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Gone With The Wind.
May 11, 2011
5:29 pm
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TinaII2None
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MegC said:


The sentiments expressed could have been said by John Wilkes or Ashley or Rhett…all of whom said almost exactly that.  However, John Wilkes or Ashley would have said it more poetically and Rhett would never have used the word “folly” or the phrase “…can you make”.  Obviously it is spoken by someone from the North either pre-war or very early in the war.  So, my guesses are…
1. Abraham Lincoln (I don't think so, I think Lincoln tried very hard before the war started and immediately after the war started to keep from further distancing the southern states, and using the phrase, “You people of the South don't know what you are doing…” would only piss them off and make them more determined.)

2.  General Sherman (I don't know why, but I think it's a possibility).

3.  General Grant (if it was Grant, I will poop my pants because I have never heard good things about Grant)

4.  Queen Victoria (a shot in the dark but maybe?)


Well thankfully you won't have to poop your pants! LOL

It was William Tecumseh Sherman — said to his friend, Professor David Boyd, an ardent secessionist, after South Carolina left the Union. When I read it I was like “Hey wait…that sounds like….” and then the article later made mention that it was similar to the little speech Rhett Butler makes in both the book and movie versions of GWTW. Just thought that was it was interesting. Laugh

Henry: Mistress Anne, will you teach the king of England how they dance in the French court?
Anne: There is nothing that France can teach England, your majesty.
King Henry VIII: Well said. Well said.
– Anne of the Thousand Days (1969)

May 20, 2011
9:34 am
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MegC
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Oh my goodness!  I haven't updated in awhile!

The “Ashley, I love you, run away with me and leave all this behind” scene is over, thank god!  No many how many times I read it or see it in the movie, it's still just awkward.

Jonas Wilkerson and his trashy wife Emmie have come and gone.  I think it's the only time in the entire book that Emmie speaks anything, but MM was smart enough to realize that proper English wouldn't exactly be Emmie's strong point.  

Scarlett decides to make a dress out of Ellen's curtains and head off to Atlanta to try to get the money from Rhett.

Mammy and Scarlett have arrived in Atlanta and Scarlett has gone to see Rhett in jail.

Scarlett has ensnared Frank Kennedy and married him by telling him that Suellen married Tony Fontaine instead.  While I find this particular act of Scarlett's completely amoral, I also can't find any sympathy for Suellen because I don't really like Suellen.  I just find her whiney and presumptuous and I tend to agree with Scarlett's assessment that Suellen doesn't deserve Frank Kennedy or his money.  I think she's right in thinking that Suellen would probably completely forget all about Tara and those still living there and never send them a penny and I find that equally as wrong as Scarlett marrying Frank out from under Suellen's nose.  

I had completely forgotten about the scene where Rhett comes to see Scarlett when she's at Frank's store while Frank is down with the grippe (which, I discovered, is influenza).  The scene from the movie where they meet on the street outside his store was so strong in my mind, that Rhett's visit at the store had completely left my head.  I found it an interesting scene, especially the part where Rhett insists that they discuss Ashley because he is lending Scarlett the money to buy the mill.  He points out that if Ashley really loved Scarlett, he would NEVER have allowed Scarlett to come to Atlanta to beg for money–especially from him.  And Scarlett has to concede to herself that if Ashley had given any kind of indication at all–even at the train station, she would have stayed.  There's also a part where she thinks to herself that one of the reasons she loves Ashley is because he “loves” her because of all these noble qualities that he sees in her.  And she lists off a bunch of characteristics that I couldn't help to think to myself didn't seem to be present in any huge quantities in Scarlett.  This just tells me that Ashley allows Scarlett to pretend to herself that she's more of a lady than she really is.

Frank is, of course, mortified that Scarlett has bought this mill and is attempting to run it on her own.  So he decides she needs a baby.  Poor Frank really didn't know Scarlett at all, did he?  Another scene I had forgotten about is when Tony Fontaine is on the run from the Yankees for killing Jonas Wilkerson and their former foreman.  I have to admit that I was glad he killed Wilkerson.  What a sleezy piece of work he was straight from the beginning.  But the conversation that occurs between Scarlett and Frank after Tony leaves for Texas (and can I just insert right here that I always thought “Tony” was a very non-Southern name for a Southern character in a book so well-known for it's Southernness?), and the the narrative that MM inserts at this point is very interesting.  Reconstruction was rough on Georgia and it really does seem like the Federal government was trying to punish the south for the War.  And (God forgive me for saying this) somehow MM makes the KKK seem almost noble in its intent.  Of course we all know that the KKK has devolved into nothing more than a hate group of ignorant crazies, but I have to wonder if there wasn't more to it in the beginning.  If the Georgia portrayed in GWTW is half-way accurate with the justice system and politics completely corrupted and poverty running rampant, with truly innocent people being thrown in jail for no good reason, then I can understand where men felt that there was no other option to protect their families and property than through vigilante justice.  Sad but true, I guess.

It also allows us to see a side of Frank Kennedy that we don't get to see much of, but which I realized wasn't much of a stretch for a man who had spent four years in the Confederate Army.  He'd seen his share of fighting and war, and he knew how to swallow fear, strap on his big-boy pants, and get something done if he had to, even though it wasn't in his nature exactly.

And then, randomly, Scarlett tells Frank she's pregnant.  I just couldn't figure out how that fit in.

"We mustn't let our passions destroy our dreams…"

May 29, 2011
9:29 am
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I FINALLY finished last night!  We've been potty training my son this weekend (yeah, this is how I spend my holiday weekends) which really just involves sitting around the house waiting on Andrew to use the potty.  I had about 150 pages left yesterday morning and I figured I could make that final push to finish it out.  

I finally understood last night Ashley's feelings for Scarlett, and I don't know why it was such a mystery because MM actually just TELLS us.  It was hard for me to accept that Ashley wanted Scarlett merely physically because he was so stinkin' honorable about everything.  To realize that he was susceptible to physical desires just like any other man and was merely human was an odd realization to come to.  Though it makes sense when you consider the fact that Ashley and Melly clearly weren't having sex.  Either way it seems that Ashley was as guilty of romanticizing Scarlett as she was of him.  When Ashley says that is hurts him to see how Rhett has poisoned Scarlett because she used to be so sweet and blah blah blah, I honestly had to wonder if he was talking about the same Scarlett that I was reading about.  Then Scarlett is relieved that Ashley thinks it's Rhett who's corrupted her even though she's fully aware that her miserly ways are completely her own doing.  It doesn't seem to be until later, when Scarlett sells the mills to Ashley that he seems to realize that perhaps Scarlett isn't all he imagines her to be.  

Meanwhile, to watch the disintegration of Scarlett and Rhett's marriage is just so sad.  It's so obvious to just about everyone that Rhett is madly in love with Scarlett–except to Scarlett who just has a strange sense of what love is and means.  Which is why, I guess, she didn't recognize her own love of Rhett until it was too late.  I guess most women had a strange idea of love and marriage as I think most women viewed marriage as more of a duty rather than something that two people did because they loved each other.  I guess two people could LEARN to love one another after they were married, but it didn't seem to be customary for two people to marry BECAUSE they loved each other–rather that they liked each other and could tolerate each other.

And it was interesting that Ashley and Scarlett both realized too late that they loved their spouses.

"We mustn't let our passions destroy our dreams…"

June 2, 2011
10:16 pm
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MegC said:

Oh my goodness!  I haven't updated in awhile!
 

The “Ashley, I love you, run away with me and leave all this behind” scene is over, thank god!  No many how many times I read it or see it in the movie, it's still just awkward.
 

Jonas Wilkerson and his trashy wife Emmie have come and gone.  I think it's the only time in the entire book that Emmie speaks anything, but MM was smart enough to realize that proper English wouldn't exactly be Emmie's strong point.  
 

Scarlett decides to make a dress out of Ellen's curtains and head off to Atlanta to try to get the money from Rhett.
 

Mammy and Scarlett have arrived in Atlanta and Scarlett has gone to see Rhett in jail.
 

Scarlett has ensnared Frank Kennedy and married him by telling him that Suellen married Tony Fontaine instead.  While I find this particular act of Scarlett's completely amoral, I also can't find any sympathy for Suellen because I don't really like Suellen.  I just find her whiney and presumptuous and I tend to agree with Scarlett's assessment that Suellen doesn't deserve Frank Kennedy or his money.  I think she's right in thinking that Suellen would probably completely forget all about Tara and those still living there and never send them a penny and I find that equally as wrong as Scarlett marrying Frank out from under Suellen's nose.  
 

I had completely forgotten about the scene where Rhett comes to see Scarlett when she's at Frank's store while Frank is down with the grippe (which, I discovered, is influenza).  The scene from the movie where they meet on the street outside his store was so strong in my mind, that Rhett's visit at the store had completely left my head.  I found it an interesting scene, especially the part where Rhett insists that they discuss Ashley because he is lending Scarlett the money to buy the mill.  He points out that if Ashley really loved Scarlett, he would NEVER have allowed Scarlett to come to Atlanta to beg for money–especially from him.  And Scarlett has to concede to herself that if Ashley had given any kind of indication at all–even at the train station, she would have stayed.  There's also a part where she thinks to herself that one of the reasons she loves Ashley is because he “loves” her because of all these noble qualities that he sees in her.  And she lists off a bunch of characteristics that I couldn't help to think to myself didn't seem to be present in any huge quantities in Scarlett.  This just tells me that Ashley allows Scarlett to pretend to herself that she's more of a lady than she really is.
 

