Frankly Scarlett, The Book Is Better!

Looking for a good book to curl up with over Diwali vacation or this weekend? My vote goes to Gone With The Wind, a story of survival by Margaret Mitchell. My review below.

“Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.”

Thus begins Margaret Mitchell’s classic novel Gone With The Wind. Scarlett O’ Hara, the spoiled – rotten protagonist who would do anything to attain her heart’s desire is introduced to the readers as she charms her way out with the Tarleton twins. But unlike her description in the book – a woman with an arresting face, pointed of chin, square of jaw, pale green eyes without a touch of hazel – the Scarlett O’ Hara portrayed by Vivien Leigh is entirely different. You cannot imagine an ordinary looking Vivien Leigh. And this is where the movie makes its first mistake. Although it is a long movie, it merely touches the surface of the book. It fails to bring out the details and the beauty of Tara, Scarlett’s hometown.

The book is one of those that would make you go back and read again and again. And the credit goes to the beauty of Margaret Mitchell’s writing and of course, Scarlett herself. Although written in 1936, Scarlett is the modern age woman. She defies the customs and traditions of her world and does what pleases her heart and mind. Unlike the other Southern woman, she resorts to every means possible to attain what her heart desires without caring about the society. But no matter what she does or how she does it, as a reader you will adore her character. And not only her but also Rhett Butler, the sweet and naive Melanie, the good (and sometimes irritating) Ashley and the lovely Mammy. There are so many different individual stories that have been weaved together to form the novel that you will somehow manage to find something that would make you return to the book.

If you have only seen the movie, you don’t know the true story of Gone With The Wind because the book is much more than just a love story. It revolves around war, reconstruction, societal norms, class, race, money and survival. To describe Gone With The Wind in one word, I would have to agree with what Margaret Mitchell said- survival. The story does not merely deal with survival after losing a loved one to someone else, but also with surviving an era which goes through war and destruction and disrupts the life of a society.

I am fond of the book and its characters and in no time I will see myself flipping through the pages to visit the world of Scarlett O’ Hara.

- Esha Chanda

The novel Gone With The Wind is available at Landmark, Crossword and Oxford Bookstore.

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