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Gone With the Wind, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 602

Essay

For the below analysis, I chose the opening paragraph of Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone With the Wind”. When I started this assignment, all I remembered was that the novel starts with the description of the main character, Scarlett O’Hara, but after revisiting the paragraph, I found that there is a reason behind this opening.

“Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were. In her face were too sharply blended the delicate features of her mother, a Coast aristocrat of French descent, and the heavy ones of her florid Irish father. But it was an arresting face, pointed of chin, square of jaw. Her eyes were pale green without a touch of hazel, starred with bristly black lashes and slightly tilted at the ends. Above them, her thick black brows slanted upward, cutting a startling oblique line in her magnolia-white skin–that skin so prized by Southern women and so carefully guarded with bonnets, veils and mittens against hot Georgia suns.” (Mitchell, 1936).

In the opening paragraph, Mitchell focuses on the controversies of the main character. Indeed, she states that Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men were attracted to her. This type of opening creates curiosity in the reader: how can she get all the attention? Still, the description of the character is not limited to her appearance. Through detailing Scarlett’s physiological features, the author tells the reader more about her personality and suggests that the heroine has a strong will and personality, by stating that she has an “arresting face”. The author also informs the readers about the location and the background of the heroine: her father is Irish, her mother is French, and the setting is Georgia.

I find the above opening intriguing and exciting. There is a good balance between information told, and information withheld. It makes the reader curious about the character, and helps them picture Scarlett O’Hara.

My experience reading novels has been mixed. I started with traditional novels, following a chronological order of events, and later struggled with modern literature. However, I enjoyed reading novels that represent not only the characters, but also display culture, beliefs, and attitudes the most. This is the reason why I like “Gone with the Wind”. All characters are complex, and nothing is simplified. All behaviors can be justified based on the events, circumstances, and the author goes further than depicting a simple fight between Good and Evil. Indeed, Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett are a mixture of both. They play games and enjoy it, because they are both quick witted. Scarlett is depicted as a selfish wild child who is independent and skilled at manipulating others, but she finds a worthy opponent in Rhett.

I personally enjoy reading books, and I tend to read them before I would watch a movie adaptation. This is because I like imagining the different characters in my head. Reading provides me with more freedom. Several times I have been disappointed by adaptations, as I imagined the main character to look different than they were depicted in the movie. Movies restrict the person’s imagination, just like stage adaptations. In case of plays that are hard to interpret, or have several layers of interpretation, it can be beneficial for one to watch different versions. However, a novel for me is a more open-ended narrative that helps me interpret the language my own way, and draw the conclusion myself. Reading novels have helped me advance my vocabulary and learn the use of descriptive language, just like Mitchell in the opening paragraph of “Gone with the Wind”.

Margaret Mitchell. “Gone with the Wind” 1936. Print.

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