Frank is, of course, mortified that Scarlett has bought this mill and is attempting to run it on her own.  So he decides she needs a baby.  Poor Frank really didn't know Scarlett at all, did he?  Another scene I had forgotten about is when Tony Fontaine is on the run from the Yankees for killing Jonas Wilkerson and their former foreman.  I have to admit that I was glad he killed Wilkerson.  What a sleezy piece of work he was straight from the beginning.  But the conversation that occurs between Scarlett and Frank after Tony leaves for Texas (and can I just insert right here that I always thought “Tony” was a very non-Southern name for a Southern character in a book so well-known for it's Southernness?), and the the narrative that MM inserts at this point is very interesting.  Reconstruction was rough on Georgia and it really does seem like the Federal government was trying to punish the south for the War.  And (God forgive me for saying this) somehow MM makes the KKK seem almost noble in its intent.  Of course we all know that the KKK has devolved into nothing more than a hate group of ignorant crazies, but I have to wonder if there wasn't more to it in the beginning.  If the Georgia portrayed in GWTW is half-way accurate with the justice system and politics completely corrupted and poverty running rampant, with truly innocent people being thrown in jail for no good reason, then I can understand where men felt that there was no other option to protect their families and property than through vigilante justice.  Sad but true, I guess.
 

It also allows us to see a side of Frank Kennedy that we don't get to see much of, but which I realized wasn't much of a stretch for a man who had spent four years in the Confederate Army.  He'd seen his share of fighting and war, and he knew how to swallow fear, strap on his big-boy pants, and get something done if he had to, even though it wasn't in his nature exactly.
 

And then, randomly, Scarlett tells Frank she's pregnant.  I just couldn't figure out how that fit in.
 


Well, glancing ahead at the comments seems you may have finished the book before me, Meg. I'm still trudging along. It's been a bit busy at work and I'm training someone right through here too, so my reading is sadly a little more behind than I'd like. But Thursday morning I had errands to run, so I brought the book with me and read a good deal of it over breakfast; a lot of what I'm going to cover touches upon what you mentioned in this specific post so here goes. By the way, none of this is in chronological order — just my usual ramblings LOL

I was completely floored by Rhett discovering Scarlett alone at the store because I do not remember this scene at all. As you mentioned, we get this “mini” version in the movie, but the book version went so much further in continuing to flesh out the characters of Rhett and Scarlett, and in an odd way, even that of Ashley Wilkes (off-stage at this point). I'll definitely agree with Rhett about one thing — no man with any gumption would have allowed a woman to waltz off to Atlanta to beg money off someone like Rhett! Scarlett kept trying to make up excuses for Ashley, but — and I don't have the book in front of me so someone would have to advise me one way or the other — before Scarlett left Tara for Atlanta, it seemed that Rhett was in the backs of many of their minds, even if they didn't speak it. After all, who else would have money for Scarlett to borrow? (Since Frank's situation was unknown except to selfish little Suellen — if she bothered to concentrate on his letters). I'm not saying that Ashley could have stopped her — with the situation as it was, I doubt General Sherman could have stopped her, but if he cared an ounce about the woman, he wouldn't have let her go off like that. It feels like prostitution no matter how one looks at it.

I know in the movie, Ashley says he should have committed robbery than let Scarlett sell herself (in marriage to Frank). Yeah Ashley, perhaps you should have! LOL Instead of standing about with your false sense of nobility. I have a feeling though that he would have been an utter failure as a holdup man! Laugh

Back to the scene in the grocery. I loved the tiny moment when Scarlett relaxes by putting one foot underneath her body. I was laughing and thinking “How unladylike” but could just see her scouring the ledger to learn the truth about who owed Frank.

  

One thing which left me doing some seriously deep thinking was Rhett's admittance that he had shot the man just as the Yankees had accused him of doing. It was the “flat-out' way he admitted to it as if it was nothing at all, and I guess what hit me was thinking of the many black men in the Deep South who were lynched simply for glancing at a white female.

 

I wish I knew more about the actual founding of the KKK than I do – I’m pretty sure that Nathan Bedford Forrest (who was a Confederate commanding officer) was the originator of the group…and I heard that he actually left it sometime later when they got too violent, even for him. (He is also the Confederate for whom the character Forrest Gump was named – at least according to Mr. Gump LOL). But how it came about I’m uncertain. Perhaps it was a way of rebelling against what they saw as the Union occupation, but even in GWTW, you hear some of the male characters (such as Will) saying that too many of the former slaves were thinking of themselves as equals and not showing the proper deference. And to bring this point home, we have at least one scene of Scarlett feeling ill-at-ease as she moves along the post-war streets of Atlanta and finds herself being leered at by black men. (Of course in the movie, Scarlett going through the Shantytown was what led to the KKK raid which got poor old Frank killed). I digress though – I’d like to find out more about their history myself. D.W. Griffith also tried to show the KKK as having these noble beginnings in his Birth of a Nation, but that movie is so historically inaccurate that I tend to take nearly everything in it with a huge sack of salt! LOL

 

Back to Tara. I can’t remember what I commented on in my last post – maybe I did talk about the famous green dress at that time, because I’m pretty sure I mentioned Scarlett watching everyone carrying on as though the old days had returned, and this was only because they were helping her in making the gown. Scarlett, however, realizes how serious the situation is – and I believe Will does as well.

One of my regrets is that Will and Careen never got together, but the girl was so torn over the death of…was it Brent Tarleton? (Of course Scarlett didn’t believe any of the Tarletons could possibly love an O’Hara girl but her). I just hate that someone as nice as Will appeared to be ended up married to Suellen! Talk about being sentenced to a living hell.

I’m not at the scene yet when Tony Fontaine shows up but I always remembered it because he tells the story of him killing Jonas Wilkerson (YAY! LOL). Sorry but Jonas’ death couldn’t have happened to a nastier person. Too bad Emmie wasn’t in the line of fire (Oooo…did I say that out loud? LOL)

Well, that’s it from me for now and on a completely OT note: was talking to my friend from Texas and she had a chance to watch the final Second Season episode of The Tudors and the execution of Anne Boleyn. She told me that she did nothing but cry pretty much from the moment it started, and didn’t stop; said she couldn’t tear herself away although she knew – thanks to me – what was going to happen. I told her that there were times the series drove me insane when it came to historically documenting some events, but there were other moments, like Natalie Dormer’s scenes in that episode, that made me think ‘Wow! They did do something right.” Anyway, my friend was impressed and has become quite interested in Anne the real woman. She also said that Henry was a nasty piece of work and that was an understatement! Smile

Henry: Mistress Anne, will you teach the king of England how they dance in the French court?
Anne: There is nothing that France can teach England, your majesty.
King Henry VIII: Well said. Well said.
– Anne of the Thousand Days (1969)

June 3, 2011
11:25 am
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Anyanka
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Gone with the Wind turns 75

 

http://www.usatoday.com/life/b…..hell_n.htm

It's always bunnies.

June 3, 2011
4:59 pm
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I love Will Benteen, and I was sad that he got stuck marrying Suellen–especially since he doesn't love her.  He only does it because he loves Tara, he knows he's found a home there, and he knows that, with Gerald gone and Melly and Ashley planning on leaving, people would talk if they chose to live there together unmarried.  But I think he does make a valid point, which is that Suellen just wants to be married.  To her, being a spinster would be the ultimate disgrace.  It would put her in the same category of girls as India Wilkes, and, while I have some sympathy for India, I don't like her very much.  Anyway, for Suellen it had nothing to do with WHO she married.  She probably didn't care anymore for Frank than Scarlett did, and, legitimately, would have made equally as unhappy; just in different ways.  She probably would not have disgraced Frank the way Scarlett did, however.  Don't get me wrong, I think Will probably made Suellen at least as happy as Frank would have, except he didn't take her away from Tara the way I imagine she longed to do.  But please tell me what you think of the conversation between Scarlett and Grandma Fontaine that occurs during the funeral.  That conversation makes my head hurt.

Whatever.

Suellen's whole involvement in the events that lead to Gerald's death were just inexcusable.  I get that it was hard to watch all these people walking around with money and pretty clothes and food to eat, and everyone at Tara was scrounging around for everything, but come on!  Even I found myself getting angry at Suellen while reading the story about Gerald's death.  I guess the part that made me angriest was when Suellen would take Gerald out and talk to him about Ellen and Gerald would cry.  You just don't do that to people!

Seems like Carreen got the best attributes of the family.  

Anyway, I know you're right, Tina, about the founding of the KKK.  Having never been a member or knowing anyone who is, that's about all I know about it.  Like most things historical/fictional, I think there's probably a touch of truth to mix in with the fiction.  And, likewise, there probably were men in it who were using it for protection and legitimate vigilante justice, and there were men who were in it just to have an excuse to kill.  Sad but true.  And it's probably at least partially true that, while probably 99% of the freed slaves probably went about using their new-found freedom to establish and rebuild their own lives, there were probably some very bitter former slaves who were “mean”.  I think this is probably true with humans in general regardless of race.  It's always the few who spoil it for the rest.

