gone with the wind

Banned Books Week: Gone with the Wind

From September 30th to October 6th, readers, writers, publishers and booksellers across the United States will be celebrating Banned Books Week in an effort to bring attention to the harmful effects of censorship. Books have been banned in select libraries and schools for a number of years and a number of reasons. Some titles have been challenged multiple times by teachers/school board members/leaders of moral and religious groups because the content expressed within their covers is deemed offensive.

The American Library Association has organized a Virtual Read-Out, inviting lovers of the printed word to read aloud from their favorite banned or censored books. My contribution is a not-so-dramatic reading of one of my favorite passages from Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind. This book, which happens to be my favorite novel of all time, has come under fire several times in the past for its depiction of slavery, its free use of the word “nigger”, and the loose morals of Scarlett O’Hara. I’m currently on my fourth read-through of this brilliant tome. Eight years have passed since I last picked it up, but I can say that I still love it after all this time; I connect with Scarlett in different ways and, as always, Mitchell’s imagery is some of the best I’ve read in any novel.

It’s also a real tongue-twister to voice out loud!

What’s your favorite frequently challenged book?

Kendra has been the weblady at vivandlarry.com since 2007. She lives in Yorkshire and is the author of Vivien Leigh: An Intimate Portrait, and co-author of Ava Gardner: A Life in Movies (Running Press). Follow her on Twitter @kendrajbean, Instagram at @vivandlarrygram, or at her official website.

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Comments (3)

  1. I think my favourite “challenged” book is Lord of the Flies. I understand it is now problematic because of the N-word. It’s been so long since I’ve read it, I didn’t even realize it had the N-word!

  2. When my children were in middle and high school, I can remember they both read books that were being challenged by some of the parents. One book in particular, that my daughter was assigned to read,was “I know why the caged bird sings” by Maya Angelou.
    It was obvious why other parents wanted the book banned, but the kids reading the book were 14 years old! Honestly, I NEVER raised my kids as if they lived in a bubble! They could always come to me or their father if they wanted to talk about certain situations, and we always kept an open mind.Perhaps in the case of “Gone with the wind”, it could be about this nations guilt about the race situation from the past.

  3. You know that in England at the time Lord of the Flies was written, the word nigger was considered inoffensive as there were few if any people of African descent in that nation to be offended by it. Also, I grew up in the Missouri Ozarks, a very conservative region of the U.S. Books such as Catcher in the Rye, Of Mice and Men, anything by Kurt Vonnegut, The Canterbury Tales, and others were often banned from pretty much any school. In fact, I was in college before I read Mandingo and The Motorcycle Diaries. I went to what is now known as MSU, which is essentially a liberal bastion in the region. The rest who went to College of the Ozarks (a well-known parochial school) or right into the work force were and still are faster in my experience to burn books rather than to read them, sadly. So, all I know is there will always be foolish and closed-minded people in this world.

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