Gone With the Wind is a novel written by Margaret Mitchell which focuses on the life of a Southern belle during the Civil War. The underlying focus in Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind is that only those who are born survivors will really prosper during times of true hardship.
A born survivor is one who will do anything to survive, at any cost. They will get down in the dirt and work like a dog just for a day’s meal; they will take something from someone else just so that they and their own can live. These people may have social advantages or they may be poor farmers. The key element in their make-up is that they want to survive, they need to survive. Not only do these people live, they prosper as well. They take whatever they can find and mold it into something that will help them get ahead in life. These are the born survivors.
Those who are not born survivors are lacking that one key element; they don’t have the need or the want to get down and dirty and get the job done. Most of these people will either fall through the cracks or they will live out the rest of their lives on a hand to mouth basis. They aren’t able to look ahead, to plan, to scrimp and scavenge and do whatever it takes to survive.
Most of the Southern gentlemen in Gone With the Wind are not born survivors. “And raising good cotton, riding well, shooting straight, dancing lightly, squiring the ladies with elegance and carrying one’s liquor like a gentleman were the things that mattered ” (4).
One such gentleman is Ashley Wilkes. While Ashley is adept at the things that matter, he ” was born of a line of men who used their leisure for thinking, not doing, for spinning brightly colored dreams that had in them …
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…tt observes of Rhett, ” ‘ All you ever do is finance Carpetbaggers in their thieving and take half the profits and bribe Yankee officials to let you in on schemes to rob us taxpayers ‘ ” (763).
Rhett knows that there is money to be made during the building of a civilization and during the fall. Rhett is willing to risk his neck participating in “unscrupulous” activities to survive an get ahead in the new South.
Some of the characters in Gone With the Wind are born survivors and some are not. Ashley is lost without his world of hazy dreams while Scarlett and Rhett take things and use them to their advantage. Scarlett and Rhett, born survivors, will live and prosper, and Ashley will simply fall by the wayside because he is not a born survivor.
“Gone With the Wind” Mitchell, Margaret. The Macmillan Company, New York Seventy-ninth printing, 1968.
Truth and Fiction in Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood
How In Cold Blood Capote Desensitized Our Ability to Differentiate Between Truth and Fiction.
Reading In Cold Blood brought me a new literary and psychological understanding. I realized what such a heinous murder would do to a town like Holcomb, Kansas. I always took my childhood for granted; nothing bad happened in our town, nothing equal to the ugliness of the Clutter murder. After rereading In Cold Blood, I read every piece of literary criticism on the book as I could find. I began to consider the impact of Capote on today’s based-on-fact books and movies. My goal was to discover whether the blurring of the line between truth and fiction has befogged how we, as readers and viewers, differentiate between truth and fiction.
What I learned (or didn’t learn).
Wendy Lesser, in an article for the Los Angeles Times, wrote of her interest in murder in literature. She went so far as to teach a literature class at UC Santa Cruz on murder. The class focused on works of fiction based on true facts (books that Capote would have said were non-fiction novels), books such as Norman Mailer’s The Executioners Song, Joan Didion’s The White Album, and Capote’s In Cold Blood (par. 13). At the end of the semester, one of her students said, ” ‘I’ve really enjoyed this course, but I’m worried that it’s hardened me. I mean, I don’t know how seriously I take murder anymore'” (par.15). Lesser replied that by looking at murder as art, you move away from the seeing it as murder (par.16).
Truman Capote claimed to have invented a new type of literature with In Cold Blood, the non-fiction novel (Plimpton, par 2). Although others (particularly Daniel DeFoe in A Journal of the Plague Year) had used this technique b…
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…into small-town Kansas with his long floating scarf and his negligees.” The Guardian. 76 pars. 14 February 1998. Lexis-Nexis.
Swanson, William. “Murder, He Wrote.” MPLS-St. Paul Magazine. 14 pars. November 1995. InfoTrac.
Yagoda, Ben. “In Cold Facts, Some Books Falter.” The New York Times. 18 pars. 15 March 1998, late ed. Lexis-Nexis. Works Consulted
Boxer, Sarah. “When Truth Challenges Fiction and Becomes Art.” The New York Times. 13 pars. 8 May 2000, late ed. Lexis-Nexis.
Fremont-Smith, Eliot. “Books of the Times: In Cold Blood.” New York Times Book Review. 12 pars. 10 January 1966. Lexis-Nexis.
King, Larry. “Truman Capote and the Murder that Horrified a Nation.” Larry King Live. CNN. 25 November 1997. Transcript. Lexis-Nexis.
Knickerbocker, Conrad. “1960’s Kansas Death Trip.” New York Times. 9 pars. 6 October 1966, late ed. Lexis-Nexis.