I do agree with you at Rhett's forthrightness about his committing murder.  It seems a little out of character for Rhett.  I don't mean the way he tells it, just the fact he did it.  While you can easily argue that deaths that occur during war are, technically, murder, death in battle is one thing, murdering someone for “justice” is something entirely different.  I found it easier to believe Scarlett committing murder than I do Rhett committing murder.  I think that's because I tend to view Rhett a little bit like the Godfather.  It's hard to believe he'd get his hands “dirty” so to speak.  Of course, even Don Corleone killed a couple of people himself.

"We mustn't let our passions destroy our dreams…"

June 19, 2011
12:15 pm
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Anyanka said:

Gone with the Wind turns 75

 

http://www.usatoday.com/life/b…..hell_n.htm


Incredible! Not too many books that can stand the test of time!

Henry: Mistress Anne, will you teach the king of England how they dance in the French court?
Anne: There is nothing that France can teach England, your majesty.
King Henry VIII: Well said. Well said.
– Anne of the Thousand Days (1969)

June 19, 2011
1:27 pm
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MegC said:

I love Will Benteen, and I was sad that he got stuck marrying Suellen–especially since he doesn't love her.  He only does it because he loves Tara, he knows he's found a home there, and he knows that, with Gerald gone and Melly and Ashley planning on leaving, people would talk if they chose to live there together unmarried.  But I think he does make a valid point, which is that Suellen just wants to be married.  To her, being a spinster would be the ultimate disgrace.  It would put her in the same category of girls as India Wilkes, and, while I have some sympathy for India, I don't like her very much.  Anyway, for Suellen it had nothing to do with WHO she married.  She probably didn't care anymore for Frank than Scarlett did, and, legitimately, would have made equally as unhappy; just in different ways.  She probably would not have disgraced Frank the way Scarlett did, however.  Don't get me wrong, I think Will probably made Suellen at least as happy as Frank would have, except he didn't take her away from Tara the way I imagine she longed to do.  But please tell me what you think of the conversation between Scarlett and Grandma Fontaine that occurs during the funeral.  That conversation makes my head hurt.
 

Whatever.
 

Suellen's whole involvement in the events that lead to Gerald's death were just inexcusable.  I get that it was hard to watch all these people walking around with money and pretty clothes and food to eat, and everyone at Tara was scrounging around for everything, but come on!  Even I found myself getting angry at Suellen while reading the story about Gerald's death.  I guess the part that made me angriest was when Suellen would take Gerald out and talk to him about Ellen and Gerald would cry.  You just don't do that to people!
 

Seems like Carreen got the best attributes of the family.  
 

Anyway, I know you're right, Tina, about the founding of the KKK.  Having never been a member or knowing anyone who is, that's about all I know about it.  Like most things historical/fictional, I think there's probably a touch of truth to mix in with the fiction.  And, likewise, there probably were men in it who were using it for protection and legitimate vigilante justice, and there were men who were in it just to have an excuse to kill.  Sad but true.  And it's probably at least partially true that, while probably 99% of the freed slaves probably went about using their new-found freedom to establish and rebuild their own lives, there were probably some very bitter former slaves who were “mean”.  I think this is probably true with humans in general regardless of race.  It's always the few who spoil it for the rest.
 

I do agree with you at Rhett's forthrightness about his committing murder.  It seems a little out of character for Rhett.  I don't mean the way he tells it, just the fact he did it.  While you can easily argue that deaths that occur during war are, technically, murder, death in battle is one thing, murdering someone for “justice” is something entirely different.  I found it easier to believe Scarlett committing murder than I do Rhett committing murder.  I think that's because I tend to view Rhett a little bit like the Godfather.  It's hard to believe he'd get his hands “dirty” so to speak.  Of course, even Don Corleone killed a couple of people himself.
 


I am so sorry I'm so behind on things everyone, my excuse being 1) I'm training a new person at work; 2) haven't had much time to do a lot of reading; 3) funny how having a trainee normally means you get loads of overtime — and I am LOL
 

But I have a 4-night weekend (coming up on night #3), and yesterday I spent an hour reading GWTW, so Meg, I can comment some on what you covered.
 

I laughed when you mentioned Don Corleone and Rhett in the same breath! However, I much prefer the movie version of The Godfather to the book; I think The Godfather Part II is one of the finest sequels ever made…and I really wish people wouldn't ask me about Godfather III because there is no Godfather III WinkWink Yes, Vito did occasionally get his hands dirty– in the movie, it was the Black Hand I think they called him (the fat guy in the white suit). And then he gets the ultimate revenge on the Don who murdered Vito's family. Even Michael got his hands dirty at some point when he takes out the corrupt police captain and the Turk (something Sonny never believed his baby brother would be able to do). But back to Rhett — oh yes, I could see him in a duel over something or other, but the brutal frankness with which he tells Scarlett of his guilt in killing the Negro, sort of knocked me for a loop. And I agree, it didn't even feel in character at that moment. I'm thankful that was never included in the movie version. Even in 1939, I'm not sure how well that would have gone over.
 

Yesterday I managed to read Will's telling to Scarlett of how her father died; Gerald's funeral and yes, the conversation between Grandma Fontaine and Scarlett. Oh! And Melanie's triumphal return to Atlanta, her beloved home.
 

I understand why the producers of the movie changed Gerald's death the way they did — I mean, he still dies in a jumping accident, but the circumstances surrounding it are different. There is no way they could have done that in the movie without stretching the film another 10 or 15 minutes…and I'm not sure how it would have played on screen. Sometimes, many things play better in books than they do in a movie. It would have required inserting more of the Reconstruction's effects on the South and let's face it folks. GWTW isn't a history lesson. At the core it's a love story about Rhett and Scarlett. And “boring” the audience with a visual dissertation on the Freedmen's Bureau, or more about the Scalawags and Carpetbaggers might have been too much. But in the book it floored me and knocked the breath out of me. I never liked Suellen, but what she did to her father, to her mother's memory, and even to the Cause was too much. It was no wonder Mrs. Tarleton, Grandma Fontaine and that deaf old man were ready to tear into her! And it only made me see her as the selfish, conniving little wench I always knew she was.
 

Now, after saying that, I'll say this. Scarlett — no lover of the beloved Cause — had a brief thought about how much money could have been at play. But I could see Scarlett saying that SHE had never supported the Confederacy. But not her dragging Gerald into such a mess.
 

And I'm with you Meg. The thought of Suellen taking Gerald out to Ellen's grave and deriding him, and pressuring him, and literally emotionally abusing him was disgusting. It's a wonder he made it as far as the Freedmen's Bureau! But being sold out by strangers is one thing; to be sold out by one's own blood is another, but like many things in her book, MM captured one of those moments that was way too human and real, especially when it comes to money — and regrettably families, some of whom have torn one another to shreds fighting over what remains of some estate.
 

I agree. Suellen would have made Frank miserable too — but in another way, but no, I don't think she really loved him any more than Scarlett did. Frank had the misfortunte of falling in love with two O'Hara women — and he didn't deserve the hell either of them put him through/would have put him through.
 

Let me mention a few things about Gerald's funeral. One thing that made me think of the Tudors was Ashley tactfully skipping the parts about Purgatory and easing into a Methodist/Episcopalian recitation of the Scriptures — something only the devoutly Catholic Careen (and I was surprised to see, Melanie, but then I never knew her religion) caught. Careen, in fact, is abhorred that Ashley would do such a thing, although I understood his reasons why. (I'm not Catholic, but I know what Purgatory is — but I wonder how many of the neighbors would have, and of those that did, how many would be shocked to think that Gerald wasn't directly in Heaven at Ellen's side). In fact, the funeral is one of the few scenes in which Ashley was shown to an advantage in my eyes! Then of course there is Will's speech in which he announces his engagement to The Witch (I almost said Concubine LOL). That prevented a lot of the neighbors from ripping into Suellen as she deserved to be — both Will and Ashley would have felt the need to come to her defense, as family. Of course Suellen will never comprehend that if she lived a million years, but they saved her rotten skin, even if she didn't deserve it.

I loved how so many of the neighbors came, even from far off, and we get to see — through Scarlett's eyes — how the War managed to equalize (in some respects) the Georgian aristocracy and the Crackers and poor whites. The Fontaines are managing to survive (as Grandma told Scarlett in her tale of how they'd been run out of France, Haiti, etc.). Scarlett has struggled and scrimped and saved and pulled Tara through with the help of Will's backbone and Frank's cash….And then you look at Cathleen Calvert, who, in five years' time give or take, has gone from being one of the aristocracy to a near Slattery level. Even the Crackers are clean for the funeral, even if the hard work shows in their faces and on their hands. Cathleen could have at least have found a bucket of water to wash her dirty hands. In those few paragraphs, MM manages to explain how the South changed and how roles were often switched. (In fact, when I studied the Civil War in school, I remember we did a comparison study of two Kentucky families before and after the War — and remember, Kentucky was a “neutral” state. The farm family with no slaves ended up becoming prosperous and quite wealthy by the 1870's while the slave-owning plantation family pretty much became dirt poor. A very interesting study).

