Thursday, February 04, 2010

Whistling Dixie

Cover of Gone With the Wind

The novel Gone With the Wind, is one of the biggest selling books of all time and to this day it continues to sell. Why it continues to sell is in many ways a mystery. Although the most obvious reason is the stunning success both commercially and artistically of the movie version. The book itself is in many ways an artistic failure and in many ways stunningly racist. The line of poetry from which Margaret Mitchell got the title of her novel goes:

“I have forgot much, Cynara! Gone with the wind,”1

In one sense the title is indeed appropriate in that Margaret Mitchell had indeed forgotten much. In many ways her novel is a monument to the power of myth making lies that people tell themselves. In this case Margaret Mitchell’s book is a distillation of the lies that Southern White people told themselves about the Civil War and the period afterwards. It is in other words myth as history.

Margaret Mitchell was, to put it politely a racist, who grew up in a privileged household. It is amazing that to this day people ignore this easy to verify truth. Like so many White people of the day she was no doubt utterly convinced of her rectitude and her “love” of Black people. Of course her “love” was based on Black people knowing their “place” and deep belief that Black people were utterly inferior.

It is of interest that Margaret Mitchell was sent to the north for a few years to further her education. During this period she got utterly hysterical at having to share a history class with a Black person. Margaret Mitchell demanded a transfer which the teacher refused to grant. Margaret Mitchell remembering the incident years later said:

She wanted to know if Miss Ware had ever undressed and nursed a Negro woman or sat on a drunk Negro man’s head to keep him from being shot by the police.2

What that had to do with anything is a puzzle. I do hope Miss Ware told Margaret Mitchell, racist bitch, to kindly fuck off.

Like so many white Southerners and yes Northerners of the time Margaret Mitchell believed her cultures vulgar, pastiche of myths and racist folktales about Blacks meant that they “knew” Blacks. Of course it was all self serving nonsense. It was always a surprise for such people to find out just how much Black people despised them. Of course Blacks usually kept their real feelings to themselves.

Let us just look at a few passages in Margaret Mitchell’s “masterpiece” to see for ourselves the world view of our author. I will quote a few passages with my comments afterwards.

“Miss Scarlett, you don’t never go to Jonesboro often and I’m glad you don’t. It ain’t no place for a lady these days. But if you’d been there much, you’d know there’s a mighty rough bunch of Scallawags and Republicans and Carpetbaggers been runnin’ things recently. They’d make you mad enough to pop. And then, too, niggers pushin’ white folks off the sidewalks and—”3

Margaret Mitchell swallowed whole the myth of wicked Reconstruction including the myth of Blacks pushing White people off the sidewalks which is nothing more than a hoary myth. But wait there is more.

This Bureau, organized by the Federal government to take care of the idle and excited ex-slaves, was drawing them from the plantations into the villages and cities by the thousands. The Bureau fed them while they loafed and poisoned their minds against their former owners. Gerald’s old overseer, Jonas Wilkerson, was in charge of the local Bureau, and his assistant was Hilton, Cathleen Calvert’s husband. These two industriously spread the rumor that the Southerners and Democrats were just waiting for a good chance to put the negroes back into slavery and that the negroes’ only hope of escaping this fate was the protection given them by the Bureau and the Republican party. Wilkerson and Hilton furthermore told the negroes they were as good as the whites in every way and soon white and negro marriages would be permitted, soon the estates of their former owners would be divided and every negro would be given forty acres and a mule for his own. They kept the negroes stirred up with tales of cruelty perpetrated by the whites and, in a section long famed for the affectionate relations between slaves and slave owners, hate and suspicion began to grow.4

Yep we have here the myth of the loafing ex-slave a particularly popular myth in White Southern Politically Correct history. Further is the myth that the Freeman’s bureau “poisoned the minds” of the freemen against their owners; actually slavery had done a good job of doing that already. The Freeman’s bureau was concerned with keeping the peace and encouraged Blacks to take up wage labour.

