Gone with the Wind (novel)

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Gone with the Wind is a 1936 novel by Margaret Mitchell, about the spoiled daughter of a Georgia plantation owner, who must use every means at her disposal to come out of the poverty she finds herself in during and after the Civil War. It was adapted into an enormously popular 1939 film.


  • “The trouble with most of us Southerners,” continued Rhett Butler, “is that we either don’t travel enough or we don’t profit enough by our travels.... I have seen many things that you all have not seen. The thousands of immigrants who'd be glad to fight for the Yankees for food and a few dollars, the factories, the foundries, the shipyards, the iron and coal mines — all the things we haven't got. Why, all we have is cotton and slaves and arrogance. They'd lick us in a month."
    • Chapter 6
  • Before the war there had been few cotton factories, woolen mills, arsenals and machine shops south of Maryland, a fact of which all Southerners were proud. The South produced statesmen and soldiers, planters and doctors, lawyers and poets, but certainly not engineers or mechanics. Let the Yankees adopt such low callings.
    • Chapter 8
  • "In the end what will happen will be what has happened whenever a civilization breaks up. The people who have brains and courage come through and the ones who haven't are winnowed out. At least, it has been interesting, if not comfortable, to witness a Gotterdammerung."
  • "A what?"
  • "A dusk of the gods. Unfortunately, we Southerners did think we were gods."
    • Chapter 31
  • "It isn't that I mind splitting logs here in the mud, but I do mind what it stands for. I do mind, very much, the loss of the beauty of the old life I loved. Scarlett, before the war, life was beautiful. There was a glamor to it, a perfection and a completeness and a symmetry to it like Grecian art. Maybe it wasn't so to everyone. I know that now. But to me, living at Twelve Oaks, there was a real beauty to living. I belonged in that life. I was a part of it. And now it is gone and I am out of place in this new life, and I am afraid. Now, I know that in the old days it was a shadow show I watched. I avoided everything which was not shadowy, people and situations which were too real, too vital. I resented their intrusion. I tried to avoid you too, Scarlett. You were too full of living and too real and I was cowardly enough to prefer shadows and dreams."
    • Chapter 31
  • I cannot understand why I did not desert. It was all the purest insanity. But it’s in one’s blood. Southerners can never resist a losing cause.
    • Chapter 34
  • There ain’t nothin’ that walks can lick us, any more than it could lick him, not Yankees nor Carpetbaggers nor hard times nor high taxes nor even downright starvation. But that weakness that’s in our hearts can lick us in the time it takes to bat your eye.
    • Chapter 38
  • Hardships make or break people.
    • Chapter 40
  • These women, so swift to kindness, so tender to the sorrowing, so untiring in times of stress, could be as implacable as furies to any renegade who broke one small law of their unwritten code. This code was simple. Reverence for the Confederacy, honor to the veterans, loyalty to old forms, pride in poverty, open hands to friends and undying hatred to Yankees.
    • Chapter 47
  • Drink and dissipation had done their work on the coin-clean profile and now it was no longer the head of a young pagan prince on new-minted gold but a decadent, tired Caesar on copper debased by long usage.
    • Chapter 63
  • She was seeing through Rhett's eyes the passing, not of a woman but of a legend — the gentle, self-effacing but steel-spined women on whom the South had builded its house in war and to whose proud and loving arms it had returned in defeat.
    • Chapter 63

Quotes about[edit]

  • "In this day and age it is impossible to conquer the state through a bloody uprising. But we can do something else, something which we are doing, which is to simply change things by our presence". He jabs at the air with his fingers: "We're saying: I'm here; I was never part of Gone With the Wind, I was never an intended slave, I was never a happy darkie, I have a right to live on my terms, now get out of my way!"
    • 1985 interview in Conversations with James Baldwin edited by Louis H. Pratt and Fred L. Standley (1989)
  • During the summer of 1939 Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell's novel of the old American South, enjoyed a surge of popularity in Poland. 'Somehow, I considered it prophetic,' wrote one of its Polish readers, Rula Langer. Few of her compatriots doubted that a conflict with Germany was imminent, because Hitler had made plain his commitment to conquest. Poland's fiercely nationalistic people responded to the Nazi threat with the same spirit as the doomed young men of the Confederacy in 1861. 'Like most of us, I believed in happy endings,' a young fighter pilot recalled, 'We wanted to fight, it excited us, and we wanted it to happen fast. We didn't believe that something bad could really happen.' When artillery lieutenant Jan Karski received his mobilisation order on 25 August, his sister waned against burdening himself with too many clothes. 'You aren't going to Siberia,' she said, 'We'll have you on our hands again within a month.'
  • there was a time when a new novel came out — let's take Saul Bellow — and it was a public event. And really, it wasn't just an elitist hobby. I remember — this goes way, way back into my early childhood — when Gone with the Wind was published, the world was whirling around this novel. I remember walking to school and seeing shopkeepers sitting outside their shops reading Gone with the Wind. This was an event. It changed people's minds. Maybe I have a yearning for that, though I don't see it would ever happen again. On the other hand, didn't we see that with Downton Abbey? So maybe it isn't all lost.
  • The book that made me want to be a writer in the first place was Gone with the Wind—I read it and wanted to create a whole world out of words, too.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]