Oh yeah — you're right. Careen did get the best of both sides. Smile

Now, you asked me what I thought of Grandma Fontaine's conversation with Scarlett. Uh…long? LOL No seriously, it was lengthy, but in a way, she hits home about Ashley just as Will did. Ashley is a failure. Period. Oh he would have made a fine aristocrat, and would have contentedly spent his life at Twelve Oaks (as he confesses in the movie). And while Ashley may joke that he's better at chopping wood, I have to wonder “Really?” Did you catch the line about his hands still looking like those of a gentleman? I'm not saying he's not trying — okay, maybe I am saying it. LOL Grandma says that even Alex — who used to be such a dandy — can now raise cotton with his own hands like he'd done it his entire life. Why? Because he had to. He learned to. Ashley's lucky he hasn't cut off a foot or been dragged to death by the plow horse or mule!! I think of the many aristocrats who escaped Revolutionary France or Bolshevik Russia, and some of them had to “lower” themselves by making a living. Whatever that living might be. Ashley just floats along in his dream.  But back to Grandma….

A lot of what she was telling Scarlett we heard in the earlier conversation between them. But Scarlett sees it as a way for Grandma to get Scarlett's mind off things. I figure in 25 or 50 years, when Scarlett looks back on her life, she'll realize how much truth the old woman was telling her. Right now, no one knows anything but Scarlett LOL I did like how Grandma also mentions that the Wilkes are a dead breed — and it'll be Melanie, if anyone, that makes them live again. (I'm surprised Scarlett didn't ROTF at that).

Hmm…need to finish my Ashley rant Yell before I end this VERY long entry!! LOL Does he remind me of anyone in Tudor times? Not off the top of my head, no. Laugh I've already mentioned that I consider him a failure, and no, he wouldn't have made a good banker, no more than he has a farmer. (I wonder why he never thought about classical teaching). And now, what little manhood remained has been beaten down by the well-meaning Melanie…and Scarlett, who is taking him on like some kept man. I think even Ashley knew how “not right” that was. He can work at the mill for her (yeah, right). She'll give him interest in the mill (sure). Yep…like some mistress being cared for by her lover. But I'm sure in the end, Ashley would still find something chaste about the entire mess. After all, he's only lusting after Scarlett with his eyes and his mind LOL As long as they don't do the deed, it's all fine. LOL They can both keep their — dignity! I'm not sure what to think of the “honorable” Mr. Wilkes, but I'm at least grateful he didn't take Scarlett up on her offer of 1) letting her buy them a house or 2) having them live with her and Frank and Pittypat. Melanie needed a home of her own, the way I imagine any newly married woman would want, and even if it doesn't have everything yet, you see that she has made it a salon, a gathering place for Atlanta.

Finally, as for the KKK — I have heard of people that couldn't out and out hate them because maybe they helped out a family in need or something like that. There may have been men who joined who did do it to protect their women and families. But that was likely the exception to the rule….And I agree with you that I believe the majority of the former slaves were not totally lost without their masters, that they went out of their way to work hard and prove that they deserved the freedoms they were given. But I'm sure you had a small percentage that saw it all as a chance at revenge. Which is hurtful to me. This is getting a bit OT, but when I hear some young blacks today deride other young blacks for “acting white” (as in wanting an education, etc.), all I can think is that these idiots have no idea of all those that came before them, who suffered and sacrificed and died so that they could have what they do today. They've forgotten that there was a time when our people were refused a chance to read and write, and now a few want to throw that away because it's “acting white.” I know, because I used to have a few dummies get on me for loving English history. Oh well…my apologies for rambling like Grandma Fontaine. LOL (And I'm no where near as old as she LOL).

So that's it for now. It ought to be — good grief! SmileSmile

Henry: Mistress Anne, will you teach the king of England how they dance in the French court?
Anne: There is nothing that France can teach England, your majesty.
King Henry VIII: Well said. Well said.
– Anne of the Thousand Days (1969)

June 19, 2011
7:39 pm
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Hey, Tina!!!  Why is it that training someone always means sooooo much more work for the trainer  than the trainee?  

It occurred to me while I was reading your post that the ONLY time during the book that I like Ashley is when he's with Will.  For some reason, the decisions he makes and the things he says seem more, I don't know, manly when Will's around.  It's almost like you can see a glimmer of what Ashley would be like if he'd just grow a pair.

It also occurred to me that Suellen and Scarlett are not really that different–and maybe that's why they never got along.  Both are selfish and conniving, but what is it that makes Suellen and Scarlett different?  Interestingly, I think up until the time that Suellen gets caught in the debacle that winds up in Gerald's death, Suellen was largely accepted because of her willingness to follow the rules of ladihood blindly in an attempt to snag a husband.  But probably, like Scarlett, Suellen understood that the usefulness of following said rules had passed.  Suellen donned the cloak of ladihood when she needed to, but probably tossed it aside otherwise.  At least Scarlett more or less just accepted she had thrown off the mantle of ladihood and went about her business as she was.  I think when Suellen was caught up in the whole Freedman's Bureau situation, people realized that she was no lady and they felt deceived.

Of the three sisters, Careen, I think, truly believed with all her heart in the role of women as had been taught to her by Ellen.  Maybe after Brent's death and the War, Careen, like Ashley, just couldn't go on.  Come to think of it, perhaps Careen's entering a convent had less to do with Brent's death and more with the realization that she didn't fit in with this new world that had been created by the War.  At least Careen had the sense to realize she didn't fit in anymore.

I feel so badly for Cathleen Calvert, but you hit on something that I hadn't even noticed:  everyone else who attended the funeral, regardless of status, took pride in themselves.  They cleaned themselves up and put on their best clothes because they loved and respected Gerald O'Hara.  But poor Cathleen–when someone goes downhill that bad that fast, it's because they have nothing left to live for.

You are absolutely right about Ashley.  It is a wonder Ashley didn't chop his foot off by trying to perform manual labor.  He would have been a much better professor than a banker or farmer or even a plantation owner.

"We mustn't let our passions destroy our dreams…"

June 19, 2011
9:47 pm
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MegC said:

Hey, Tina!!!  Why is it that training someone always means sooooo much more work for the trainer  than the trainee?  

It occurred to me while I was reading your post that the ONLY time during the book that I like Ashley is when he's with Will.  For some reason, the decisions he makes and the things he says seem more, I don't know, manly when Will's around.  It's almost like you can see a glimmer of what Ashley would be like if he'd just grow a pair.

It also occurred to me that Suellen and Scarlett are not really that different–and maybe that's why they never got along.  Both are selfish and conniving, but what is it that makes Suellen and Scarlett different?  Interestingly, I think up until the time that Suellen gets caught in the debacle that winds up in Gerald's death, Suellen was largely accepted because of her willingness to follow the rules of ladihood blindly in an attempt to snag a husband.  But probably, like Scarlett, Suellen understood that the usefulness of following said rules had passed.  Suellen donned the cloak of ladihood when she needed to, but probably tossed it aside otherwise.  At least Scarlett more or less just accepted she had thrown off the mantle of ladihood and went about her business as she was.  I think when Suellen was caught up in the whole Freedman's Bureau situation, people realized that she was no lady and they felt deceived.

Of the three sisters, Careen, I think, truly believed with all her heart in the role of women as had been taught to her by Ellen.  Maybe after Brent's death and the War, Careen, like Ashley, just couldn't go on.  Come to think of it, perhaps Careen's entering a convent had less to do with Brent's death and more with the realization that she didn't fit in with this new world that had been created by the War.  At least Careen had the sense to realize she didn't fit in anymore.

I feel so badly for Cathleen Calvert, but you hit on something that I hadn't even noticed:  everyone else who attended the funeral, regardless of status, took pride in themselves.  They cleaned themselves up and put on their best clothes because they loved and respected Gerald O'Hara.  But poor Cathleen–when someone goes downhill that bad that fast, it's because they have nothing left to live for.

You are absolutely right about Ashley.  It is a wonder Ashley didn't chop his foot off by trying to perform manual labor.  He would have been a much better professor than a banker or farmer or even a plantation owner.


Loved your comment about the trainer working harder! Never fails. But at least my trainee wants to learn and absorbs it all like a sponge. Makes it easier to deal with the 8 weeks — and it HAS been fun in one way of speaking! Laugh

You know, I had never thought of Careen entering the convent as being a way of escaping a world she didn't recognize anymore. I'm sure she made a fine nun, but I'm sorry she couldn't connect with someone — well, Will wanted to but *sigh* anyway. I think the last time we see either Careen or Suellen in the movie is Careen telling Sue that Scarlett has made it possible for them to keep Tara forever. Suellen moans that Scarlett's had THREE husbands, is going to have a huge mansion in Atlanta and she, Suellen, is going to be an old maid (while Here Comes the Bride plays in the background). Since Gerald died chasing after Jonas Wilkerson…since Will's character was never introduced into the movie…since there is no mention of the Freedmen's Bureau and the whole nasty business with Suellen doesn't make it to the screen, then those that never read the book but saw the movie are left to wonder what happened to Scarlett's younger sisters.

Boy did you hit the nail on the head about Scarlett and Suellen. I probably had thought it before, but it really jumped out at me when you mentioned it in such detail. They are two peas in the pod. They are very much alike. I remember them arguing over the ball gown for the Wilkes party and Ellen intervening (while all Careen wants to do — was she 13, 14? — is stay up for it) — I remember (now this is from memories of the movie) Ellen saying to Suellen “I don't like your tone…” while telling her what gown she may wear and that she can borrow some of her mother's jewelry. Then Sue tells Scarlett that she didn't want to wear her old gown anyway — which earns her a good tug on the curls! LOL I love Mammy telling them to quit acting like poor white trash children! LOL They are both a handful. Even during prayers, you see Suellen eyeing Scarlett, noticing that she's not giving the proper responses during prayers — an action which earns her a look from Ellen.

