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Pray This Does Not Happen On Tuesday 5 November 2013!!!


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I'm well acquainted with Frank Owsley's works, and also with his association with the agrarian movement centered around the "I'll Take My Stand" crowd. Let's just say that while I can appreciate his (and their) lament for the lost folkways of the region as factories replaced farms, his views on blacks, which I won't quote here unless asked, make it hard for me to see him as anything much beyond one more defender of our American caste system. At best he was a romantic and at worst he shared much of the Ku Kluxers' views about white supremacy. I'm sure you're well familiar with those words which I'm referring to.

 

And of course we know that most plantation overseers were themselves slaves. Which proves absolutely nothing, since there were always others to keep them in line in case they showed the slightest hint of weakening.

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Yes, a lot more people saw the rather benign Confederacy of Mitchell's at the movies than read about it in the novel. I suppose the question is whether it made much of an impression on them. Compared to the epic scale of the movie and the love story of Scarlett and Rhett, the story of the slaves is secondary, and it was just more of the negative stereotypes that audiences of the time were likely used to anyway.

 

Indeed, the poorer whites did always have one group that was below them--the slaves. But I don't know if I'd find social standing worth dying for in battle.

 

Maybe the Africans just admitted they were in it for the money or goods or whatever they got. Maybe not.

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It can be helpful to look at what the character of Scarlett represents against the backdrop of the movie and the novel. "The Lost Cause" of the Confederacy means nothing to Scarlett except in how it impacts her own wants and desires. She resents The Cause rather than supports or believes in it. It mostly bores her. She rails against the Yankees and the carpetbaggers only because they impact her personally, not for any political ideals. Scarlett's enemy is anything that is in her way at any given moment.

 

As well, her connection to Tara isn't about the idealized plantation lifestyle. By the end, Tara is reduced to a common farm, but Scarlett loves and protects it all the same. It isn't the lifestyle so much as the land she loves, the land she belongs to, a common attachment across many cultures.

 

Scarlett is also depicted in sharp contrast to the women who cling to the ideals of the Confederacy. She doesn't understand them and even though she vaguely feels she ought to try to be like them, she simply can't. She doesn't have time because she is too busy trying to survive. And she isn't angry about the South being brought to its knees. She is angry that Scarlett was brought to her knees. Those other women do not change, but Scarlett does. The war frees her from the bonds of that brand of womanhood that was so alien to her.

 

In the end, it is Rhett--one of the few clear-eyed characters in the whole story--who softens and turns sentimentally back towards that romantic idyll of the antebellum South, broken at last by loss wrought on him by loving Scarlett.

 

In that respect, Scarlett doesn't represent the idealized South so much as she represents the war. She is change and challenge and survival at any cost, not the stasis of living in the past. She returns to Tara in the end merely to restore her footing and go on with the process of rebuilding her life and getting what she wants. Scarlett is the new South (which is why in the book, she is so closely identified with the rough "new" city of Atlanta rather than the older, more gracious southern cities) not a hankering after the past.

 

That is not to say that there isn't a lot of sentimentality towards the Confederacy in the film and the book. But as the central figure of the story, Scarlett steps out of the wreckage of the Confederacy and away from its ideals because to dwell on that past does not serve her as an individual. If you identify with her, you can't love the Confederacy any more than she did, which wasn't very much at all.

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Good summary, selimsa. Scarlett and Rhett are of course the two redeeming characters who took what otherwise would have been a hopelessly sentimental piece of drivel and made it into a movie to remember. I've never cared that much for Vivien Leigh, but her performance in GWTW fully deserved that Oscar.

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WRONG AGAIN, Fred. Please learn to read. I said the main reasons I feel GWTW is NOT a great movie is because I find Scarlett a very dislikeable, silly character and the so called romance between Rhett and her to be like the type of romance one would see between two 13 year olds. Too much of the movie is based on that silly stuff.

 

I clearly stated that it was NOT because of how the South and slavery was portrayed in the film. Too bad you can?t remember what people post here.

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> Actually, the slaves were well fed and their nutritional intake might

surprise you.

 

Actually, that point was brought up in both the novel AND TV movie "Roots".

 

Plantation owners both bought and sold slaves. Like with any "property" that people sell, the condition it's in is vital to getting a good price. Someone would be hesitant to buy a slave that was obviously abused or starved. Their birth and lineage was meticulously documented as well. As were the lineage records of livestock. A well fed, well cared for slave is more capable of putting in a good day's work. And probably many slave owners knew of the maxim that rules some in industry: The closest resemblance between man and machine is that if either is overworked, each becomes less reliable.

