Discuss how the writing style is reflective of the themes in Mitchell's work.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Mitchell's primary stylistic technique is to use language that depicts a great story.  Within this story lies the narrative of survival, love, deception, and social along with personal cruelty.  Mitchell's style is indicative of such a sweeping story.  For Mitchell, the story she writes has to be that of the old South, the collision between modernity and its past caused by war, and the new condition that post- Civil War life brings to the South.  Her language and use of vocabulary is as sweeping, to indicate the nature of the intense emotions felt on political and personal scales.  It is for this reason that her style is applicable to the war effort as well as to the individuals who are immersed in it.  Her descriptions of life in the South are applicable to the political and personal struggles in both realms.  Consider a line that Rhett speaks to Scarlett:

You're so brutal to those who love you, Scarlett. You take their love and hold it over their heads like a whip.

This is an example of the type of style that can be seen in both lights.  The obvious interpretation of this line is the depiction of the love between Scarlett and Rhett.  Yet, in another way, this line can be seen as indicative of the relationship that the South had to its ways and the self- destruction that was intrinsic in such ways amidst the changing dynamic of America leading to the Civil War.  This is an example of how Mitchell's style helps to bring out the themes in her work.

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