They're both willful, head-strong women, but as you said, while Scarlett drops the pretenses when it serves her purpose, Suellen still attempts to pretend that she is head's above Scarlett. After all, nearly everyone thinks poorly of Scarlett's behavior (except for Melanie). But when Suellen pulls that stunt which gets Gerald killed, they see her as the bigger snake. I just hope Will can deal with her. (Not sure how big a role Ms. Ripley gave him in Scarlett).

I liked Cathleen too, which was why it was so sad to see her having devolved into such a state. But you wonder how many young women found themselves in the same predicament. But that entire section struck me, which was why I suppose I noticed the small things like the way even the Crackers spruced up for the occasion, likely wearing — as they used to say — their Sunday best. It was out of, as you said, their love and respect for Gerald O'Hara. I just think Cathleen was in such a dark place at that point, nothing mattered. She was there — but she wasn't, if that make sense.

And one more thing before I turn in — I do like Will's character and like you, I was surprised at what strong character Ashley could reveal when he was around him. You're so right, Meg. Remember that it was ASHLEY who offered to kill Jonas Wilkerson, and I think that when he wasn't permitted to, he held off the crowd so Fontaine could! Too bad he couldn't maintain a pair when he was around Scarlett LOL

Henry: Mistress Anne, will you teach the king of England how they dance in the French court?
Anne: There is nothing that France can teach England, your majesty.
King Henry VIII: Well said. Well said.
– Anne of the Thousand Days (1969)

June 20, 2011
8:34 am
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You're absolutely right!  It seems like when Scarlett isn't around, Ashley suddenly becomes a MAN!  But when she's in the picture, he becomes a whiny, simpering mess!  But Scarlett tends to have that affect on all men in general–except Rhett and her father.  Her presence sort of emasculates them because she is such a strong, over-powering force.  Charlie was certainly all ready less-than-manly, but look at what she did to poor Frank!  

Alexandra Ripley gives Will at least as much of a role as he has in GWTW.  This must have come as quite a shock to those who have only seen the movie GWTW and the Scarlett miniseries.  They must have thought, “Who the heck is this person?” because he is in the miniseries, too.  The movie does give the impression that Suellen became an old maid and never married, but the Scarlett miniseries has Suellen married with lots of kids (all girls), pregnant again in an attempt to have a boy.  Living at Tara.  Also in the book, Scarlett, if I recall correctly, dumps Wade and Ella at Tara before heading off to Ireland alone.   

Cathleen is just a sad case.  But you're right.  Her step-mother abandons her, taking all her step-siblings with her, and her father and brothers are all dead or dying.  She had no one.  And there were probably many young girls who had no one left when the War was over.  If they had money before the War, it was most assuredly gone afterwards.  Actually, Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain deals with just that topic.  I don't know if you've read it or seen the movie, but the heroine of the book, Ada, moves with her minister father to North Carolina before the War.  Her mother is all ready dead and her father dies shortly after the war begins of consumption.  Ada has not been raised to run a farm or cook or do anything particularly useful–all of her training was in niceties.  Suffice it to say, if it weren't for the fact that Ada is “rescued” so to speak by another woman who teaches her how to do all those things, she would have starved to death.  

Unlike Ada and Scarlett who ultimately are capable of standing on their own two feet, Cathleen chooses are different path.  One wonders how things would have gone differently for Cathleen if she had just abandonned Pine Bloom after her brother died and gone off to Atlanta or Savannah.  Perhaps her decision to remain in the country was her undoing–because it certainly wasn't safe to be a single woman alone in the country at that time.

Anyway…I hear a munchkin waking up from her nap so I better run!!

Enjoy your days off!!

"We mustn't let our passions destroy our dreams…"

June 25, 2011
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MegC said:

You're absolutely right!  It seems like when Scarlett isn't around, Ashley suddenly becomes a MAN!  But when she's in the picture, he becomes a whiny, simpering mess!  But Scarlett tends to have that affect on all men in general–except Rhett and her father.  Her presence sort of emasculates them because she is such a strong, over-powering force.  Charlie was certainly all ready less-than-manly, but look at what she did to poor Frank!  
 

Alexandra Ripley gives Will at least as much of a role as he has in GWTW.  This must have come as quite a shock to those who have only seen the movie GWTW and the Scarlett miniseries.  They must have thought, “Who the heck is this person?” because he is in the miniseries, too.  The movie does give the impression that Suellen became an old maid and never married, but the Scarlett miniseries has Suellen married with lots of kids (all girls), pregnant again in an attempt to have a boy.  Living at Tara.  Also in the book, Scarlett, if I recall correctly, dumps Wade and Ella at Tara before heading off to Ireland alone.   
 

Cathleen is just a sad case.  But you're right.  Her step-mother abandons her, taking all her step-siblings with her, and her father and brothers are all dead or dying.  She had no one.  And there were probably many young girls who had no one left when the War was over.  If they had money before the War, it was most assuredly gone afterwards.  Actually, Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain deals with just that topic.  I don't know if you've read it or seen the movie, but the heroine of the book, Ada, moves with her minister father to North Carolina before the War.  Her mother is all ready dead and her father dies shortly after the war begins of consumption.  Ada has not been raised to run a farm or cook or do anything particularly useful–all of her training was in niceties.  Suffice it to say, if it weren't for the fact that Ada is “rescued” so to speak by another woman who teaches her how to do all those things, she would have starved to death.  
 

Unlike Ada and Scarlett who ultimately are capable of standing on their own two feet, Cathleen chooses are different path.  One wonders how things would have gone differently for Cathleen if she had just abandonned Pine Bloom after her brother died and gone off to Atlanta or Savannah.  Perhaps her decision to remain in the country was her undoing–because it certainly wasn't safe to be a single woman alone in the country at that time.
 

Anyway…I hear a munchkin waking up from her nap so I better run!!
 

Enjoy your days off!!
 


First off, love Anne of Cleves icon. Now there's a young woman who managed to find life after Henry and be one of the finest of survivors.
 

Now onto GWTW — but yes, I did see the Cold Mountain movie and you are so right about the heroine. I know at one point, she's sweeping the porch with a rake, but yes, she managed to survive thanks to what's her face…although at one point, Ada seemed to be on the Ashley/Cathleen route of doom and despair. I hadn't thought about that, but yes, with no men left to protect or help her — and I mean as in blood kin, not that rotten Hilton — she is still trying to hold onto what's left of the plantation, and let's face it, in the end it was a bad idea. Of course Scarlett also chose to fight tooth and nail for Tara, but there is no moment of transition for Cathleen as we see for Scarlett, who swears to God that she will lie, cheat, steal, kill and do whatever it takes to pull the O'Haras through it. I suppose both young women married out of desperation, but you can see the wheels turning in Scarlett's brain when she hooks Frank Kennedy. This is a complete marriage of convenience although Frank doesn't know it. With Cathleen — well, it's just sad all the way round. I always remember her at Twelve Oaks at the barbecue, and think of her in the movie as she and Scarlett ascend the stairs while Rhett eyes Scarlett.
 

I guess Cathleen's situation wasn't unusual to the post-Civil War South. How many times have we read stories of young women being placed on the altar of matrimony to be sacrificed for their family's sake? But with Cathleen, it seemed more to keep from being dirt poor and hungry — but instead of the marriage lifting her out of the mire, she sank deeper into it until I can imagine even the Crackers at Gerald's funeral looking down on her. It was just sad all the way round.
 

 I'm glad to hear that Will got a nice role in the Ripley novel. There are times when he made a scene or chapter for me in GWTW. And yes, the film does leave the futures of Careen and Suellen up in the air and to fill in as you like LOL If Scarlett had been a proper older sister Laugh, she would have tried to find husbands for them if possible and once the money started coming in, set up dowries for them. But I'm thinking like an unselfish older sister who wants to try to do right about her younger siblings. I forgot that Scarlett hasn't had time to think about being Lady Bountiful — yet.

Archie, however, is another story. I did not remember him during the previous times I've read the book, and while I understand his purpose and his character and why he is there, I don't much care for him. Perhaps I'm not supposed to. It has nothing to do with his past crime — he is just not a character I can say I like or hate. Sorry that sounds confusing. I think MM did a great job in creating him, and I'm sure he represents many in similar circumstances, but…well, anyway, he and Scarlett have had some interesting conversations. And of course like many in the book (and movie) he respects Melanie.
 

It was nice to have Big Sam reintroduced and to hear about his adventures, and I was fascinated by him saying that he never felt right sitting down with whites or having them treat him as an equal. I guess, for me, although I fully understand why he would feel that way, it's just sad that his “place” has been so engrained that he can never see himself as anything but the foreman at Tara and a “member” of the O'Hara family. And he's happy with that. Oh well….And of course, he rescues Scarlett…

Yep, I've gotten that far…and I left off with Scarlett being hurt over the fact that Frank didn't make more over her near-rape but has gone off to his (LOL) polticial meeting. (And remember that Rhett has already told her to tell Frank he shouldn't stay out at night so often). Sometimes she doesn't use the brains God gave her! I will always remember Frank Nye's glance over his shoulders back at the weeping Vivian Leigh — and you know. Frown Poor old Frank.

