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A Fresh Study of Prototype Images and the Theme of Gone with the Wind

Author ZhangDaiSheng
Tutor YangDong
School Jilin University
Course Comparative Literature and World Literature
Keywords Float Sense of tragedy Scarlett History of World Literature Margaret Role reversal Mitchell Heroine Meet the requirements of the times Ancient Greek mythology
Type Master's thesis
Year 2004
Downloads 3325
Quotes 6
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I. An IntroductionThroughout the history of world literature, Margaret Mitchell (1900—1949) is one of the few writers who are well-known for one masterpiece. Her only novel Gone With The Wind has aroused considerable controversy in the academic circle since its birth. In the literary critic world at home and abroad, there have been a large number of differences on the evaluation of Gone with the Wind, especially on the theme of it. Sometimes there are wide gaps. In my opinion, we can be closer to the essence of the work if we unscramble it from the origin of British-American literature. Having analyzed the three primordialimages of “horses”,“fire” and “earth”, we came to find out an important aspect of the theme—Adoneus Complex.The Image of a Horse: “the Wing-broken Pegasus”—Scarlett A horse is a very symbolic primordialimage. In Gone with the Wind, the endless horse-shoed sounds, which from time to time arose on every turning point of the heroine Scarlett’s rough course of life, distinctly sketched Scarlett’s life track as well as the transformations of the world affairs. Her characteristics are immanently in accordance with those of a horse as Babara Hanna generalized. In this sense, we can even regard Scarlett as the embodiment of a horse. With a view to the constituents of the horse image, Scarlett has the characteristics of both black and white horses. And the course and result of the conformity indicates that though “the black horse” beat back “the white horse” so she facially completed the conversion of her roles in the new environment, the brilliant success in her undertakings shows her failures in a deeper sense. This Pegasus which pressed forward with indomitable will had the spiritual wings broken and was plunged into deep sorrow.The Image of Fire: Destruction and PurificationSynoptically, fire symbolizes destruction and purification. These two meanings are both sharply embodied in Gone with the Wind. The shellfire in the Civil War spoilt the southern planters’spiritual stanchions of “cotton, slaves and arrogance” under the slavery system. The old and the young who were indulged in the old times were utterly sunk in whine and remorse. Their spirit was lost forever, beyond redemption. That’s a sort of destruction.But Rhett, who had stepped farthest away from tradition and had been Scarlett’s spiritual mentor and abetter, through the baptism of war fire, got rid of the worldly desire. By following his spiritual mentor Melanie—the perfect collector of traditional virtue, he ultimately went back to the tradition and completed spiritual purification. He resolutely abnegated the definite and more suited-to-the –times qualities that he initially had had.Isn’t that superficial “purification” a <WP=38>spiritual destruction on the other hand?The Image of Earth: The Everlasting TaraConsiderable proofs verify that the earth has been regarded as the most fundamental and original symbol of the birth of human beings. It’s the homestead of man’s spirit and the place to which man’s soul retires and on which man’s emotions rely on. In Gone with the Wind, the earth is another constant and trenchant image. Tara Plantation is just a plot of rich soil where Scarlett’s life course, emotions and psychological subconsciousness are integrated. Whatever setbacka and distressed she had suffered from, she could get a certain comfort from Tara.That worshiplike faith and attachment to the earth from Scarlett is a kind of archetype of “Collective Unconscious”. It has given birth to America, a neoteric nation and its unique culture—a culture with “land-reclamated culture” as its major composition and features. As for the novel itself, In a way, Scarlett’s seeking for Tara, “paradise of the soul” can be considered to be her life-long love for Rhett.Gone with the Wind and Adoneus ComplexThe story of Adoneus originates from the myth of Ancient Greece. The Adoneus Complex in this thesis refers to the unremitting pursuit of the lost heaven and the nice times and the never

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