Custom Term Paper Writing
The Civil War in Film
Reaction Paper #1: Answer the following in a well-organised, formal, argumentative/persuasive essay.
What view(s) of the civil war is portrayed in Gone with the Wind? How and why were the war and Reconstruction Portrayed? (i.e. context of the times, biased etc) Possible themes to discuss: Pro-North/Pro-South: the significance of battles: the war on the home front: the role of women: gender (male and female roles): race: class: ethnicity: whether the outcome was inevitable: the role of the individuals in times of war (think of the scene where Scarlett was looking for the doctor at the railroad depot as example), etc. In other words, react to the movie, but also try to make an argument-from both a historical and cinematic perspective.
Your answer must be typed, double spaced and should be about 3-5 pages in length. Use specific information from the film as evidence to support your argument (s). If you us an outside source (reviews, books, internet sources etc.), be sure to provide a citation.
A New Era: Gone With the Wind
History reveals that every war brings in a new page, a new change and a new difference.
The Civil War in America also brought a great change, a significant difference and a new page in
the history of America. Every individual is affected in a different manner during a war, some
individuals may become stronger and some individuals may become weaker. In the movie,
“Gone with the Wind” the characters are affected in different ways because of the Civil War and
the later reconstruction period. The main characters in the movie, Scarlett, Rhett, Ashley and
Melanie are affected in different ways in the movie, but in some way the war and the
reconstruction period teach them something new and they become mature and better human
Scarlett before the war is just a rich and spoiled daughter of a plantation owner. She does
not have any worries in life and all she wants is her love, Ashley Wilkes. She is against the war
and she says in the first scene of the movie, “Do you know those poor Yankees actually want a
war?” (Fleming, 1939). She is not interested in the war and she just wants to carry on her with
her happy and free lifestyle. When she is rejected by Ashley, she is heartbroken and agrees to
marry his brother. Unfortunately, the war begins and with that multiple changes occur in her life.
Her plantation is destroyed, her mother dies and the black servants are freed. She does not have
food, she does not have any sources and she does not have money, but she does not accept
defeat. The delicate girl has grown up and matured to become a fighter who can go to any extent
to bring back the glorious days. Before the war, she is a carefree girl, but after the war she is a
grown up woman who can take her own decisions and who has the ability to rule over her male
counterparts. She no longer believes in honesty and softness, and uses every weapon in her
armor to become a successful businesswoman. She keeps her promise, “As God is my witness, as
God is my witness; they're not going to lick me! I'm going to live through this, and when it's all
over, I'll never be hungry again - no, nor any of my folks! If I have to lie, steal, cheat, or kill! As
God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again” (Fleming, 1939). The war and the reconstruction
period change her from a sixteen year innocent girl to an adult mature and shrewd woman.
Ashley, another important character in the movie also is affected by the war and the
reconstruction period. He is a soft and kind hearted plantation owner. He hates wars, but still has
to participate in the war, “Most of the miseries of the world were caused by wars. And when the
wars were over, no one ever knew what they were about” (Fleming, 1939).He loses many dear
things in the war. He loses his brothers, his plantation and his house and in spite of losing
everything he does not have a stiff attitude towards the North, or for his slaves. He is happy for
the slaves that they are free now and is also eager to settle down in the North and begin a new
life. His world has undergone a drastic change, and still he has the eagerness to re-build
everything and start anew. The war helps him to mature and become a stronger person.
Rhett, a charming and mysterious character in the movie, has his own ways of getting at
people. He uses the war and the reconstruction period for his own growth and stability. In a way,
the war helps him to become a dishonest businessman who is least worried to differentiate
between right and wrong, “ What most people don't seem to realize is that there is just as much
money to be made out of the wreckage of a civilization as from the upbuilding of one” (Fleming,
1939). The war and the reconstruction period are just golden opportunities for him to earn
money. The death and devastation do not affect him and he sees everything as a profitable
business. The war turns him into a scoundrel and he accepts it. He becomes manipulative and
learns how to use people for his own cause. He does not spare Scarlett in the process. He loves
her, but still when time arises he uses her and compels her to marry him.