Historical Accuracy of Gone with the Wind

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HIS-112|
Gone With The Wind|
Directed by Victor Fleming; 1939 |
Starring:Vivian Leigh as Scarlet O’HaraClark Gable as Rhett Butler | Mattie Seidel|
3/30/2012|

Gone with the Wind
On December 15, 1939 a movie was released in Atlanta, GA that would forever change how people saw the "Old South". This movie quickly became a smash hit and went on to become the #1 movie of all time and still holds the title, as we were reminded of at the Oscars last year. The movie was "Gone with the Wind". It was directed by Victor Fleming, and based off of the book written by Margaret Mitchell. This movie was made to portray one of the most difficult times in American History, and it shows the struggle America went through during the Civil war, and the hardships we went through during the reconstruction period.

Gone with the Wind was produced to coincide with World War II. It was made as an inspiration to the people of 1939 to give them hope about their future after the war. It was intended for both the soldiers taking part in the war, as well as the people left behind. It showed the world a realistic view of war rather than a glamorized version of war we so often see in movies. The movie Gone with the Wind was written in a point of view which keeps the audience more involved in the movie, making them feel as if they were a part of the film, and closer to history.

Gone with the Wind tells the story through the many characters, mainly through one particular character, Scarlet O’Hara who lost everything once the war started. It shows her through all of her trials starting before the war, through the war and especially during the reconstruction after the war. She loses her home, her money, and her prestige. She fights to regain her pride and her life. Even when you think her character is completely broken she still shows her strength in the end, which is what happened to most if not all southerners after the Civil war. Everyone basically had to start over, it didn’t matter if you lived in a Plantation home called “Tara” or a shack outside of Atlanta at the end of the day everything was destroyed and no one cared what you had before.

This movie shows all of the horrible things that are incorporated with war, in excruciating detail. At one point in the movie Scarlet has to witness a man get his leg amputated with no anesthesia, or anything for pain at all due to lack of funds, and lack of ability to get the medicines that were necessary. The accuracy of the film though is somewhat biased. The book was written by a southern woman, and frankly I’m sure had some resentment towards the North, she wrote this book glamorizing the South and making the North look horrendous. They were fighting to free slaves, whereas the South wanted to keep their slaves. The movie for the most part only seems to portray slaves with kind master and the truth of the matter is, no matter how good and kind the master was, the black people were slaves. They were considered property and as such, could be bought, sold, used and abused, and treated like cattle, not people. The slaves were not free. They had no legal rights, because they were not a person under the law. Their "owners" had complete control of their lives. They were not free to go anywhere or do anything without their master’s approval. The master had the right to separate husband and wife, parents and children. It was very rare that an entire slave family would remain intact. There was always the fear of being sold. Because of death or bankruptcy, families were separated and sold to fulfill wills or debts. Often, the masters would sell a slave as punishment. It was not unusual for a slave to have had more than one owner. After all, the slaves were considered property, and as such their feelings and emotions did not mean a thing.

The women had it worse. If a white man desired her, he could take her, regardless of how she felt about it. In fact, if she resisted, he could beat her for...
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