The Best Sign of a Good Book

by Tatiana Morand, Age 16, Canada

 

The scene opens in 1861, in the Deep South of the United States. It is a country and an age away from me, but also a world entirely recognizable: the lovestruck musings of a teenage girl. Gone With the Wind is a skillful blend of lavish period descriptions and timeless themes of courage and betrayal, love and loss, all embodied by the spoiled belle Scarlett O’Hara.

Scarlett makes the story. Her force as a character is truly what carries the plot. Whatever her flaws, (and they are many, making her a believable and realistic heroine) it is impossible to deny that she is magnetic. However, as a person who is altogether too apt to ascribe emotions to others, I found Scarlett’s incomprehension faced with others’ feelings bewildering. I wanted to scream: “Can’t you see he loves you? Can’t you see she’s trying to protect you?”

I felt bruised and battered, chest aching with the cry, “No, Scarlett!” I whispered it, tears in my eyes. I gritted my teeth and stared at the page. I shook my head and rolled my eyes, but always the words were on the tip of my tongue. It was an interesting state of affairs. I loved it (witness my agitation; we can only be truly disturbed by things we adore) but identified with none of the characters. I am neither sweet Melanie nor determined Scarlett, neither dreamer Ashley nor cynical Rhett. This speaks for the skill of the author; she was able to make me believe in their hopes and dreams nonetheless.

The best sign of a good book? The fact that you can’t stop thinking about it. Classics become classics through the strength of the emotional response evoked in the reader, and, in that respect, Gone With the Wind could live forever.

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Tatiana Morand is a 16 year old Canadian writer who has always been intrigued by the darker side of fantasy, preferring bloodthirsty faeries to pixie dust. She has worked as an intern at a local magazine and has had several poems and short stories published, as well as writes obsessively on her blog. She hopes to one day work in the publishing industry, and can’t wait to escape to university and make her dreams possible. 

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