Saturday, 24 May 2014

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Scarlett O'Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.

These were the days when telling instead of showing was in vogue. Personally, I don't know what is wrong with telling instead of showing sometimes. Most readers will say it's boring and most publishers will say it doesn't sell books nowadays, but this is more a social comment on the reading public, then on the art of writing. Does anyone even read these kind of novels anymore, you know, the ones that are long and drone on for acres of pages? Thank god for HBO or we might actually have to read A Song of Ice and Fire.

The paragraphs are thick, layered with levels of back story and description.

And I always thought that Scarlett was beautiful, or least Vivian Leigh was. I guess the film ruined something of the novel. Overall, this is an effective way of introducing the protagonist of the novel, so points for that. It foreshadows conflict, and one wonders if the twins are going to kill each other for the right to smell Scarlett's hand. But what I like most is the sassiness of this line and the implied manipulative nature of Scarlett. Personally, I'd prefer to be shown this from the get-go rather than simply be told though. It wouldn't have required much space.

First thing said:

"I know you two don't care about being expelled, or Tom either, but what about Boyd?

Dialogue that  reveals the character of the speaker, some conflict and new people gets top marks. At least it's not something redundant like: "Hello - is anyone reading this book?"

This is the first of the top 100 novels from Daniel S. Burt's book called Novel 100., the top 100 novels of all time. There is debate of course as to what should be on that list, but his list is as good as any. Gone with the Wind is number 100.

Verdict: Pass

Theodore Moracht

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