I note that Margaret Mitchell goes on the canard about miscegenation and Black / White marriage. This of course reflects an obsession of many White Southerners with Black / White sex and the destruction of White “purity”. This was of course not shared by Blacks at all. The fact is during Reconstruction none of the Reconstruction governments made much or any effort to repeal anti-miscegenation laws. Thus reflecting that they thought the issue of little importance. But then Margaret Mitchell like so many was obsessed by the “threat” Black men were to Southern White womanhood. The threat of Southern White manhood to Southern Black womanhood, which was and remained far more real, is of course not noticed by Margaret Mitchell.

I note Margaret Mitchell also thinks it is terrible that anyone would tell Blacks that they are as good as any White person. Well guess what that is simply true. Of course the long standing “affectionate relations” between slave and master are delusions in Margaret Mitchell’s mind. I could mention here the various hysterical reactions to slave insurrection rumours before the Civil War.

About the comments regarding Blacks being “stirred up” by false tales of a return to slavery. Margaret Mitchell elides from history the infamous Black Codes passed by new State governments after the Civil War that did indeed seek to control Freemen with restrictions over labour and mobility that amounted to an effort to create quasi slavery. It was crap like that that brought on Northern imposed Reconstruction.

Miss Scarlett, the country’s gone plumb to hell, if you’ll pardon me. Those Carpetbaggers and Scallawags can vote and most of us Democrats can’t. Can’t no Democrat in this state vote if he was on the tax books for more than two thousand dollars in ’sixty-five. That lets out folks like your pa and Mr. Tarleton and the McRaes and the Fontaine boys. Can’t nobody vote who was a colonel and over in the war and, Miss Scarlett, I bet this state’s got more colonels than any state in the Confederacy. And can’t nobody vote who held office under the Confederate government and that lets out everybody from the notaries to the judges, and the woods are full of folks like that. Fact is, the way the Yankees have framed up that amnesty oath, can’t nobody who was somebody before the war vote at all. Not the smart folks nor the quality folks nor the rich folks. “Huh! I could vote if I took their damned oath. I didn’t have any money in ’sixty-five and I certainly warn’t a colonel or nothin’ remarkable. But I ain’t goin’ to take their oath. Not by a dinged sight! If the Yankees had acted right, I’d have taken their oath of allegiance but I ain’t now. I can be restored to the Union but I can’t be reconstructed into it. I ain’t goin’ to take their oath even if I don’t never vote again-But scum like that Hilton feller, he can vote, and scoundrels like Jonas Wilkerson and pore whites like the Slatterys and no-counts like the MacIntoshes, they can vote. And they’re runnin’ things now. And if they want to come down on you for extra taxes a dozen times, they can do it. Just like a nigger can kill a white man and not get hung or—” He paused, embarrassed, and the memory of what had happened to a lone white woman on an isolated farm near Lovejoy was in both their minds… “Those niggers can do anything against us and the Freedmen’s Bureau and the soldiers will back them up with guns and we can’t vote or do nothin’ about it.”5

Margaret Mitchell’s delusions continue. The number of Confederates who were in any sense permanently disbarred from voting was minimal even in 1866. After a grueling civil war is it really surprising that the winner would require loyalty oaths? There was further no effort to disqualify Democrats what they wanted was people who would swear allegiance to the USA.

As for the nonsense about Blacks being able to kill white people and getting away with it. This is an effort to cover up the very widespread violence against the newly free freemen in 1866 and during Reconstruction that amounted to a terrorist campaign.