Now to end it all, let's touch on Ashley. Boy did you hit the nail on the head. He does seem to grow a pair when Scarlett's not around, but he turns into a weak-kneed ninnie when she is. No, I don't know what he should have said when Melanie and Scarlett double-teamed him. Supposedly these Southern men were to always have the last say in things and the women just demurely go along, but that was a situation where nothing was going right for him. Once Melanie knew that he was being “ungallant” to Scarlett, that was the end of it. And you notice, his management of the one mill is as bad — if not worst — than the other man under Scarlett's employ, but she finds all sorts of excuses for her precious Ashley. No wonder Rhett was fuming when he learned that his investment was partially supporting Mr. Wilkes. I swear, had it not been for Scarlett, Ashley would be in as poor a shape as Cathleen Calvert and with a wife and baby along for the ride to Hell with him.

I'm sorry — but I halfway wonder if he is as stupid at business as he tries to come off as being. After all, a plantation also had to be run or it would fail. In the movie, you see Gerald with his ledgers — even if Wilkerson is the best overseer in the county. You have to know where money is going; keep track of crops and the selling and purchasing of slaves and everything that goes into maintaining an estate. In the book, Ellen has her own office so that she can run Tara as befits the wife of a wealthy plantation owner. It's not all going to tea parties and balls and eating chocolates during the day. Twelve Oaks — well, we get the idea that it is a successful plantation. Even had the war not come, you mean to tell me that not once did John Wilkes take Ashley with him to survey the property, or show him the books or something? Maybe he did. I don't know. Perhaps Ashley figured that he'd just have overseers take care of Twelve Oaks while he hid himself away in his library — which would probably mean the place might not have lasted long before someone stole it from him lock, stock and barrel. After all, he seems to trust everyone. I can see him getting swindled…well, without a wife like Melanie (or even Scarlett) saving him from himself.

And in my final Ashley rant of the day LOL — I was surprised when Rhett knew what Gotterdammerung was and was glad that Ashley realized that, for some, it was the Twilight of the Gods.

 

That's it for now!! Laugh

Henry: Mistress Anne, will you teach the king of England how they dance in the French court?
Anne: There is nothing that France can teach England, your majesty.
King Henry VIII: Well said. Well said.
– Anne of the Thousand Days (1969)

June 25, 2011
12:43 pm
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Oh and by the way, Meg, when you mentioned that Scarlett leaves Beau and Ella at Tara with Suellen, Will and their brood, I started LMAO! Why does that not surprise me, even if this is the “new and improved” Scarlett! Laugh

Henry: Mistress Anne, will you teach the king of England how they dance in the French court?
Anne: There is nothing that France can teach England, your majesty.
King Henry VIII: Well said. Well said.
– Anne of the Thousand Days (1969)

June 26, 2011
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Cold Mountain–one of my favorite movies!   Because of Jude Law and Nicole Kidman and Rene Zellweger.  Some very good quotes come of out that book:

“I imagine God is weary of being called down on both sides of a War” and “They call this War a cloud over the land, but they made the weather then they stand in the rain and say, 'Shit!  It's rainin'!”  The quote about God always stays with me because it does, indeed, seem to be the case that people, regardless of the side their on, always seem to assume that God has their back.

Yes, I do love Anne of Cleves.  I wish Henry had given her more of a chance because I really think she could have made him a really good queen and probably would have been able to give him several children.  But I always find myself pleased that, despite the fact that she was forbidden to ever marry, she came out of her whole ordeal with Henry smellin' like a rose.  I appreciate people who have good sense and use it.

I was reminded when reading your section on Ashley and how in the crap would he ever manage to run a plantation, he says at some point that he would have freed his slaves as soon as his father died because he never really believed in slavery to begin with.  Now, we've all seen how well Ashley's done since the War ended.  The standard of living that Ashley is accustomed to no longer exists for him, and he's just held up splendidly (note the sarcasm).  Now, you and I both know that no large plantation could run without slaves so how Ashley was thinking that he was going to free all his slaves at Twelve Oaks and still maintain the life of relative luxury that he was living is beyond me.  Seems to me that Ashley never really saw too far beyond his noble actions to consider the consequences thereof.  Sure, free your slaves, but who you plannin' on hauling in that cotton crop you've got growin?  God knows you're not going to be able to do it, you're pretty much worthless when it comes to farming anything.  Did he think the money was just going to last forever?  Stupid man.

Rhett had every right to be pissed.  He's even nice enough to not even say it, but the reality is that Rhett saw Ashley for what he really was:  shiftless.  Had it not been for Scarlett and Melanie constantly pushing him, Ashley's picture would have been in the dictionary next to the word.  Shiftless men have never been valued in the south or, as far as I know, anywhere.  But while women will, for some reason, make up excuses for shiftless men, other men know them for who they are and don't really like them.  I wonder how many people merely tolerated Ashley because he was Melanie's husband and a gentleman (no one said you couldn't be a shiftless gentleman).

I feel much the same way as you about Archie–I really just have no opinion on him.  He just seems to be a useful literary character with a good backstory, but I feel entirely ambivalent about him.  I also think he is useful in demonstrating just how desperate the South had become towards the end of the war–releasing prisoners from the penitentiary because they needed the warm bodies.  

I love Big Sam, though.  I would imagine that Sam felt the same way that I would feel if I went to a big, fancy black-tie party where I simply didn't fit in.  A place where there were too many forks and dishes on the menu I'd never even heard of before.  I would certainly be glad to get back to what was familiar and comfortable, too.  Those newly-freed slaves had a rough road ahead of them.  While I'm sure they were glad for their freedom, most of them were not trying to eek out an existence in friendly territory.  I have always found Mammy an interesting study in this case:  she always knew when to play the free card.  I think there's a point where Scarlett says that she's going to send Mammy back to Tara, and Mammy reminds her that she can't send her anywhere she doesn't want to go because she is free.  And Mammy knows that they're not going to get rid of her because they need her probably more than she needs them.  Mammy is probably one of my favorite characters in the book.  She wasn't afraid of Scarlett or her tantrums, she had plenty of good, common sense and she used it, she spoke her mind to everyone, and she did her best to make sure that her girls were raised right.  Whenever Mammy reminds Scarlett that she can pretty much do as she pleases, that she's only hanging around with the O'Haras because she wants to, I always cheer for Mammy for putting Scarlett in her place 🙂 Scarlett does need to be taken down a peg or two every so often.

Anyway, I'm going to stop there and put a child to bed who is up WAY past his bedtime watching WALL-E.  Have a great week!

"We mustn't let our passions destroy our dreams…"

July 4, 2011
9:37 am
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TinaII2None
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Happy Fourth of July to all the American Tudor fans! And I figured I'd offer a few comments before I go to sleep — I worked last night and have to work again tonight.

To give you all an idea of where I am so far in the book, well, Scarlett is feeling just a teensy bit guilty after her night of passion following Rhett literally sweeping off her feet and carrying her upstairs — one night when she didn't dream of Ashley Wilkes that's for sure LOL

But the bit I wanted to touch on was how struck I was by not only the honeymoon episode but Scarlett establishing her role in the post-Civil War Atlanta, a chapter (or two) which not only details her relationship with Rhett but is so vividly laid out by Margaret Mitchell that I almost believed I was reading Edith Wharton! It's like GWTW Meets The Age of Innocence. Scarlett has managed to set aside the more “chivarous”, lazy, carefree days before the War and has become a part of the Gilded Age of which Wharton so brilliantly wrote, but instead of the insular society of old New York, it's the nouveau riche of the new Atlanta versus the old (and now broke) families of the pre-war years. With Scarlett teetering between both worlds, lording over her new found friends, some of whom are Yankees taking on Southern airs. I love how MM says that Scarlett accepts them but doesn't accept them, and even brow-beats the women, insults them, as if giving them some baptism of fire they have to pass through in order to be accepted by society. She hobnobs with former madams and the daughters of Irish barkeeps, females putting their old lives behind because their new money (or their husbands' new money, earned through smuggling and Lord knows what else) gives them that opportunity. Scarlett even “makes friends” with the hated governor of Georgia, inviting him to her grand ball (or whatever she calls it) which is going to make everyone “pea green with envy.”

I wonder if MM — at this point — is basing Scarlett on anyone in Atlanta society during Reconstruction? And did MM ever read Wharton? I have to admit, the whole section took my breath away, especially when you realize that the movie only barely touches upon it, except us seeing Scarlett's monster mansion with the red portierres and heavy gild and stain glass (and dark — you get the impression of darkness in the book and the movie, whereas with pre-war Tara and Twelve Oaks, the rooms and staircases appear bathed in light; I would love to see the notes between David O. Selznick, art director Lyle Wheeler and production designer William Cameron Menzies because I'm sure we're getting a load of symbolism throughout). Oh and that ostentatious, enormous portrait of Scarlett which seems to dwarf everything in the room. It's like Holbein's iconic portrait of Henry. The house is like Charles Foster Kane's Xanadu — a big empty nothing. You're thankful that the children are what bring the whole monstrosity to life.

Anyway, I started watching The Age of Innocence on Netflix streaming and was intrigued when I heard the narrator mention that one of the minor characters — one of the cream of New York society and one who hosts the Opera Ball each year — was from South Carolina and married into a Northern family!

