Why did Margaret Mitchell write gone with the wind?

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    That is a very interesting question and probably impossible to completely answer.

    But I am in a unique place to attempt it.

    I grew up in the same place Margaret Mitchell did, the 'old family home' of Mitchell's grandmother, whom she based Scarlet O'Hara.

    Yes, it really DOES exist.

    We have lived with this fact our entire lives.

    The book version (not the movie) is quite amusing to those of us that grew up and lived there, many actually knowing Mitchell personally.

    And I can tell you that a great many people were NOT pleased about the book .... some going as far as not speaking to the Mitchell family for years afterwards.

    I don't think the McIntosh family will EVER even acknowledge the book exists.

    Mitchell was a brilliant woman but not a fantasy writer, she was a journalist, not a person of great imagination and creativity.

    She wrote about WHAT she KNEW and WHO she KNEW...... PERSONALLY.

    She wrote the facts.... as she saw them.... and then told everyone it was fiction.

    Yeah, "some of the names were changed to protect the innocent" but certainly not all of them.

    Many people knew exactly who and what she was talking about and they were not amused OR pleased.

    Mitchell using old Southern family names of well known people, it's kind of funny.

    My family wasn't as ticked off as they were scandalized ..... my grandmother was one of those "Charleston BUTLERS" and we got off easy in the book.

    Why did she write the story?

    First you need to look at her background.

    Her mother was a suffragist of Irish Catholic origin and her father a prominent lawyer and president of the Atlanta Historical Society.

    She traveled between the Old South and the New South, between busy downtown Atlanta and old columned plantation houses of Fayette County.... on a daily basis.

    About 30 yrs ago you could still actually SEE those old plantation houses, off the road, down these long winding drives lined with old trees.

    In school we had all seen the photos of Yankee tents set up on the court house lawn.

    Due to that area just southwest from Jonesburgh being used as a Union Army headquarters station and NOT burned, the "look" of the 'Old South" was still there left unblemished.

    Mitchell had gotten laid up with a leg injury and put out of commission for a while.

    Sitting around bored to death amongst all that atmosphere, long Southern porches with rocking chairs, weeping willow trees, the scent of sweet magnolias, a slow misty fog hanging over the grass in the morning, the crickets chirping, the frogs croaking, the heat, cold lemonade.

    Yeah, I know... but it is for real.

    Tired of running to the library for her, Mitchell's husband suggested that she write her own damned book.

    And she did.

    The sheer atmosphere of the place was just begging for it.

    She had the manuscript sitting around for years and completely lost interest in pursuing her literary efforts.

    I don't think that when she wrote it she ever intended for it to be published.

    But it was.

    The book itself was NOT a hit in Georgia and many didn't even recognize it until Hollywood showed up in Atlanta.

    Mitchell always denied characters were not based on real people after early accusations but researchers today say it IS obvious Mitchell DID use people she knew, knew of, or heard about.

    Why did she write it?

    She was bored, laid up with an injury, a professional journalist who temporarily fancied herself as a writer, had a good idea, and put it on paper, then stuck it in the closet.

    One day someone pulled it out and said, "What's this?"

  • 4 years ago

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