project. Drew and I have been at this for what seems like forever at this point, and much has changed since we started it and where we will finish this thing. My wife and I are about to move again. My time at seminary has been difficult to say the least, and it look forward to seeing how we will do when my wife and I are expressly investing without distraction (except this project of course).
Gone with the Wind comes to me at this time like so many of the Pulitzer’s have. These texts seem like blind Tiresias always showing up to explain to me what has just happened or is bound to happen next. Uncanny it seems to me now.
Gone With The Wind is an incredible book. I wanted to hate this book so badly, but I couldn’t in the end. Scarlet is one of the most original, fully realized, round characters in all of story telling. Scarlet is a real person whom I probably would like if I might her which makes her perfect. Tara is a real place with every nook and cranny fully developed and fleshed out. Rhett Butler is a brilliant character full of conflict and tensions true to human life. The scene of the burning of Atlanta is one of the most difficult and haunting scenes in all of literature. The walk back to Tara and the killing of the Yankee at Tara are difficult and perfectly written. I was thoroughly impressed with this book.
Beyond this, it is difficult to look past the blatant racism in this text. There are portions that are difficult to read. It isn’t simply the writing of the time, Mitchell could have gotten around that. The characters could have been true to themselves without Mitchell’s commentary at times. This is an essentially a racist text, but you must take a piece of art as a whole and reconcile the entire thing together, pretty and ugly. This is a unique challenge of this project as many of the early texts walk this line of trying to convey a time as the authors were people of that time with all their own prejudices. With all of that said, passive racism and active racism are different things all together. Mitchell’s text is an actively racist text, trying perhaps to convince you that blacks were happier under slavery because blacks are ‘childlike’ and ‘need direction and discipline’. I found these passages difficult to read. I don’t know what to do with this text, how to square it’s ugliness and prettiness. I am glad to have been forced to read it, now what’s next?