Gone with the Wind Research Paper

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  • Topic: Gender role, Great Depression, Gone with the Wind
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Gone With The Wind:
The Evolution Of Sex And Race In The 1930’s

Taylor Reed

English 101
Professor Reynoso
7 June 2010

How the 1930’s could have turned out to be positive instead of a negative. The difficult decade for many Americans was the 1930s. Knol Beta stated that “the Great Depression plagued citizens throughout the country because of lost jobs and a poor economy.” Although there wasn’t very much money left to be spent on nice items, Americans still turned to entertainment to remind themselves life is only what you make it. One of the greatest things to come out of the Great Depression was the film titled, Gone with the Wind. The movie Gone with the Wind falls into classic Hollywood story structure where “an initially reluctant protagonist who is drawn into a world of challenges faces various crises, gets to point where all seems lost, but ultimately arrives at a climax where the hero and the situation could have possibly changed forever.” The story had taken place before, during, and after the American Civil War and had a main focus on the life of a Southern Belle named Scarlett O’Hara.

According to Wikipedia, the leading role of Scarlett O’Hara was played by Vivien Leigh. There were over 1,400 women who auditioned for the part. Several other big name actresses such as Lucille Ball and Katherine Hepburn all tried to get the leading female role. The story line nearly describes Scarlett’s life challenges to mark. She’s faced with such tragedies like the death of her husband and that causing her to leave Atlanta because of the invasion of the Yankees. Then she had found out her mother had passed and her homestead plantation in near ruins. When she’s at her lowest point in her life, she manages to overcome all odds and starts to rebuild her life to the point where she has become a prominent businesswoman. Such another tragic thing to occur is that in the end she loses her child and husband and is left to figure out what she can possibly do next. The fact that the leading female role was white some people would be quite alarmed and upset who were African Americans.

Advancing on to a leading role in a movie would never happen if you were an African-American woman. Not enough praise was given for Hattie McDaniel's command performance as the nanny in Gone with the Wind as she took home the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. A great actress, she was clearly capable of more diverse material after that groundbreaking role. But to racial sentiments typical of the time, movie studio executives pigeonholed her career as a servant, nanny or day worker. How could someone deprive an award winning actress just because the color of her skin? Sounds unfair and unjust being in that time of history African-Americans really didn’t get a say so and was viewed upon very differently. I wouldn’t call it being racist but it was all pure ignorance. White people viewed African-Americans as not being good enough to handle a major lead simply because of their skin color. Like the old saying goes, “Never judge a book by its cover.” African-Americans in filmed may have seemed to have lacked in knowledge but they were the main ones giving good advice or knowledge. Like Mammy in Gone with the Wind always giving Scarlett good advice more than her actual mother. In the whole film I rarely saw Scarlett having a conversation with her mother. I would definitely say a woman like Mammy definitely deserves an advanced role than just being an house servant. Being talented, being picked to play a certain role, or being in a movie shouldn’t be determined by the color of your skin. According to Moderntimes.com black characters have appeared in Hollywood films for as long as motion pictures have been produced. In the early years the hiring of black performers was rare. When feature roles requiring a black actor came along, the film’ producers habitually hired white actors and let him, or her portray the character in “Blackface”. After...
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