January 30, 2011

Gone With the Wind

I am halfway through the 1010 pages of Gone With the Wind.  I am trying to finish before I start my new Bib1e reading plan with Lydia and Candace and Korrie this February.  You may not know this but Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler are complete jerks!  I sure hope they both undergo some major character redemption, though at this point I can't see that happening.  The book is very interesting though, and it is shedding much light on the peculiar ways of my Southern husband and his family and most of our friends.

The South was an aristocracy.  It may as well have had a king and lords and noblemen.  The class system was very much in place, not just between races but within races, and there was so much cotton money down there that, paired with free slave labor, the rich had nothing to do but throw balls and pay long visits to relatives and fuss and fret over social etiquette.  No one said what they meant and women were supposed to be stupid and beautiful and men were supposed to carry on crassly with one another but fawn over their coquettish, pedistel-riding women with ooey-gooey patronism.

At least this is the way it was in Margaret Mitchell's historic novel.

Not that my beloved Southerners are like that now, but some characteristics of the way of life that died out when the Yankees won the war can still be seen today.  Men still carry on in very manly ways with each other (obsessing over college football and basketball, smoking cigars in gentlemen groups, drinking but not getting drunk), they still fawn over their ladies (opening doors, saying "Miss" and "M'am", fiercely protecting sisters and mothers and widowed aunts), and people rarely say exactly what they are thinking, so as to preserve social pleasantries.  I, myself, bred a Yankee, am blunt and unrefined and I probably shell-shocked my inlaws at first.  That was a decade ago, though, and I can now say that I am a nice combination of Northern ruggedness and Southern grace.  Call me a Rankee, or a Yebel, but I will always like baking powder biscuits better than the Southern variety, even as my piercing nasal accent has gone with the wind.