The streets were black with loafing negroes who leaned against walls or sat on the curbing watching vehicles go past with the naive curiosity of children at a circus parade. “Free issue country niggers,” snorted Mammy. “Ain’ never seed a proper cahige in dere lives. An’ impident lookin’, too.” They were impudent looking, Scarlett agreed, for they stared at her in an insolent manner, but she forgot them in the renewed shock of seeing blue uniforms. The town was full of Yankee soldiers, on horses, afoot, in army wagons, loafing on the street, reeling out of barrooms. I’ll never get used to them, she thought, clenching her fists. Never! and over her shoulder: “Hurry, Mammy, let’s get out of this crowd.” “Soon’s Ah kick dis black trash outer mah way,” answered Mammy loudly, swinging the carpetbag at a black buck who loitered tantalizingly in front of her and making him leap aside. “Ah doan lak disyere town, Miss Scarlett. It’s too full of Yankees an’ cheap free issue.”6

Margaret Mitchell of course wants her one dimensional Black characters, who seem to only care about their White owners, to agree that Blacks are generally loafing trash and how dare they be impudent. Rather strange coming from Scarlett who is as impudent and brazen as they come. But then the natural place of Blacks is subordination and deference to Whites in Margaret Mitchel’s fantasy. No doubt this gave Ms. Mitchell many, many wet dreams.

“Riding, hell!” he said in the same level voice. “You’ve been working with those hands, working like a nigger. What’s the answer? Why did you lie to me about everything being nice at Tara?”7

Rhett like Ms. Mitchell knows that Blacks are only fit to work hard, for White people of course. Whereas dainty bitches like Scarlett have a God given right to live off their labour.

I did kill the nigger. He was uppity to a lady, and what else could a Southern gentleman do?8

Once again the White southern obsession with Black men bedding White women. Of course White men bedding Black women was not worth thinking about. As for “uppity” what the hell does that mean? It could mean that the guy simply spoke to a White women and was killed for it. Of course in the sick minds of some Southern Whites was the notion that all Black men lusted after White women and only violence kept them from engaging in mass rape. Keep those S and M fantasies going Ms. Mitchell we know what you really want.

“Free darkies are certainly worthless,” Scarlett agreed, completely ignoring his hint that she should sell. “Mr. Johnson says he never knows when he comes to work in the morning whether he’ll have a full crew or not. You just can’t depend on the darkies any more. They work a day or two and then lay off till they’ve spent their wages, and the whole crew is like as not to quit overnight. The more I see of emancipation the more criminal I think it is. It’s just ruined the darkies. Thousands of them aren’t working at all and the ones we can get to work at the mill are so lazy and shiftless they aren’t worth having. And if you so much as swear at them, much less hit them a few licks for the good of their souls, the Freedmen’s Bureau is down on you like a duck on a June bug.”9


That damned—Wilkerson has caused enough trouble already. I know how he did you about your taxes. That’s just one of his meannesses. But the worst thing was the way he kept the darkies stirred up. If anybody had told me I’d ever live to see the day when I’d hate darkies! Damn their black souls, they believe anything those scoundrels tell them and forget every living thing we’ve done for them. Now the Yankees are talking about letting the darkies vote. And they won’t let us vote. Why, there’s hardly a handful of Democrats in the whole County who aren’t barred from voting, now that they’ve ruled out every man who fought in the Confederate Army. And if they give the negroes the vote, it’s the end of us. Damn it, it’s our state! It doesn’t belong to the Yankees! By God, Scarlett, it isn’t to be borne! And it won’t be borne! We’ll do something about it if it means another war. Soon we’ll be having nigger judges, nigger legislators—black apes out of the jungle—” “Please—hurry, tell me! What did you do?” “Give me another mite of that pone before you wrap it up. Well, the word got around that Wilkerson had gone a bit too far with his nigger-equality business. Oh, yes, he talks it to those black fools by the hour. He had the gall—the—” Tony spluttered helplessly, “to say niggers had a right to—to—white women.”10

Margaret Mitchell lets the cat out of the bag freedom is bad for Blacks. With freedom they are “shiftless” “lazy”. Correctly translated “we don’t have a wholly owned workforce we can ruthlessly exploit anymore…. WAAAAHHH!!!”. I really love the comment about hitting them. Isn’t it terrible that you can’t beat a Black person anymore? I wonder if Margaret Mitchell would think it was a good idea to beat White workers for their own good? I do not think so!