I found this from an online version of TAOI novel — which is also partially quoted in the 1993 movie — and it reminds me a great deal of when MM writes of Scarlett's gilded years…and even eases in a little about the downfall of the Southern aristocracy without going into graphic details. I guess some of it might even have you thinking of how Rhett made his “ill-gotten gains” and his unsavory past as well:  

The Beauforts' house was one of the few in New York that possessed a ball-room…and at a time when it was beginning to be thought “provincial” to put a “crash” over the drawing-room floor and move the furniture upstairs, the possession of a ball-room that was used for no other purpose, and left for three-hundred-and-sixty-four days of the year to shuttered darkness, with its gilt chairs stacked in a corner and its chandelier in a bag; this undoubted superiority was felt to compensate for whatever was regrettable in the Beaufort past.

….But the Beauforts were not exactly common; some people said they were even worse. Mrs. Beaufort belonged indeed to one of America's most honoured families; she had been the lovely Regina Dallas (of the South Carolina branch), a penniless beauty introduced to New York society by her cousin, the imprudent Medora Manson, who was always doing the wrong thing from the right motive. When one was related to the Mansons and the Rushworths one had a “droit de cite”…but did one not forfeit it in marrying Julius Beaufort?

The question was: who was Beaufort? He passed for an Englishman, was agreeable, handsome, ill-tempered, hospitable and witty. He had come to America with letters of recommendation from old Mrs. Manson Mingott's English son-in-law, the banker, and had speedily made himself an important position in the world of affairs; but his habits were dissipated, his tongue was bitter, his antecedents were mysterious….

….two years after young Mrs. Beaufort's marriage it was admitted that she had the most distinguished house in New York. No one knew exactly how the miracle was accomplished. She was indolent, passive, the caustic even called her dull; but dressed like an idol, hung with pearls, growing younger and blonder and more beautiful each year, she throned in Mr. Beaufort's heavy brown-stone palace, and drew all the world there without lifting her jewelled little finger. The knowing people said it was Beaufort himself who trained the servants, taught the chef new dishes, told the gardeners what hot-house flowers to grow for the dinner-table and the drawing-rooms, selected the guests, brewed the after-dinner punch and dictated the little notes his wife wrote to her friends. If he did, these domestic activities were privately performed, and he presented to the world the appearance of a careless and hospitable millionaire strolling into his own drawing-room with the detachment of an invited guest….

Mr. Beaufort's secret, people were agreed, was the way he carried things off. It was all very well to whisper that he had been “helped” to leave England by the international banking-house in which he had been employed; he carried off that rumour as easily as the rest–though New York's business conscience was no less sensitive than its moral standard–he carried everything before him, and all New York into his drawing- rooms, and for over twenty years now people had said they were “going to the Beauforts'” with the same tone of security as if they had said they were going to Mrs. Manson Mingott's, and with the added satisfaction of knowing they would get hot canvas-back ducks and vintage wines, instead of tepid Veuve Clicquot without a year and warmed-up croquettes from Philadelphia.

The Beaufort house was one that New Yorkers were proud to show to foreigners, especially on the night of the annual ball. The Beauforts had been among the first people in New York to own their own red velvet carpet and have it rolled down the steps by their own footmen, under their own awning, instead of hiring it with the supper and the ball-room chairs. They had also inaugurated the custom of letting the ladies take their cloaks off in the hall, instead of shuffling up to the hostess's bedroom and recurling their hair with the aid of the gas-burner; Beaufort was understood to have said that he supposed all his wife's friends had maids who saw to it that they were properly coiffees when they left home.

Then the house had been boldly planned with a ball-room, so that, instead of squeezing through a narrow passage to get to it …one marched solemnly down a vista of enfiladed drawing- rooms (the sea-green, the crimson and the bouton d'or), seeing from afar the many-candled lustres reflected in the polished parquetry, and beyond that the depths of a conservatory where camellias and tree-ferns arched their costly foliage over seats of black and gold bamboo.

It's a pretty incredible narrative, and so friggin' vivid, just the way MM describes Scarlett's new world. You may not like that world, but you can't help your jaw dropping! Laugh Makes you wonder if Scarlett and MR. Beaufort would have gotten along!

Henry: Mistress Anne, will you teach the king of England how they dance in the French court?
Anne: There is nothing that France can teach England, your majesty.
King Henry VIII: Well said. Well said.
– Anne of the Thousand Days (1969)

July 4, 2011
8:12 pm
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MegC
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It is so interesting that you mention Age of Innocence because I was just starting to read it when I switched and picked up GWTW instead.  It is also funny that it was at this exact passage where I stopped reading (thank you Kindle for holding my place!).  I fully intend to return to AoI when I get the chance, but I've got my hands full with George RR Martin right now and he is quite engrossing and, thus, time consuming.  

You are absolutely right, though!  You could almost drop this description smack-dab in the middle of GWTW and I would honestly think that you were describing Scarlett's monster of a house.  The thing that always strikes me about this section of GWTW is Scarlett's inability to understand why Melly and the Old Guard can't put their feelings aside and “move on” so to speak.  I just want to grab her and be like, “Really?  Did you sleep through the War???”  And it's interesting because I know that during this section MM makes a point to mention that there are perfectly respectable Northerners who have taken up residence in Atlanta–who would be more than happy to sit in the parlors with the likes of Mrs. Elsing and Mrs. Merriweather but who are not welcome because of their lineage.  But Scarlett wants nothing to do with those people.  Which, I guess makes me understand why people viewed Scarlett the way they did.  No Northerner is allowed inside the homes of the Old Guard regardless of the amount of money or influence that Northerner might have.  Scarlett, however, was not only hobnobbing with the enemy, she was hobnobbing with the trashiest aspects of the enemy that other, well-bred Northerners wanted nothing to do with.  Add to that Scarlett using her Southern pedigree to pretty much bully her few northern “friends”, and it's no wonder that even her nouveau riche friends did little more than tolerate her.

What's even more interesting is that Rhett can't stand these people, either!!   

"We mustn't let our passions destroy our dreams…"

July 18, 2011
11:57 am
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TinaII2None
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Well, I've been MIA for a couple of weeks now and I am so sorry. I completed my final week with my trainee and she has now moved to another trainer and her final 8 weeks before she is sent to go solo (we got another trainee on our shift, but she's with someone else, so that gives me a break). Anyway, it was a swamped last week with her…and then I had a mini-vacation as my dearest friend came up from the Houston, TX area to visit for 5 days — her own mini-break from her husband and daughter. I had a blast playing tour guide and it was lovely seeing my own city through the eyes of a proud Louisvillian, and not as one big walking crime scene LOL You tend to forget that it was founded by American Revolutionary war hero George Rogers Clark; that his brother was the Clark of Lewis and Clark fame and the expedition met here at the start; that the city was named for Louis XVI; that F. Scott Fitzgerald was stationed here for a time during World War I and his own Daisy Buchanan of The Great Gatsby grew up in Louisville and was married here. You forget the beautiful Victorian mansions reminiscent of The Age of Innocence. You forget that Thomas Jefferson designed a house for the Speed family and one of their closest friends was a lanky lawyer named Abraham Lincoln. You forget about the rolling fields of bluegrass and the horse farms, and that once upon a time, a young Pennsylvanian visited his Southern cousins at their plantation of Federal Hill, and was so inspired that he wrote the song that became our state's anthem — My Old Kentucky Home. So I was really proud when my friend would say “This is such a pretty city” or “This is such a pretty state.” Yeah — it is. Laugh 

So let's face it, the only time I got online was a brief few minutes in the morning or evening to check my email! So I'm sadly behind.

But to comment on what you mentioned, Meg:

What a coincedence that I hit upon the section you, yourself, was reading. It was only that the words were so lyrical as I played by the movie, I was struck by how much both Wharton and Mitchell had captured that period of time.

It was incredible how both of them captured the mores of the time as well, and you mentioned some of that in your own paragraph, especially about the respectable Yankees who wanted to be Southern but couldn't make that necessary final push they needed into the Old Guard because the Old Guard would have none of it. Their only link to the South they want to be a part of is through Scarlett — and even she is on the outside.

And now I read these sections where she — who couldn't tolerate or abide those that had lived through the War with her — now wishes for that time, envies her old friends and relations and they will have none of her….

Yep, I'm done. Well, very nearly done. I have about 10 more pages to go, and let's face it everyone, I know how it ends. I've seen the movie more times than I can count LOL But I'll touch upon some things that have stayed with me in those final chapters in my next post cause I have a feeling I'm going to be rambling a bit. Wink

 

MegC said:

It is so interesting that you mention Age of Innocence because I was just starting to read it when I switched and picked up GWTW instead.  It is also funny that it was at this exact passage where I stopped reading (thank you Kindle for holding my place!).  I fully intend to return to AoI when I get the chance, but I've got my hands full with George RR Martin right now and he is quite engrossing and, thus, time consuming.  

You are absolutely right, though!  You could almost drop this description smack-dab in the middle of GWTW and I would honestly think that you were describing Scarlett's monster of a house.  The thing that always strikes me about this section of GWTW is Scarlett's inability to understand why Melly and the Old Guard can't put their feelings aside and “move on” so to speak.  I just want to grab her and be like, “Really?  Did you sleep through the War???”  And it's interesting because I know that during this section MM makes a point to mention that there are perfectly respectable Northerners who have taken up residence in Atlanta–who would be more than happy to sit in the parlors with the likes of Mrs. Elsing and Mrs. Merriweather but who are not welcome because of their lineage.  But Scarlett wants nothing to do with those people.  Which, I guess makes me understand why people viewed Scarlett the way they did.  No Northerner is allowed inside the homes of the Old Guard regardless of the amount of money or influence that Northerner might have.  Scarlett, however, was not only hobnobbing with the enemy, she was hobnobbing with the trashiest aspects of the enemy that other, well-bred Northerners wanted nothing to do with.  Add to that Scarlett using her Southern pedigree to pretty much bully her few northern “friends”, and it's no wonder that even her nouveau riche friends did little more than tolerate her.

