Finally…I have just finished the first part for Gone With The Wind Read Along. This read along does not have any deadline for reading each part, everyone have their own paces; however as the host, I feel like I must be ahead from everyone. The problem is, I was a bit struggling with this part. Mitchell focused this opening part to explain the social condition in the Southern America when the civil war was beginning to come closer.
Mitchell also started to built in this part, Scarlett O’Hara’s character when she was sixteen years old, and all she was thinking was only how to get men attracted to her. Frankly speaking, I failed to have sympathy for Scarlett. To me she was spoiled, childish, self-centered, and narrow minded. I’m going to say foolish too, but I realized that she was only sixteen then and was grown up in 19 century when the only purpose in women’s lives was only to get married. Still, I was almost disgusted at Scarlett’s minds, I have never read any book with a main protagonist as annoying as Scarlett. I almost could not find any positive personality from Scarlett other than being persistent in what she wanted (if that could be assumed as a positive side).
The main story was about Scarlett who loved Ashley Wilkes, a young man who was far different from her. The Wilkes had a like in books and music, something that Southern people thought ridiculous. Although Ashley never mentioned it, Scarlett always imagined that Ashley loved her in return and would someday propose to marry her. However, instead of nurturing their relationship, Scarlett also flirted with any other men, only because she felt that she was the most attractive young lady in the county, to whom men’s interests should be poured to (I always HATE girls like this!) and that she must always get what she wanted.
How surprised Scarlett was when she heard that Ashley would be engaged to his cousin. And half of part one was dedicated to tell about Scarlett’s tricks to thwart the engagement. And what do you think she did after knowing the fact? Learned from her mistakes? Wiped in broken heart? No! She did another stupid mistake, decided to marry a young man (a rich one) whom she never even liked or thought about. Unfortunately (or fortunately for Scarlett?) the war arrived, the young men must joined the troop, and Charles (Scarlett’s husband) must left Scarlett who was pregnant. And what do you think she felt about the baby? She did not take any care of it, she even forgot that she have had a baby. Scarlett always thought about herself, what she must have had, what she lost, what others should have treated her, etc etc…
Rhett Butler did appeared in the last chapters, as a snob young man who—I think—has similar characters as Scarlett. And besides that annoying Scarlett, several chapters were dedicated to describe about Gerald and Ellen O’Hara (Scarlett’s parents); how Gerald who was Irish could have settled in the South and have built Tara and the plantation, and how he married Ellen. These chapters were quite long in narration (and made me drowsy sometimes) but I found the history and the struggles quite interesting.
In short, if Jillian hasn’t warned me that Gone With The Wind was not a (pure) romance novel, I would think that I’m reading a bulk chicklit novel, and would definitely have given up. However, as I knew that this is an epic tale, and I am only on Part 1, I will keep reading this and hope everything will get better in the next parts. But first I need to grab another book before getting to Part 2 and to calm my mind down, or otherwise I will keep shouting to Scarlett through Part 2 and won’t enjoy the reading :))
Oh, and this is a quote of what Ashley told Scarlett about love and marriage, which makes sense.
“Love isn’t enough to make a successful marriage when two people are as different as we are. You would want all of a man, Scarlett, his body, his heart, his soul, his thoughts… And you would be hurt, and then you would come to hate me—how bitterly! You would hate the books I read and the music I loved, because they took me away from you even for a moment.”
How about you? What have you found in Part One? Don’t forget to share it in the Update Posts page, and hop to other blogs as well!