Scarlett is here Ms. Mitchell’s mouthpiece whining that Blacks are not grateful for all their exploitative owners have done for them. Just why should slaves be “grateful” to people who exploited them for their selfish advantage. After all slave owners viewed their human chattels as property and capital assets as part of their wealth. But then the implication is that slaves owe to their masters the duty of obedience and to continue to serve as slave labour to their masters helping their maters get richer. It is the moral slavery of obligation, servitude and gratitude along with telling the master how wonderful and benevolent he/she is. Any deviation from this is of course wicked and deserves to be punished severely.

There is more nonsense about Democrats being barred from voting and of course Negro Judges, and Legislators is just unpardonable wickedness! Why? Well we soon learn the answer because they are “black apes out of jungle”. Is it not interesting that supposedly you once had all these benevolent feelings about Blacks before they were freed yet all along you though them as essentially sub-human. Beneath the benevolent veneer is seething contempt and hatred. Thank you Ms. Mitchell for the revelation.

Finally we get another taste of the fantasy about Black men lusting after White women. I wonder how often Margaret Mitchell fantasized such scenes?

Now she knew what Reconstruction meant, knew as well as if the house were ringed about by naked savages, squatting in breech clouts. Now there came rushing to her mind many things to which she had given little thought recently, conversations she had heard but to which she had not listened, masculine talk which had been checked half finished when she came into rooms, small incidents in which she had seen no significance at the time, Frank’s futile warnings to her against driving out to the mill with only the feeble Uncle Peter to protect her. Now they fitted themselves together into one horrifying picture. The negroes were on top and behind them were the Yankee bayonets. She could be killed, she could be raped and, very probably, nothing would ever be done about it. And anyone who avenged her would be hanged by the Yankees, hanged without benefit of trial by judge and jury. Yankee officers who knew nothing of law and cared less for the circumstances of the crime could go through the motions of holding a trial and put a rope around a Southerner’s neck. “What can we do?” she thought, wringing her hands in an agony of helpless fear. “What can we do with devils who’d hang a nice boy like Tony just for killing a drunken buck and a scoundrelly Scallawag to protect his women folks?” “It isn’t to be borne!” Tony had cried and he was right. It couldn’t be borne. But what could they do except bear it, helpless as they were? She fell to trembling and, for the first time in her life, she saw people and events as something apart from herself, saw clearly that Scarlett O’Hara, frightened and helpless, was not all that mattered. There were thousands of women like her, all over the South, who were frightened and helpless. And thousands of men, who had laid down their arms at Appomattox, had taken them up again and stood ready to risk their necks on a minute’s notice to protect those women.11


Only the negroes had rights or redress these days. The Yankees had the South prostrate and they intended to keep it so. The South had been tilted as by a giant malicious hand, and those who had once ruled were now more helpless than their former slaves had ever been.12

Margaret Mitchell’s fantasy about Reconstruction and the sexual threat of Black men to White women is here full blown. It is a lie. It was used to stir up anti-Black hysteria and justify lynching and mob violence. Once again we have Black men who can’t control their lust for White women and how correct it was to kill the Black men threatening Southern White womanhood. Of course Black women are forgotten in this. We see here also the myth that the KKK emerged to defend White women hood from raping Black men. It is a lie. The KKK emerged to terrorize Blacks back into subordination and fear. The idea that at the time White women were in mortal fear of being raped by hordes of Black men is a simple lie.

The lie about only Blacks having redress and Blacks ruling the south can be dismissed out of hand as two more White Southern myths.