What's even more interesting is that Rhett can't stand these people, either!!   


Henry: Mistress Anne, will you teach the king of England how they dance in the French court?
Anne: There is nothing that France can teach England, your majesty.
King Henry VIII: Well said. Well said.
– Anne of the Thousand Days (1969)

July 18, 2011
1:12 pm
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TinaII2None
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Well, as I mentioned, I'm very nearly done. I know that most of you have read the book, or seen the movie, or both, but I figure I'll go ahead and put a nice little spoiler space in here…just in case. But it has been an incredible run, rereading a book I fell in love with as a child, and a movie I fell in love with when I was a little girl, sitting beside my grandmother in the balcony of a movie house that no longer exists, all because I wanted to see the film both she and my mother had talked about seeing years before.

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I don't know why I've thought about Henry and Anne as I enter these final scenes.

We've had the loss of two children — an unborn one  conceived on that night of infamous passion made so famous in the movie; the second a lively, spoiled little reincarnation of Scarlett and Gerald. That's when it all finally falls to pieces — the Butler marriage I mean, which was already teetering…and it takes Bonnie's accidental death and then the death of Melanie to tie up the awful loose ends. I tried to imagine those reading the book for the first time, holding their own breaths as Scarlett makes that run through the fog from the Wilkes home to her own, her mind finally comprehending that she loves Rhett and can't even stand the sight of Ashley, and I'm certain they thought that — like most other romance novels — a happy ending would be at the conclusion of Scarlett's mad dash home. Or if not a happy ending, then the hint of one at least — not one of the most powerful cliffhangers in literature in which the author made no apologies for ending as she did!

But I thought of Scarlett losing Bonnie and realizing that she wished that had God taken one of hers, why could it have not been the silly Ella instead. I guess that was when Henry and Anne Boleyn came to me. I remembered that Anne miscarried , and I can't even imagine the horror she must have gone through and all the mixed feelings as it happened and then when it was over. I don't know how I would feel knowing my husband is never going to come to my bed again so I can try to have another; that she is already seeing his wandering eye and — unlike her predecessor — is not going to just sit peacefully by while another makes her little enroads. I always tried to imagine Anne during those days of recovery, trying to sort things out; trying to erase the image of a man who isn't just a regular man but a King, possibly cursing that he ever knew you, possibly wondering why HE is cursed; wondering why — if God was going to take another of his children, why it couldn't have been one of his (unwanted) girls. Did Anne wonder if she could make Henry love her again as he did when he was moving Heaven and Earth to have her? Did she ever once think I'll think about it tomorrow….Did she find herself running through a thickening fog, running away from some unseen monster while reaching out and hoping to find comfort?

I know, it's a lot of questions and it's funny how the mind drifts and ponders little things when you're reading or watching something else.

When Mammy tells Melanie about the horrific arguments following Bonnie's death, when Scarlett and Rhett rage and curse one another and Rhett comes very close to losing his mind, I wondered if they were anything like the arguments Henry and Anne likely had over the years. Henry trying to have those peaceful years he did share with the devoted Catherine of Aragon, and have that passion he shares with Anne — and despite him telling her to be quiet and behave as Catherine had done, well good grief, did he actually think he was going to silence Anne's turbulent nature when that was one of the things he once loved about her? Mammy tells Melanie that Rhett and Scarlett said things that made her blood run cold — Melanie can't even bear to think that two people she loves seem to out-and-out hate one another. Why do I have a feeling that there may have been times when Anne and Henry said things that would make the blood run cold….(Especially the incident when Anne is carrying Elizabeth and is pleading or arguing with Henry….)

Of course Rhett spends the final months of his marriage out drinking, drinking hard, staying out to all hours and literally having to be put to bed when he finally comes home. He and Scarlett's words to one another are like polite strangers passing each other on the street.

With Henry and Anne we get mixed signals — at least with Henry anyway. He is delighted when Chapuys appears to show deference to Anne as Queen, behaving as though all is fine, and in the background he may be laying the foundation for his wife's fall — or is floating along, blissfully in his own world, while those around him do all the dirty work. (Guess that depends on which version you believe as far as how deep Henry's involvement was in the downfall of the Boleyns). But Anne finds comfort in her daughter and is possibly grooming her to be the heiress to the throne, and we read of a love and attentiveness, as if knowing there will be no son with Henry so she'll harness her energies into making Elizabeth the absolute best she can.

But one of the most telling moments to me, one when the Henry/Anne thoughts really came to me, was one that is portrayed in the movie, but the moviemakers (thankfully) saw fit to not have Clark Gable depict it as vividly as Mitchell does in her novel. Scarlett now know she loves Rhett and has run home, seeking him out and finds him sitting alone with an untouched liquor bottle on the table. During that return to the house, Scarlett has done some soul-searching and — although she has concocted yet another fantasy of she and Rhett now being happy ever after — knows where it stands with Ashley and Rhett. It's Rhett who has always been there for her, a tower of strength as much as Mammy, Ellen and Melanie. Ashley was like trying to grasp a cloud and then finding out there is nothingness. She knows now that all she ever would have meant to Ashley was as a kept woman…a mistress…a w***e like Belle Watling (and sees in his eyes that she was right). It is Rhett's arms she wants; his chest to rest against; even his sardonic humor or his sarcasm which both angers her and tickles her and brings her down to Earth. However, when she finds Rhett, the reality sets in and she sees that the weeks since Bonnie's death have worn him out. How did Mitchell put it — instead of a young, dashing, triumphant Caesar, she sees an old Caesar, one spent by all his debauchery and now old before his time. The drinking shows in Rhett's features — his waistline is even thickening. I have to admit — that part got me because I don't remember Gable ever looking that bad! We saw him unshaven or scruffy, but the Rhett of the novel is even more worn out.

And I thought of Henry before I realized it. Henry, the romantic — in love with love and no where near the cynic as Rhett was; the Golden Boy and Renaissance King who was handsome and dashing and sexy but devout in his religion (Defender of the Faith, remember?) and (unlike the Rhett of the war years), wanting to please and wanting to be loved. All of this before he became his own master. But I thought of Henry losing his looks, his weight ballooning, transforming into the iconic monster we know too well. Rhett Butler, one of the most dashing heroes in literature and one of the most loved movie heroes, is old and bloated. Kind of went through me because I tend to remember Gable in those final scenes as he prepares to make the greatest exit ever. (Hey, I rank it up there with Han Solo's immortal reply to Leia's “I love you” in The Empire Strikes Back. But many fans always considered Han as a Rhett equivalent). I think Scarlett knew Rhett was collapsing, but like many things, she had shoved it into the back of her mind, then on realizing she loved him, she now saw him in a glowing light while Ashley fades out. It was only when getting a good look at him in the dining room that she sees how much she has hurt him; how much Bonnie's death has torn him apart.

Made me wonder which of Henry's wives looked at him and thought “Good Lord –what happened to you!? And when did it happen?” (In the Six Wives of Henry VIII, Angela Pleasance's Catherine Howard thinks she is getting a fairy tale prince clothed in jewels and fine fabrics — and wakes up on the first morning of her marriage with the realization that she has an old, enormously fat, smelly, sick old man who compares their “lack of relations” to David and the Shunammite woman LOL).

Anyway, I think I've rambled enough for now. I'm just trying to make up my mind what I'm going to read next! Laugh
 

Henry: Mistress Anne, will you teach the king of England how they dance in the French court?
Anne: There is nothing that France can teach England, your majesty.
King Henry VIII: Well said. Well said.
– Anne of the Thousand Days (1969)

November 4, 2011
11:01 am
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Sharon said:

When I was reading it, I blocked out everything else.  People would tell me things while I was reading and I wouldn’t remember them having been in the room with me…nor would I remember what they said to me.  

I remember being right there with Scarlett as she left the depot (in the book, that is), and my heart beating like Scarlett's thinking as she had to go back and deliver Melanie's baby, “The Yankees are coming, the Yankees are coming…” She didn't even know about Prissy yet, but she knew the rumors about what Yankees did to women and the female slaves…I could go on and on. The saw the movie first when I was 12, and later read the book, which gave so much more information into Scarlett's thinking, etc. I also blocked everything out; it is that powerful…Thank you, WilesWalesWink 

"This is the Lord's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes." Psalms 118:23

November 4, 2011
11:10 am
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MegC said:

Btw, did I mention that I live in Atlanta (well, right outside Atlanta–like, less than an hour away).  Maybe I can track down some of the places mentioned in the novel and take pictures or something (although I think MM’s house burned down several years ago).

The last time I was in Atlanta, in 2000, MM's house and apartment were still there. I went on the tour. It was funny, I think I remember hearing a story about someone trying to burn, but it wasn't badly hurt. It is right in the middle of a bunch of huge tall business buildings, and at that time the association that own's it was given hundreds of offers of exorbetant amounts, but they wouldn't sell. Let me look it up, and, I'll not only chech back in, but try to read all the post before posting again. Many apologies for answering so early, but I will look at the eight pages of posts before posting again. Thank you once again, WilesWales,Cool

"This is the Lord's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes." Psalms 118:23

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