Both the movie and the book “Gone with the Wind” have had a great influence on the culture of the whole world, let alone the United States. First and foremost, it should be admitted that this very movie is nothing but one of the best movies Hollywood has ever created. The images of main characters Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler have become real symbols of the twentieth century. Undoubtedly, it is really very hard to argue with its greatness, however, when it comes to real historical acts, is this movie a good example?
This movie of the Old South, which starts with the Civil War to the period of reconstruction, is focused on Scarlett O’Hara. She is undoubtedly the most beautiful young lady in the neighborhood, a lady with strong character and a real will. Being in love with Ashley, she marries another person simply to make him jealous. Having run to Atlanta from her home when the war started, Scarlett finds herself in the heart of the war, she decides to flee back home, to Tara; however, having returned home, she finds nothing but ruins, poverty, and hunger. In order to make both ends meet, Scarlett marries for the second time. However, after becoming a widow, she finally decides to marry Rhett, who had been in love with her for a long time. However, their marriage was also doomed to failure and Scarlett is again left alone at her home, at Tara.
With regard to historical facts, it is better to pay attention to the second part of the movie. First of all, it is essential to mention the economic growth, which happened in the South after the Civil war. Even though the war actually demolished the South, the economic started to develop very quickly due to cotton mills. During ten years the number of cotton mills grew from 161 to 400, providing work places for first and foremost women and children. The movie does show that right after the war Scarlett sends all her family and servants to pick the cotton fields. These were the cotton fields, which actually raised the South economically after the Civil war, turning it into the largest producer of cotton cloth. Moreover, industrial growth created a real need of wood-framed housing; which, as well as the cotton industry, became rather flourishing after 1870. In the movie Scarlett O’Hara buys sawmill, which becomes very profitable during the process of rebuilding the Atlanta. Indeed, during those years wood-framed houses were so quickly developed, as tree cutting seemed to have no boundaries.
Even though the greatest part of the movie is concentrated at Tara, the big cities and Atlanta in particular, are also paid attention to. Throughout the movie one can see how quickly the city was developing and growing, what was a result of technical break and lack of work at the plantations. People were fleeing to the cities in search of work; they were even ready to live in overcrowded apartments. With the development of the cities another layer of culture developed as well – saloons. Saloons were one of the most popular destinations for working class. By 1900 the number of saloons had even topped the number of grocery stores or meat markets; even Rhett Butler was an often visitor to such places.
To sum it up, the movie is undoubtedly a masterpiece of cinematography; however, with regard to real facts and history, it is not good enough. The main advantage of the movie is that it does reflect the way of life, poverty, despair and at the same time the prosperity of economy, industry and development.
Tindall, B.J., & Shi, D.A. (2009). America: A Narrative History (8th ed.). New York: W. W. Norton & Company.