The very suspicion of seditious utterances against the government, suspected complicity in the Ku Klux Klan, or complaint by a negro that a white man had been uppity to him were enough to land a citizen in jail. Proof and evidence were not needed. The accusation was sufficient. And thanks to the incitement of the Freedmen’s Bureau, negroes could always be found who were willing to bring accusations. The negroes had not yet been given the right to vote but the North was determined that they should vote and equally determined that their vote should be friendly to the North. With this in mind, nothing was too good for the negroes. The Yankee soldiers backed them up in anything they chose to do, and the surest way for a white person to get himself into trouble was to bring a complaint of any kind against a negro. The former slaves were now the lords of creation and, with the aid of the Yankees, the lowest and most ignorant ones were on top. The better class of them, scorning freedom, were suffering as severely as their white masters. Thousands of house servants, the highest caste in the slave population, remained with their white folks, doing manual labor which had been beneath them in the old days. Many loyal field hands also refused to avail themselves of the new freedom, but the hordes of “trashy free issue niggers,” who were causing most of the trouble, were drawn largely from the field-hand class. In slave days, these lowly blacks had been despised by the house negroes and yard negroes as creatures of small worth. Just as Ellen had done, other plantation mistresses throughout the South had put the pickaninnies through courses of training and elimination to select the best of them for the positions of greater responsibility. Those consigned to the fields were the ones least willing or able to learn, the least energetic, the least honest and trustworthy, the most vicious and brutish. And now this class, the lowest in the black social order, was making life a misery for the South. Aided by the unscrupulous adventurers who operated the Freedmen’s Bureau and urged on by a fervor of Northern hatred almost religious in its fanaticism, the former field hands found themselves suddenly elevated to the seats of the mighty. There they conducted themselves as creatures of small intelligence might naturally be expected to do. Like monkeys or small children turned loose among treasured objects whose value is beyond their comprehension, they ran wild—either from perverse pleasure in destruction or simply because of their ignorance. To the credit of the negroes, including the least intelligent of them, few were actuated by malice and those few had usually been “mean niggers” even in slave days. But they were, as a class, childlike in mentality, easily led and from long habit accustomed to taking orders. Formerly their white masters had given the orders. Now they had a new set of masters, the Bureau and the Carpetbaggers, and their orders were: “You’re just as good as any white man, so act that way. Just as soon as you can vote the Republican ticket, you are going to have the white man’s property. It’s as good as yours now. Take it, if you can get it!” Dazzled by these tales, freedom became a never-ending picnic, a barbecue every day of the week, a carnival of idleness and theft and insolence. Country negroes flocked into the cities, leaving the rural districts without labor to make the crops. Atlanta was crowded with them and still they came by the hundreds, lazy and dangerous as a result of the new doctrines being taught them. Packed into squalid cabins, smallpox, typhoid and tuberculosis broke out among them. Accustomed to the care of their mistresses when they were ill in slave days, they did not know how to nurse themselves or their sick. Relying upon their masters in the old days to care for their aged and their babies, they now had no sense of responsibility for their helpless. And the Bureau was far too interested in political matters to provide the care the plantation owners had once given. Abandoned negro children ran like frightened animals about the town until kind-hearted white people took them into their kitchens to raise. Aged country darkies, deserted by their children, bewildered and panic stricken in the bustling town, sat on the curbs and cried to the ladies who passed: “Mistis, please Ma’m, write mah old Marster down in Fayette County dat Ah’s up hyah. He’ll come tek dis ole nigger home agin. ‘Fo’ Gawd, Ah done got nuff of dis freedom!”13

Ms. Mitchell continues her fantasizing and lies some more. Of course the good Blacks don’t like freedom and refuse to take advantage of it. No doubt because slavery was best for them. Those that enjoy their freedom or use it are “lazy” “brutish” “vicious”; they are “creatures of small intelligence” “monkeys” “children”. In other words any Black who wants to be free or embraced freedom is less than fully human. And of course the newly freed slaves don‘t want to work are lazy and freedom a “carnival of idleness and theft and insolence”. Only Blacks who reject freedom and who embrace being someone’s property are acceptable in Ms. Mitchell’s eyes.

Slaves were incapable of taking care of children and aged when they were slaves. This is of course another Mitchell lie. The simple fact is most of the care for the aged and children was done by the slaves themselves during the days of slavery. But Ms. Mitchell must fantasize, about Black children being adopted by White households and aged Black men and women complaining that freedom is bad. Of course once the Black child was adopted he /she no doubt were usually used as unpaid labour.

