Gone with the Wind was a runaway bestseller in the 1930s due to Mitchell's ability to pull the circulating social energies of her own time period into a book ostensibly set in the Civil War and Reconstruction Period. Using Stephen Greenblatt's ideas from Shakespearean Negotiations, I trace these in Gone with the Wind with support from multiple sources. These swirling social energies provide a sense of inevitability to the story which underpins Scarlett's frantic survivalism, but they are not transformed. This lack of transformation creates a disturbing reality wherein Scarlett can learn nothing, change nothing and rail against her apparent victimizations, which parallels the situation we as modern readers face in an increasingly complicated and divisive world.
"Powered by Social Energies: A New Historicism Approach to Gone with the Wind,"
Augsburg Honors Review: Vol. 10
, Article 10.
Available at: https://idun.augsburg.edu/honors_review/vol10/iss1/10