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Irish heritage and Margaret Mitchell's GONE WITH THE WINDAn interesting theme that is...

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seanner | Middle School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 26, 2009 at 3:33 PM via web

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Irish heritage and Margaret Mitchell's GONE WITH THE WIND

An interesting theme that is not often considered in discussion of GWTW and its author is that of the 'Irishness' of both the novel and the novelist's heritage. That the complex heroine of GWTW has a name, family and personality of such high Hibernian proportions is not a coincidence considering the Irish American heritage of Ms Mitchell and the seminal influences that Ireland provided in Ms Mitchell's imagination. As a young girl growing up in Atlanta, while her family had attained some of the middle class comforts,  young Margaret knew that both her Irish heritage and her Roman Catholicism were social barriers to full acceptance in a white, Anglo Saxon and Protestant world. Like other Irish American writers of her era, despite rapid assimilation, Irishness was still equated with 'otherness' and Margaret's sense of isolation in both her adolescent and college years may be attributed to this. Currently, there is some interesting research being done on what may be called 'the search for the Irish soul' and is most noted in the lives of Irish American writers and artists. While it may be a dangerous overstatement to specify certain qualities to an ethnic group - introspection, humor, an uncanny affinity for storytelling, mysticism, rebellion, concurrent sentimentality and cynicism seem to be indicators in the Irish American artist, along with the more troublesome traits of alcoholism and depression - all of which affected Mitchell's life and art.  Sean

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linda-allen | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted April 28, 2009 at 9:16 AM (Answer #2)

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Have you read the so-called sequel, Scarlett, by Alexandra Ripley? The O'Haras' Irish heritage plays a huge role in that novel.

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Michelle Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 14, 2009 at 10:19 AM (Answer #3)

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True. And that is ironic considering that, upon visiting the Margaret Mitchell home in Atlanta (the museum), the first thing that comes in the tour are all the Irish superstitions that the family abided by, and the Irishness is quite a strong element in the everyday life of the author.  It is most interesting. Would be great if you could visit it, though it is not as historical as you would think, but the diaries of the family are there.

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epollock | Valedictorian

Posted June 15, 2009 at 1:04 AM (Answer #4)

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It only appears in the sequel to Gone With the Wind. I have the feeling that there is nothing that trumps an iconic war like the Civil War backdrop that was the setting ofr the story.  To infuse Irish culture would have detracted from the grandness of it.

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