But these ignominies and dangers were as nothing compared with the peril of white women, many bereft by the war of male protection, who lived alone in the outlying districts and on lonely roads. It was the large number of outrages on women and the ever-present fear for the safety of their wives and daughters that drove Southern men to cold and trembling fury and caused the Ku Klux Klan to spring up overnight. And it was against this nocturnal organization that the newspapers of the North cried out most loudly, never realizing the tragic necessity that brought it into being. The North wanted every member of the Ku Klux hunted down and hanged, because they had dared take the punishment of crime into their own hands at a time when the ordinary processes of law and order had been overthrown by the invaders. Here was the astonishing spectacle of half a nation attempting, at the point of bayonet, to force upon the other half the rule of negroes, many of them scarcely one generation out of the African jungles. The vote must be given to them but it must be denied to most of their former owners. The South must be kept down and disfranchisement of the whites was one way to keep the South down. Most of those who had fought for the Confederacy, held office under it or given aid and comfort to it were not allowed to vote, had no choice in the selection of their public officials and were wholly under the power of an alien rule. Many men, thinking soberly of General Lee’s words and example, wished to take the oath, become citizens again and forget the past. But they were not permitted to take it. Others who were permitted to take the oath, hotly refused to do so, scorning to swear allegiance to a government which was deliberately subjecting them to cruelty and humiliation.14

The idea that the KKK was created to oppose the alleged mass violations of White women by Black men is of course a bold face lie. It was and remained a terrorist organization responsible for mass murder and yes rape. The story of its atrocities and brutality is a long and gruesome story. Once again Ms. Mitchell’s sexual fantasies come to the fore and reflect the sick mentality of her society.

Ms. Mitchell repeats the nonsense about “Negro rule” that never existed. Ignores that very few Whites were disenfranchised

Sam galloped over to the buggy, his eyes rolling with joy and his white teeth flashing, and clutched her outstretched hand with two black hands as big as hams. His watermelon-pink tongue lapped out, his whole body wiggled and his joyful contortions were as ludicrous as the gambolings of a mastiff.15

Even those Blacks that Ms. Mitchell is positive about are described in terms that reveal that Ms. Mitchell cannot see that fictional person as a fully human. Sam is compared to a dog, probably because on some level Ms. Mitchell conceived of Blacks, even “good” ones as particially sub-human and animal. The “watermelon-pink tongue” is a rather unfortunate evocation of the stereotype of the Black person and watermelons.

“W’en Ah tell dem dat an’ tell dem how good Miss Ellen ter de niggers, an’ how she set up a whole week wid me w’en Ah had de pneumony, dey doan b’lieve me. An’, Miss Scarlett, Ah got ter honin’ fer Miss Ellen an’ Tara, tell it look lak Ah kain stan’ it no longer, an’ one night Ah lit out fer home, an’ Ah rid de freight cabs all de way down ter ‘Lanta. Ef you buy me a ticket ter Tara, Ah sho be glad ter git home. Ah sho be glad ter see Miss Ellen and Mist’ Gerald agin. An done had nuff freedom. Ah wants somebody ter feed me good vittles reg’lar, and tell me whut ter do an’ whut not ter do, an’ look affer me w’en Ah gits sick. S’pose Ah gits de pneumony agin? Is dat Yankee lady gwine tek keer of me? No, Ma’m! She gwine call me ‘Mist’ O’Hara’ but she ain’ gwine nuss me. But Miss Ellen, she gwine nuss me, do Ah git sick an’—whut’s de mattuh, Miss Scarlett?”16

Once again another Black character in Ms. Mitchell’s fantasy complains that freedom is bad and that he wants to be told what to do. Yup like all good Blacks in Ms. Mitchell’s novel he doesn’t want to be free he wants to be owned, controlled and told what to do by White people. Of course he is properly and vocally, because Mitchell most definitely wants to hear it over and over again, grateful to White people. After all ingratitude is just horrible and deserves severe punishment. All Blacks must continually speak and display their gratitude to White people for the privilege of being owned and being told what to do.

