Sex. Controversy. Violence.
Relevance to today’s culture.
No, I’m not talking 50 SHADES OF GREY. I’m talking
GONE WITH THE WIND.
GONE WITH THE WIND.
Almost from the start, controversy surrounded the novel.
It wasn’t only the romantic passions of Gone With The Wind that enflamed readers, it was Mitchell’s volatile mix of racial and gender politics.
Her glorification of the Old South and its racial bigotry outraged many in her day,
and that outrage burns just as hotly with lots of modern readers as one can see from the recent commercial success of The Help.
Published only a couple of years after the Great Depression, the novel re-enacts a story that was fresh in the minds of readers of that era who had just witnessed their own version of financial collapse.
Her survive-at-any-cost morality, her slippery situational ethics were perfectly suited for the time this novel appeared and are still as relevant 75 years later.
To many, Scarlett’s cutthroat behavior was evidence of all that was wrong with capitalism,
while to others she was a symbol of all that’s right.
And for a woman, of all things, to dominate her male counterparts both in the boardroom and the bedroom made many readers bristle all the more.
As the film critic Molly Haskell says about Scarlett “… you hate her and you love her, a heroine of ambiguous morality who is revolutionary … in that she refuses to be chastened, brought to heel …”
For similar reasons, THE GODFATHER impacted the bestseller lists.
Whether the exploitiveness of reality TV, which plays such a central role in The Hunger Games, will still concern anyone in 75 years is doubtful.
But there’s little question that our national discourse will still be galvanized by issues of race and gender and avarice, all of which Gone With The Wind so richly explores.
What novels have you read recently that you believe will still have an impact 75 years from now?
Will the HARRY POTTER SERIES have that kind of long-lasting impact?
What about your novel? Victor Standish says, "Of course!"
But you know how humble he isn't! :-)