Pride and splendor in “Gone with the Wind”

“Gone with the Wind” is a stage of the might of history, the titanic pride of the South, unbendable love and merciless purity. This novel transforms horror into a song and love into a sun rising amidst a thunderstorm. Here, fear is a superior emotion as it is accompanied by courage, dignity, and will for life and the individual shines equally bright in the personal tragedies and in the common fate of the Confederation.

The South  this is a narrow-minded society guided by principles whose stupidity is surpassed only by their tyranny. The man must drink, go hunting, and speak about war. The woman must faint, scream, and give birth. The gentleman must be gallant with the lady and she must encourage his confidence. These rules summarize the whole worldview of society. The ones who dare to break them are punished by exile and eternal disapproval. But the worse thing is that there are all types of secrets and traps which do not allow you to violate the rules. Every attempt at taking control over one’s own life is stopped at the very beginning.

This world would have been the worst if it was fake, bogus, and non-durable. But it was not. It was real and as such it deserved to exist. Its truthfulness was evident when all of its premises collapsed but its values remained. The noble ladies we still noble even without the expensive dresses and the porcelain china. The men remained gentlemen even without the sumptuous houses and the freedom of self-governance. The Confederate banknotes kept their value although they could not buy anything in the stores. The land still belonged to the cotton planters although it was scorched and plundered.

The South fell with the turmoil of an empire destroyed by the sky itself. The Confederates were left without their close ones, without rights, without homes, and without money. But with the imperishable shine of their dignity and pride. The high position of their heads and the relentlessness in their eyes contained as much as the whole opulence of their past. These people in their sadness, quietness, and persistence were titans who could not be broken by any external power.

The dignity of the Southerners was most evident in the details. The women who waited for the newspaper to learn the names of the fallen soldiers were the symbols of an indestructible power built by the fingers of suffering. Ashley Wilkes remained captive and proved that the enemy cannot decide what is freedom for him. Scarlett O’Hara crushed the Yankees with her refusal to give them the sword of her child. John Wilkes, riding Nelly, is an opponent before whom every Yankee should stay quiet. Beatrice Tarleton who had given the last living thing she loved could not lose the war anymore. Melanie Hamilton showed that cruelty does not kill nobleness and chose to plant flowers on the graves of the enemy soldiers. Gerald O’Hara could not sign the oath even when he had lost his mind. Belle Watling rejected the insults against her in order to help her people. India Wilkes apologized to Rhett for her mistake but said that she still detested him as her principles required her to do. Dr. Meade preferred the honor of his wide even when the truth could cost him his life. Mrs. Meade was ready to sacrifice her pride in order to save her husband. Mammy, Pork, Dilcey found the freedom in remaining with their old masters and withstanding all future challenges. The castles of the South had disappeared forever but their ruins shone with purer beauty than ever.

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