The above examples also of course indicate what a turgid mess Gone With the Wind is as a novel. The novel is usually called a love story yet it is not usually remembered that Rhett apparently rapes Scarlett. That is love?17

Perhaps one of the most damning indications of Ms. Mitchell’s mindset is her admiration for Thomas Dixon a though going racist who wrote a series of novels around the turn of the century which were amazingly racist. Mr. Dixon wrote the novel The Clansman that was the basis for the movie Birth of a Nation, he even suggested the title of the movie. In the novel White womanhood is saved from a fate worst than death by the KKK. Interestingly the young Margaret Mitchell wrote and staged a play based on The Clansman. Dixon raved about Gone With the Wind and thought it excellent in a letter to Margaret Mitchell.18 Margaret Mitchell wrote back:

I was practically raised on your books, and love them very much.19

That Gone with the Wind is an artistic failure because of its turgid writing style is obvious but it is also a failure because of Margaret Mitchell’s inability to see Blacks as fully human. Ms. Mitchell was in that respect indeed whistling Dixie and yes she had forgotten much.

Caricature of Margaret Mitchell with Clarke Gable as Rhett Butler

1. Dowson, Ernest, Cynara, Here.

2. Margaret Mitchell quoted in Storace, Patricia, Look Away, Dixie Land, New York Review of Books, v. 38, No. 21, December 19, 1991, New York, City, pp. 24-37, at 28.

3. Mitchell, Margaret, Gone With the Wind, 1936, from downloaded pdf version, pp. 282-283.

4. IBID, pp. 283-284.

5. IBID, 284-285.

6. IBID, p. 302.

7. IBID. p. 315.

8. IBID, p. 340.

9. IBID, p. 349.

10. IBID, p. 353.

11. IBID, p. 354-355.

12. IBID, p. 357.

13. IBID, pp. 357-358.

14. IBID, p. 359.

15. IBID, p. 428.

16. IBID, p. 429.

17. IBID. 516-517. I’ve read the section several times I can’t be absolutely sure it is a “real” rape but it is damn close to one if it is not.

18. Storace, p. 26.

19. Margaret Mitchell quoted, in Storace, p. 26.

Other Sources.

Chadwick, Bruce, The Reel Civil War, Vintage, New York, 2001, pp. 204-211.

Kolchin, Peter, American Slavery: 1619-1877, Hill and Wang, New York, 2003. pp. 133-168.

Stampp, Kenneth M., The Peculiar Institution, Vintage, New York, 1956.

Blassingame, John W., The Slave Community, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1979.

Brownmiller, Susan, Against Our Will, Bantam Books, New York, 1975, pp. 133-139.

Foner, Eric, Reconstruction, America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877, HarperCollins, New York, 1988.

Du Bois, W.E.B., Black Reconstruction in America, Atheneum, New York, 1994 (reprint).

Pierre Cloutier


  1. Anonymous8:33 pm

    Heh, and I like GWTW, but yeah, it is flawed and racist. People who deny it are disturbing.

  2. Thanks for the comment. I myself found Gone With the Wind to be a turgid mess of a novel with some very, very bad writing. however I found the racism to be really, really annoying. I'm, like you constantly amazed by people who don't see the racism in the novel. I wrote this post as a rsponse to those people.

  3. I never cared for the movie and find this whole revisionist, white history disturbing to the extreme. That so many white people still, to this day, don't know it for what it is is even more disturbing. Thanks for your insights.

  4. I read this for the first time when I was in high school, way too many years ago, and I've read it many times since. It remains my favorite book and movie. In fact, I credit it with opening my eyes to the racism in the South, in part, where I grew up. I cringe more and more when I read it each time. But I also recognize it for a sign of the times. I don't read it and take it for gospel or even as a history lesson. It's a fictionalized tail of the times, glorifying the Civil War and what follows from the perspective of Confederates. Of course it's going to be racist as all get out. I'd love to read a similar book set at the same time period from the Northern side.