Carol Platt Liebau: A Great American Novel

Sunday, June 25, 2006

A Great American Novel

For some reason, George Will chose to write a piece about a great American novel which -- remarkably enough -- was made into one of the greatest films ever.

I read "Gone With the Wind" as a fifth-grader (you can imagine that Belle Watling made for some interesting questions for my mother). It's spoken to women for generations, perhaps because it contains two archetypes of female behavior: Feisty, aggressive Scarlett O'Hara (Hamilton Kennedy Butler) and sweet but strong Melanie Hamilton Wilkes.

Over time, I've come to see that the two characters -- and the interplay between them -- are endlessly fascinating to women because they represent the often-conflicting impulses that compete within each of us. Together, they demonstrate the vastly different types of strength and determination that women can muster during tough times.

Despite its often retrograde attitudes toward African-Americans, it was one of the few pieces of literature at the time that credited black people with intelligence, humanity, and influence over the people who had enslaved them. Perhaps it's somewhat ironic, but also hardly surprising, that Hattie McDaniel would become the first African-American to win an Oscar (as best supporting actress) for her memorable portrayal of Mammy.

4 Comments:

Blogger Dittohead said...

I like that George Will has hope for the future based on our past. Even though he sees how the nation is faultering under Bush's leadership.

A country fractured in some many different directions as if it is exploding.

A government that spys on it's citizens, conducts sneak and peeks, condones torture and secret prisons. A Supreme Court that allows entry into our homes without warning like SS night raids of a Germany few care to remember, like the night raids our troops performed on Christmas Day in Iraq.

The hatred and contempt of the ruling class and the wealthy towards the less fortunate. Churches that have been hijacked by leaders who hate, are bigots, and filled with self-righteousness. Lost leaders that take joy in conducting war against those who hold different beliefs.

A nation that substituted violence, fear, and killing for what used to be missionary work, education, economic assistence and championship in human rights.

12:21 PM  
Blogger amber said...

I like Gone With the Wind, but I do have some issues with it. I find it disconcerting that the main people were never honest (excepting Mrs. Ashley, melinda?). They could have saved them all a lot of heartache if they had just been honest with each other. I know that is the way a lot of people are, but it makes for a very poor relationship. The whole rape scene was strange too, Scarlet enjoyed it, seemed odd. Now if she did not protest as much as she did I might understand, but it was odd. He treated her like a baby. All in all, I like the movie (never read the book, not my kind of reading material), I even bought it. I hated the 'sequal'.

As long as we are on books, though. I just read The Sun Also Rises. I thought it was pretty funny at parts and I enjoyed it. I also read The Birth of Venus, great book ( a might bit strange, but still great). I am reading right now: America's Victories (I like it a lot, there is a lot of history in it); Gilead, this one is not bad; There Eyes Were Watching God, a little sad but well written; The Long Grey Line, I am almost done with this one I liked i a lot (kind of required reading in my house since my brither went there and our children all want to go there together); The story of i, I LOVE math, so this is fun reading for me. I read multiple books at a time, it might have to do with my attention disorder, I don't know. I absolutly hate reading Faulkner. I started Absalom and I swear he had ADD of the pen, I could not get through it. I would be interested to hear what everyone else is reading and what they like.

12:42 PM  
Blogger amber said...

I really should read my posts before I send them, there are so many spelling errors, sorry. Spelling is over rated anyways, don't tell my kids I said that.

12:44 PM  
Blogger wile e coyote said...

Dittohead,

Yawn

2:55 PM  

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