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American literature margaret mitchell

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American literature margaret mitchell

  1. 1. Margaret Mitchell (1900 – 1949) Margaret Munnerlyn Mitchell (November 8, 1900 – August 16, 1949) was an American author and journalist. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1937 for her epic American Civil War era novel, Gone with the Wind, the only novel by Mitchell published during her lifetime. Family history Margaret Mitchell was a Southerner and a lifelong resident and native of Atlanta, Georgia, who was born in 1900 into a wealthy and politically prominent family. Her father was Eugene Muse Mitchell, an attorney, and her mother, Mary Isobel "May Belle" Stephens, was a suffragist. She had two brothers, Russell Stephens Mitchell, who died in infancy in 1894, and Alexander Stephens Mitchell, born in 1896. Mitchell's family on her father's side were descendants of Thomas Mitchell, originally of Aberdeen shire, Scotland, who settled in Wilkes County, Georgia in 1777, and served in the American Revolutionary War. Her grandfather, Russell Crawford Mitchell, enlisted in the Confederate States Army in July 1861, and was later severely wounded at the Battle of Sharpsburg. After the Civil War, he made a large fortune in real estate and timber lands. Russell Mitchell had twelve children from two wives; the oldest was Eugene, who graduated from the University of Georgia Law School Mitchell's maternal great-grandfather, Philip Fitzgerald, immigrated to America from Ireland, and eventually settled on a slaveholding plantation in Jonesboro, Georgia, where he had seven daughters with his wife, Elenor. Mitchell's grandparents were Annie Fitzgerald and John Stephens, who had also emigrated from Ireland and was a Captain in the Confederate States Army. John Stephens was a prosperous real estate developer after the Civil War and one of the founders of the Atlanta trolley system. John and Annie Stephens had twelve children together; the seventh child was May Belle Stephens, who married Eugene Mitchell. May Belle Mitchell had studied at the Bellevue Convent in Quebec and completed her education at the Atlanta Female Institute.
  2. 2. Margaret Mitchell (1900 – 1949) Early influences She talked about the world those people had lived in, such a secure world, and how it had exploded beneath them. And she told me that my world was going to explode under me, someday, and God help me if I didn't have some weapon to meet the new world. — Margaret Mitchell recalling her mother's words and "Sherman's sentinels." On summer vacations, May Belle Mitchell brought her daughter to visit her maternal great-aunts, Mary Ellen ("Mamie") and Sarah ("Sis"), who still lived at her great-grandparents' plantation home in Jonesboro. Mamie had been twenty-one years old and Sis thirteen when the American Civil War began in 1861 Mitchell recalled her childhood was spent; "on the bony knees of veterans and the fat slippery laps of great aunts," who had lived through the war. She was ten years old before she learned the Confederacy had not won. An image of the South was fixed in Mitchell's imagination when at six years old her mother took her on a buggy tour through ruined plantations and "Sherman's sentinels," the brick and stone chimneys that remained after William Tecumseh Sherman's "March and torch" through Georgia. As a child, Margaret Mitchell owned a pony and went riding every afternoon with the only other two people who owned horses in her part of town, an old white haired Confederate veteran and a young lady of "beau-age." Several historically important events took place during Mitchell's youth: the mayhem of the Atlanta Race Riot in September 1906 when she was five years old; America entered World War I when Mitchell was sixteen; at nineteen, the sale of alcohol was prohibited under the Eighteenth Amendment, and the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified, which gave women the right to vote. Mitchell's parents were influential in her life; her father offered more criticism than praise, which drove Mitchell's independence, and her mother spoke to both her children directly, giving them advice on matters of drinking and sex. One of Mitchell's most vivid memories of her mother was being taken to a women's suffrage rally led by Carrie Chapman Catt. Margaret sat on a platform wearing a Votes-for-Women banner while her mother gave an impassioned speech. Mitchell read the books of Thomas Dixon, Jr. as a child, and recalled she dramatized Dixon's, The Traitor. She read "boys' stories" by G.A. Henty, the Tom Swift series, and the Rover Boys series by Edward Stratemeyer.