Honors Freshman Lit & Comp Fall Book Report. Example for Mrs. Dusto’s Class. Part 1: Visualization. Gone With the Wind. By Margaret Mitchell. Kate Dusto Mrs. Dusto English III 28 November 2012. Part 2: Background Knowledge.
Example for Mrs. Dusto’s Class
Gone With the Wind
By Margaret Mitchell
28 November 2012
Born in 1900, Margaret Mitchell grew up in Atlanta. She enjoyed writing from a young age and created illustrated books based on stories from her imagination. Mitchell eventually parlayed that interest into a job at the Atlanta Journal Sunday Magazine, where her responsibilities including writing articles as well as proofreading.
Mitchell’s foray into professional fiction came about as quite an accident. She was stranded at home with a broken ankle and began writing a story about the Old South simply to relieve her boredom. Little did she know that her tale of Scarlett O’Hara would become an American classic. Gone With the Wind was a huge success upon its publication in 1939. Mitchell never published another novel, and she died in 1949 when a taxi hit her while she was crossing Peachtree Street (a street she made famous in her novel).
Offensively bold or impertinent
Thoughtfulness, consideration, politeness, gentility
“The mainspring of his existence was taken away when she died and with it has gone his bounding assurance, his impudence and his restless vitality.” (pg #)
The toddler stomped her foot with impudence when she didn’t get the chocolate pudding she demanded.
Sentence from the book
Poem: “Scarlett Figures It Out Too Late”
Scarlett’s impudence got her in trouble
She could not contain her vitality
Her thirst for life was not quenched but doubled
When she duped the poor, weak Frank Kennedy
Into marriage to save Tara. A martyr,
Scarlett sacrificed her happiness to
Get money to pay taxes; her larder
Was full but her motives were quite oblique.
She thought she loved Ashley instead of Frank
What kept them apart: His humility
Or Scarlett’s own duplicity?
Only Rhett understood both sides of her personality
(He hid his own secrets behind swarthy good looks)
etc. for 20 lines…
Words & Sentences
“Even Mrs. Merriwether, Mrs. Whiting, Mrs. Meade and the other dowagerswho had been so cool to her during the last days of the war, forgot her flighty conduct and their disapproval of it” (592).
“Oh, come! You are confessing and you might as confess the truth as a decorous lie” (821).
Rhett is visiting Scarlett after Frank’s death. When she acts sad about it, he calls her out for being a hypocrite and only professing emotions that would be considered polite in society. He wants her to admit she didn’t care about Frank because he wants to marry her himself!
Scarlett has just married Frank. Although the old ladies in the town disapproved of how it happened (Scarlett “stole” him from her sister), they are now treating her warmly. The community is sticking together as they work through the challenges of Reconstruction after the Civil War
The first time Scarlett encounters Rhett, he surprises her when she thinks she is alone in the library. She did not know that he has overheard her entire conversation with Ashley, as she pleaded with Ashley to forsake Melanie and marry her instead. After Ashley’s departure, Rhett sits up from the couch and says, “Eavesdroppers often hear highly entertaining and instructive things” (122). Scarlett is infuriated by this comment and invasion of privacy, and it sets in motion their tumultuous relationship.
This event reminds me of a time in middle school when I was overheard saying something very rude an embarrassing. My friend and I were at a school play and were rudely discussing a teacher we disliked; the teacher was helping behind the scenes of the play. After the play, the teacher we had been bashing waved in our direction and walked over to us. We were sure there was no way she had heard our conversation, yet it was odd that she was approaching it. Imagine how dismayed we were as we watched her hug the woman in front of us—her mother! My friend and I hightailed it out of the auditorium.
I do not know if the teacher ever heard about our conversation from her mother. I am still surprised that her mother did not confront us, but maybe she did not feel like it was her place. Either way, this lesson confirmed that “eavesdroppers often hear highly entertaining” or insulting things, so now I keep negative, secret thoughts to myself.
I really do not understand what Scarlett sees in you. I know you lost your family’s plantation, Twelve Oaks, in the war—and with it your entire way of life. I can sympathize with your loss, but at the same time I think you spend too much time whining about it. You actually had the nerve to tell Scarlett that you are “fitted for nothing in this world, for the world I belonged in [is] gone” (527). True, you lost a way of life. But the beautiful thing about life, especially in America, is that you have the opportunity to reinvent yourself.
