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An Analysis of Gone with the Wind from a Feminist Perspective

Author LiuZuoZuo
Tutor PengJiaHai
School Hubei University of Technology
Course Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords feminist literary criticism Gone with the Wind Margaret Mitchell
Type Master's thesis
Year 2010
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Gone with the Wind, the only novel by American modern woman writer Margaret Mitchell, was published in 1936. It is a successful commercial novel and a world popular classic. Since 1936, this book has already sold more than 28 million copies and been translated into at least thirty languages all over the world. Gone with the Wind broke the sales record and was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1937.As the contrast to its popularity and great success, however, it doesn’t get enough attention from the literary critics accordingly. In the history of world literature, Gone with the Wind does not gain very high literary reputation. It is just a romantic love story and a best seller. Actually, Gone with the Wind is a valuable work which contains distinct feminist leanings.The author of this thesis tries to analyze Gone with the Wind from feminist perspective. The thesis is composed of four chapters. Chapter One briefly introduces Margaret Mitchell’s life experience and the popularity of the novel. Margaret Mitchell was a woman writer with feminist leanings. Gone with the Wind is not only a popular commercial novel, but also a feminist literary work. In Chapter Two, the author firstly presents the definition of "feminism" and explains the history of its development. Then the feminist literary criticism is put forward. Chapter Two is the theoretical foundation of this thesis. In Chapter Three, the author analyzes Gone with the Wind from the feminist perspective in details. Firstly, the social and cultural background of the novel is presented. If we want to understand a novel properly, we must study its social and cultural background. Secondly, the author analyzes the heroine, Scarlett O’Hara, who completes her transformation from a 16-year-old rebellious girl to a 28-year-old mature woman. In the twelve years, her feminist leanings are becoming more and more obvious. Thirdly, the author analyzes other characters including Ellen and Melanie, as a contrast to Scarlett. Chapter Four is a conclusion. It summarizes the whole thesis and suggests that Gone with the Wind should be impartially reevaluated. It is not only a book for entertainment, but also contains distinct feminist leaning. In short, Gone with the Wind is worthy of our deep learning from feminist perspective.With her special personal experience and the accurate understanding of woman, Mitchell successfully creates this feminist literary work—Gone with the Wind. In her work, there are may be no such updated theories and elements that prevail in the contemporary female literature, but at Mitchell’s time, when the feminist literary criticism is still on the initial stage of exploring, Gone with the Wind can be regarded as a good try on women’s self- discovery. Especially today, when women literature and feminist literary criticism are growing steadily, the distinct feminist leanings contained in Gone with the Wind are worth our studying.

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