Where to begin? I will be finally reading Gone With the Wind from May until August as part of my first readalong experience (hosted by the wonderful Corinne). This post shall serve as both an introduction to further posts, as well as a record of my first impressions.
But before I begin, let me tell you how and why I bought this book. Shortly after being invited by Corinne to participate in her readalong (again, I am SO grateful and excited!), on April 19th I decided to join and read GWTW. I still had one last exam to write on the 21st and planned to borrow the book from the library soon after. However, on Thursday the 23rd I chanced to be in a BMV bookstore (they sell used books at great prices and discount books that aren’t even used – I love it!). Behold my unfettered excitement and willingness to believe in fate just for that moment when I saw the golden-decked edition on the display table, priced at $10. Score! I grabbed the book without a second thought. I love how the two events unfolded in my favour. Besides, now that I own the book — I have to like it! 🙂
Now, my first impressions. I love Margaret Mitchell’s writing and descriptions of the Tara plantation, the sunset, the soil, and Scarlett herself. She definitely peaked my curiosity when Mitchell remarked that her tight and pristine outfit did not manage to hide her eyes which were “turbulent, willful, lusty with life”. That’s how I like my female protagonists. 🙂 However, I was mildly disappointed when it was revealed that Scarlett is not a big reader. I am hoping that will change.
I should also mention that I am extremely uncomfortable with the characterization of the slaves, and the very mention of slavery. I know this is pre-Civil War South, but still — I am not used to reading books that deal with that time period in that region. I doubt I will become less uncomfortable and can only hope that the nonchalant purchase of human beings is the worst it gets in this book…
Indeed, I was further unsettled by the Tarleton twins who, had they lived in the twenty-first century, would surely be sporting those oversized baseball caps and ill-fitting jeans that I so detest. The presence of the shallow Tarleton twins was made tolerable by the mention of Ashley Wilkes. He, and the rest of the Wilkes, seem to be the characters for my liking! No wonder Scarlett loved him:
“For Ashley was born of a line of men who used their leisure for thinking, not doing, for spinning brightly colored dreams that had in them no touch of reality. He moved in an inner world that was more beautiful than Georgia and came back to reality with reluctance. He looked on people, and he neither liked nor disliked them. He looked on life and was neither heartened nor saddened. He accepted the universe and his place in it for what they were and, shrugging, turned to his music and books and his better world.”
So that’s it for now! Let’s end with a hooray for Ashley Wilkes and Margaret Mitchell’s lovely writing!