AP U.S. History, Period 6
31 May 2016
Gone With the Wind
Gone With the Wind, written by Margaret Mitchell, inaccurately portrays time period during the American Civil War (1861-1865) and Reconstruction Era (1865-1877). Set in Clayton County, Georgia and Atlanta, Mitchell falsely depicts the rise of the feminism through Scarlett O’Hara, for it did not exist at the time. In addition, although she accurately maintains the historical background of the novel by providing details about the war and important figures, the portrayals of several key characters in comparison to those who lived in the actual time period are not realistic. Overall, especially because the novel is written in a biased point of view of a white southerner, Gone With the Wind is historically false.
At the very start of the novel, readers are given an introduction to the traditions and values of families living in the South. Mitchell describes the expectations of Southerners before the American Civil War; the men “owned the property, and the woman managed it. The man took the credit for the management, and the woman praised his cleverness” (Mitchell 51). This affirms that traditional gender roles in the household are commonly enforced. Scarlett O’Hara, the daughter of an aristocratic family, is praised for her manners, charm, and her “seventeen-inch waist, the smallest in three counties” (Mitchell 5), and primarily focuses on finding the perfect suitor. In Women in the Civil War, it is also asserted that before the war, women “devoted their lives to creating a clean, comfortable, nurturing home for their husbands and children” (History.com Staff). This exemplifies how greatly the women valued the notion of creating an ideal So...
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... is overall inaccurate in comparison to history.
Croddy, Marshall. "Slavery in the American South." - Constitutional Rights Foundatio
n. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 May 2016.
History.com Staff. "Women in the Civil War." History.com. A&E Television Networks, 01 Jan. 2010. Web. 26 May 2016.
Library of Congress. "Pre-Civil War African-American Slavery - American Memory Timeline- Classroom Presentation | Teacher Resources - Library of Congress." Pre-Civil War African-American Slavery - American Memory Timeline- Classroom Presentation | Teacher Resources - Library of Congress. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 May 2016.
President and Fellows of Harvard College. "Women and the Law." Women and the Law. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 May 2016.
Randolph, Stephen. "Preventing Diplomatic Recognition of the Confederacy, 1861–1865." Milestones: 1861–1865. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 May 2016.
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