Scarlett reinvents herself multiple times throughout the story. She reacts to the loss of the Old South in a completely different way, persevering through the challenges while embracing the new opportunities. When she observes people in Atlanta futilely trying to hold to their traditions, she scoffs at them for their blindness. She sees “only a silly stiff-neckedness which observ[s] facts and refuse[s] to look them in the face” (608).
You, Ashley, are one of those stiff-necked people. The Old South is gone; get over it. Your sniveling is only holding Scarlett back. She may not be the most moral woman, but you can’t deny that she is a hard worker. Frankly, sir, you don’t deserve such a hard worker as your companion.
The title of Margaret Mitchell’s classic novel Gone with the Wind reflects the loss of a way of life that defined the Old South. Prior to the Civil War, Scarlett and Ashley both lived on successful plantations. Ashley recalls that “there was a real beauty to living” at Twelve Oaks plantation because he “belonged in that life” (529). This statement reveals that Ashley symbolizes the traditions associated with the society of the Old South. He was comfortable in the social customs and hierarchy that existed in his community. After the war, however, he struggles to deal with a new way of life because he doesn’t “belong.” Rhett recognizes this, telling Scarlett that traditional people like Ashley are upset not because they lost their money or homes, but because they lost the only world they know. He tells her that “they’re like fish out of water or cats with wings” (770). This observation explains why some people in the south are unable to adapt to a new reality. Now that their niche in the world is gone, they do not know how to cope. Rhett’s comment illustrates that people who cannot adapt will not survive in the new America that is forming post-Civil War. The title of the book describes a way of life—and also a segment of American history—that was forced to change after the Civil War.
The heroine of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind, Scarlett O’Hara, possesses an individualistic spirit that foreshadows the American women’s movement. As a girl, Scarlett longs to be like her polite, respectable mother. She is disappointed to find that being “just and truthful and tender and unselfish”—or in other words, the perfect Southern lady—“one missed most of the joys of life and certainly many beaux” (60). This example of Scarlett’s obstinate attitude reveals her priorities. Being a lady is an admirable goal, but Scarlett would much rather enjoy herself. Throughout the book, Scarlett develops her own set of morals that does not necessarily correspond with social customs. Others in the community condemn her for her independence. India Wilkes, for example, criticizes Scarlett’s entrepreneurial spirit, claiming Scarlett “[gives] Yankees and riffraff the right to laugh at us and make insulting remarks about our lack of gentility” (795). Her comment reveals that Scarlett cares more about getting ahead—particularly about acquiring money to save Tara—than she does about respecting social traditions. To India, and other members of the Old South who refuse to let go of their lost way of life, Scarlett’s actions are inexcusable. Through her independent spirit and persistent, stubborn attitude, Scarlett O’Hara represents a new type of American woman.
Through the character of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell illustrates that the American Dream, often represented by material wealth or self-understanding, does not always lead to happiness. When Scarlett returns to Tara after the Civil War, she is devastated to find it destroyed. “I’m going to live through this,” she vows, “and when it’s over, I’m never going to be hungry again” (428). In this emotional scene, Scarlett identifies her primary motivation for the rest of the book: She wants to preserve Tara at all costs. Scarlett longs to restore the plantation to its former glory because it represents the traditional way of life that was lost in the war. Through sweat and schemes, Scarlett raises money to pay Tara’s taxes and improve her living conditions. Even when she has money as Mrs. Rhett Butler, though, she cannot relax. Rhett calls her a fool for being superficial. He tells her she “should have insured a place for [her] children in the social scheme years ago” rather than stepping over others to get what she wanted (903). Scarlett, according to Rhett is “too anxious to make money and too fond of bullying people” (903). Rhett tells Scarlett what she does not want to admit to herself. Her single-minded goal of making money causes her to abuse others. In the end, Rhett leaves her because he cannot withstand her selfishness and stubbornness. Although Scarlett achieves the American Dream by acquiring great wealth, she fails to understand herself until it is too late. At the end of the novel, she is left with an ostentatious house and no friends, demonstrating that the American Dream sometimes comes with strings.