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Sunday, January 11, 2009

The South in 'Gone with the Wind'

Mitchell is noted for her competence in creating a believable background for the novel. Set during the Civil War, she did a great deal of historical research while laid up in bed with a foot injury. Her voluminous reading enabled her to paint vivid pictures of battle-torn Georgia, and against the rich canvas of war she set the action of her human drama, a drama of love, marriage and child-rearing that seems to rise to the level of importance of the war itself.

One way to create believable backgrounds is to use Mitchell’s technique of describing a war scene and then putting her characters into the situation like a painter imposing characters on the foreground of a landscape. One scene, for example, has Rhett meet her with the fire of burning Georgia in the background. Realism is Mitchell’s primary technique and she includes some encyclopedic descriptions. None of the people at that time used alli.

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