[22] Her mother read Mary Johnston's novel, Cease Firing, to her. She also read the plays of William Shakespeare, and novels by Charles Dickens and Sir Walter Scott. Education Margaret Mitchell graduated from Atlanta's Washington Seminary (now The Westminster Schools) in 1918, and then became engaged to a young soldier, Clifford West Henry. On September 14th of the same year, while she was enrolled at Smith College, in Northampton, Massachusetts, Henry was mortally wounded in action in France and died on October 17th.On
  3. 3. Margaret Mitchell (1900 – 1949) January 25, 1919, her mother, May Belle Mitchell, died of pneumonia in the Spanish flu pandemic. After finishing her freshman year at Smith, Mitchell returned to Atlanta to take over the household for her father, and never returned to college. Marriage and career Margaret Mitchell married Berrien ―Red‖ Upshaw in September 1922, and the best-man at her wedding was John R. Marsh, who would become her second husband. By December the marriage to Upshaw had dissolved and he left. Mitchell suffered physical and emotional abuse, the result of Upshaw's alcoholism and violent temper. Upshaw agreed to an uncontested divorce after John Marsh gave him a loan and Mitchell agreed not to press assault charges against him. On July 4, 1925, 24-year-old Margaret Mitchell and 29-year-old John Marsh were married in the Unitarian-Universalist Church. While still legally married to Upshaw and needing income for her, Mitchell got a job writing feature articles for the Atlanta Journal Sunday Magazine. Her first story, Atlanta Girl Sees Italian Revolution, by Peggy Mitchell, appeared on December 31, 1922. Several months after marrying Marsh in 1925, Mitchell quit her newspaper job due an ankle injury that would not heal properly and to become a full-time wife. During the four years Mitchell worked for the Atlanta Journal, she had written 129 articles in the Sunday Magazine section. Novelist In Mitchell's teenage years, she is known to have written a novel about girls in a boarding school titled, The Big Four, as well as a story about "Little Sister" who hears her older sister being raped and shoots the rapist, and a romance novella that takes places on a South Pacific island titled, Lost Laysen. Mitchell gave Lost Laysen, which she had written in two composite notebooks, to a boyfriend, Henry Love Angel. Angel died in 1945 and the novella remained undiscovered among some letters she had written to him until 1994. In the 1920s, Mitchell completed a novelette titled, 'Ropa Carmagin, about a southern white girl who loves a biracial man. She also started another novel set in the 1920s, but it was not completed. Margaret Mitchell was struck by a speeding automobile as she crossed Peachtree Street at 13th Street in Atlanta with her husband, John Marsh, while on her way to see a movie on the evening of August 11, 1949. She died at Grady Hospital five days later without regaining consciousness. The driver, Hugh Gravitt, was an off-duty taxi driver who was driving his personal vehicle when he struck Mitchell. After the accident, Gravitt was arrested for drunken driving and released on a $5,450 bond until Mitchell's death. It was discovered that he had been cited 23 times previously for traffic violations. The Governor of Georgia, Herman Tallmadge, later announced that the state would tighten regulations for licensing taxi drivers. Gravitt was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and served 4 months in jail.
