Conde, Mary. “Some African-American Fictional Responses to Gone with the Wind.”
The Yearbook of English Studies, Strategies of Reading: Dickens and After Special Number, 26 (1996). .
This article, written by Mary Conde, describes the general sentiments felt by members of the African American community in response to Gone with the Wind. While a plethora of novels have been written in regard to the Civil War period, Gone with the Wind received a majority of the attention and became known as one of the most popular, influential films of the period. The film’s widespread success has often been attributed to the timing of its production. The story emerged during the Great Depression, providing those in despair with a form of entertainment and divergence from the toils of daily life. The story of Gone with the Wind was attractive to many individuals, especially those in the North who had taken an interest in the culture and aesthetic nature of the South; however, African Americans expressed disconcert over their misrepresentation in the story and produced fictional works that often paralleled Gone with the Wind while depicting their plight and drive to escape in a more accurate fashion.
While Gone with the Wind is set in the southern town of Atlanta during the Civil War and period of Reconstruction, critics often claim that the film leaves out crucial parts of the historical event and focuses more on the personal lives of white characters in the story. The film is often criticized as portraying the South in a vantage point that is too good to be true for the time period in which it takes place. Rather than showing the harsh conditions prevalent among African Americans, the story incorporates the character of ‘Mammy’, a cheerful slave who is oblivious to the treatment and restrictions placed against the other slaves around her. In order to express their feelings of injustice, African Americans produced stories of their own that presented heroines who, unlike Scarlett O’Hara, were not naïve to the racial tensions and discriminations against a population of people.