That was the ending note of “Gone with the wind”. To call it a novel would be simply condescending, for it is one of the biggest masterpieces of all times. First released in 1936, the only novel written by Margaret Mitchell, it was the beginning of a new experience which people would continue to revel in and enjoy for several generations to come.
The author had initially named the book and the central character Pansy. However, McMillan persuaded her to rename the character, and so Scarlett ‘O’ Hara was born. The titles “Tomorrow is Another day” and “Tote the Weary Load” were considered, but dropped, as there were other books with similar names. The book was adapted into a movie, featuring Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable. The movie was a smash hit. It is hailed even today as one of the greatest classics, mainly because the lead actors made their roles come alive and thrilled the audiences. The plot revolves around the fiery, wild and ruthless Scarlett ‘O’ Hara, daughter of a rich cotton plantation owner – her struggle for security and her passionate, scintillating love story with Rhett Butler. It is based during the period of the American Civil War, which completely destroyed an entire way of life as it was known to Americans in Southern part of the USA.
But why is this book so fascinating, so much loved? Why do generations after generations still read it, and fall hopelessly in love with it? Because, Scarlett ‘O’ Hara was a woman who was born much ahead of time. Even if she were born today, she would gain reluctant admiration from everyone. Because, it talks about human behaviour which hasn’t really changed, even today. Because Scarlett is a woman one can admire, love, despise and hate all at the same time.
In the story, Scarlett starts out as a spoilt, wild young lady. She struggled through war to save her family, property and friends, absolutely single handed. She realised that when tough times come, for a family to survive, somebody has to change, and make the decisions which others have no courage to take. And it is this somebody, who is misunderstood and hated by all, whose sacrifices are never acknowledged. Scarlett was a shrewd and successful entrepreneur. But since she had entered a male-dominated industry, her success was ignored. She lost her favourite child in a horrific accident, which left her husband grief-struck and helpless. Yet again, it was she who had to square her shoulders and stand strong, when she really wanted to collapse and grieve too. Unfortunately, her mea culpa was that she wasted all her emotions on a man who never really loved her, or was even worthy of her. She shunned the people, out of spite, who were noble and loving. When she finally realised it, and understood true love, it left her. When she tried to stop him, her soulmate, the only man who loved her for what she was, told her “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”, and left. Her best friend was dead, all the other people who she could once depend on, had left her forever.
Yet, she never gave up. Even at that moment, she picked herself up, and thought “I ll think about it tomorrow – After all, tomorrow is another day”. It is this spirit that has made the book immortal. There are many lessons one can take from this book, but the most important one is that people’s skills and a high EQ are the most important things for anyone to survive. And never, ever say die.