  4. 4. Margaret Mitchell (1900 – 1949) Margaret Mitchell’s ―Gone with the wind‖ which birthed Scarlett is a masterpiece. Margaret Mitchell’s masterpiece was reproduced in 1939 as a Hollywood film and has been ranked as one of the highest grosser of all times with figures adjusted for inflation. The movie was made with a budget of 4 million, by no means a modest sum for that era. While Scarlett and Rhett lived in a world of strife at the time of the civil war amongst wounded and dying confederate soldiers, food shortage and growing taxes, I lived in a near perfect utopian state of realization of Scarlett’s spirit. Scarlett’s Arian spirit is unwavering. Despite all odds, she faces life with strife, valor and unparalleled determination as the central character of the novel. She loves Ashley but Scarlett’s love for Tara overrides all other and like none other. The dashing, handsome Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) loved Scarlett when he set eyes on her at the library of Twelve Oaks when Scarlett has an altercation with Ashley Wilkes. He wakes up to the noise of a crashing vase that Scarlett hurls over the sofa he is sleeping on, hidden from her view. Awakening to the shattering noise and with a twinkle in his eye asks if the war has begun. Nobody, looked like the way Rhett did at Scarlett, nobody kissed Scarlett like the way he did in cinematic history. Whether it was the book that describes this moment at the library and Rhett’s love for Scarlett or the movie that brings to life Scarlett and Rhett, this fiery romanticism that existed between the suave, dashing Rhett and the immature Scarlett was never witnessed before. Our eyes and ears yearned for more of Scarlett and Rhett and their chemistry set our hearts on fire. There are immense lessons to be learnt from the story and Mitchell’s detailed descriptions of Scarlett’s spirit are a treasure. Scarlett resurrects Tara when it was devastated by the Northern troops. She gets on her hands and knees and revives the dying crops on the plantation. She famously says – ―As God is my witness, as God is my witness they’re not going to lick me! I’m
  5. 5. Margaret Mitchell (1900 – 1949) going to live through this and when it’s all over, I’ll never be hungry again! No, or any of my folk. If I have to lie, steal, cheat or kill! As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again!‖ Scarlett is widowed twice and marries Rhett the third time more out of convenience and her growing need for luxury and comforts. She wished to satiate her child like fantasies of re living the Tara life. She seizes the opportunity and lives in a sprawling manor in Atlanta. She loses both her children with Rhett and her reputation is sullied by her love for Ashley in a reviving Atlanta. An already mourning Rhett is outraged and distances himself from Scarlett. When Melanie dies, Scarlett realizes Ashley’s love for Melanie and she loved something that never existed. When she runs back to Rhett, it is too late. He is packing up to leave and she frantically pleads with him to stay – ―Rhett… If you go … where shall I go? What shall I do?‖ ―Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn‖ says Rhett famously and walks out of the heavy oak doors of the Atlanta manor. Rhett’s love for Scarlett and Scarlett’s love for Ashley is better understood than Scarlett’s love for Rhett. Amidst Scarlett’s immature and hasty propositions to the men whom she married and lost, there is tapestries adoration for Rhett. Scarlett being a fighter makes the optimum utilization of unconditioned moments and latches on to every life line that is thrown at her. Somewhere during her travesties she falls out of love with Ashley and falls in love with Rhett. Rhett treats her like a child but adores her bashfulness as much as her impulsiveness. Scarlett’s love for Rhett is more whimsical than the child like obsession that she initially had for Ashley. The realization of her true love for Rhett sets in only at the very end. Scarlett hopes, yearns and firmly resolves that she will go back to Tara – ―Tara! Home. I’ll go home, and I’ll think of some way to get him back! After all, tomorrow is another day!‖ Tomorrow is indeed another day in all our lives. What aspirations are not realized today, we live in the profound hope of realizing it tomorrow? Some more memorable dialogues Rhett Butler (Clark Gable): ―I can’t go all my life waiting to catch you between husbands.‖ Rhett Butler (Clark Gable): ―I love you. Because we’re alike. Bad lots both of us. Selfish and shrewd but able to look things in the eye and call them by their right name.‖ Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh): ―Fiddle dee dee. War, war, war. This war talks is spoiling the fun at every party this spring. I get so bored I could scream.‖ Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh): ―Another dance and my reputation will be gone forever.‖ Rhett Butler (Clark Gable): ―With enough courage you can do without a reputation.‖
  6. 6. Margaret Mitchell (1900 – 1949) Rhett Butler (Clark Gable): ―No, I don’t think I will kiss you. Although you need kissing badly. That’s what wrong with you. You should be kissed and often by someone who knows how.‖
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  9. 9. Margaret Mitchell (1900 – 1949) Some pages are omitted from this book preview. Page viii You’re Browsing History Customers Also Bought