 

Plantation owners were no different from any other corporate head. The less they spend in overhead, the bigger the profit. Having to dispose of slaves in order to buy newer, fresher ones was wasteful. Better to keep the ones you have in good working order to save money in the long run.

 

It wasn't any percieved "benevolence" on slave owners part. Their care and feeding of slaves was more akin to any of us keeping up a maintainence schedule on our cars, and regular washing and waxing. The car will serve us longer, and fetch us a good "trade-in" price!

 

Sepiatone

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They also provided the best available medical care at that time

which was better than most common white Southerners received

or Northerners, especially recent immigrants in the North living

in squalid, cramped conditions in the cities.

 

Jake in the Heartland

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Ah, the myth continues. Well, I would just invite all those who admire so much the nutritional intake and medical care of slaves to become slaves themselves. No? No takers? Well, I can't understand it. Let's see: good working conditions, steady work, appreciative employers--I mean owners, health benefits. . . .the total package. My, my, I wonder why all those slaves tried so hard so often to escape and risk being dragged back to face beatings and chopping off of the feet and whatnot. All so tiresome. Why aren't all those praisers of slavery slaves themselves? Ah, perhaps the position is hard to find. Let's consult Craigslist--Customer Service? Mmm no. Human Resources? Noo. . . .Skilled Trade? Ehh, no. Ah! Here! General Labor. But---no positions for slaves! How can that be? Such a desirable lifestyle, um, career, um, something. But worry not. If someone is yearning for the life of a slave and just hasn't been able to manage it, I'll enslave you. Yes, I have some work that needs doing around the hose, and a storage shed you can live in. And I can lay in some nutritional supplements. Just PM me and I can draw up a bill of sale.

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I'm a slave, and by me that's great!

I am proud that I don't have scurvy,

That I walk with a bowed down gait,

With my chains kind of swivelly and swervy.

 

I adore being dressed in something ragged,

When it's time to have some cotton pickin' fun,

And though I may look a little haggard,

That's only cause I work from sun to sun.

 

I'm strictly a slavish slave,

And my future I hope will be,

In a dank cabin with a dirt floor,

Cause I enjoy being a slave.

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Not necessarily. Sue Ellen hated Tara and would have gladly left it if she could..........

 

And dont forget, if it werent for Scarlett, Melanie probably would not have survived childbirth and the siege of Atlanta...

 

Edited by: Hibi on Nov 12, 2013 10:00 AM

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After reading Jake's comments I am torn between wanting to be a slave on a Southern plantation or a dirt poor Southern boy fighting a horrible war just so a few wealthy Southerners can keep their slaves. I never knew they had it so good.

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Well the slaves used for breeding were feed OK to ensure they have healthy offspring to sell. The Smithsonian magazine had a good article about this related to Jefferson. While he was a reluctant slave owner the money his estate made from slave, especially breeding and selling them (more so than working them), was just too much to pass up.

 

But yea, I hear what you?re saying here. Sad that there are still folks (NOT per se at this forum) that defend the practice. I get the feeling that if they could bring it back they would.

 

Edited by: jamesjazzguitar on Nov 12, 2013 12:06 PM

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I'm not saying Scarlett was 100% bad. Again, my basic point, which you even mentioned, is that the 4 main characters are poorly drawn characters with overblown traits. To me they are cartoonist.

 

Melodie just being too good, to much of the time. Ashey, being too wimply, to much of the time. Scarlett being too, well just too similar to the women one can see on cheaply made reality TV.

 

To me only Rhett is very interesting. Building a movie around his actions would of been great, expect as they relate to Scarlett. A man's man like Rhett wouldn't of wasted his time with a fridge gal like Scarlett. Come on, when the most romantic scene between these two is a rape scene, I shouldn't have to explain my POV.

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http://teachers.greenville.k12.sc.us/sites/ksherril/2nd%20semester%20am%20lit/What%20Was%20Life%20Like%20Under%20Slavery.pdf

 

*What Was Life Like Under Slavery?*

 

*Under southern law, slaves were considered chattel property. Like a domestic animal, they could be bought, sold, leased, and physically punished. Slaves were prohibited from owning property, testifying against whites in court, or traveling without a pass. Their marriages lacked legal sanction. During the nineteenth century, in response to abolitionist attacks on slavery, southern legislatures enacted laws setting set down minimal standards for housing, food, and clothing -- but these statutes were largely unenforced.*

 

*Prior to the Civil War, abolitionists charged that slaves were overworked, poorly clad, inadequately housed, and cruelly punished; that slavery was a highly profitable investment; and that far from being content, slaves longed for freedom. Apologists for slavery, in turn, accused abolitionists of exaggerating slavery's evils, asserting that slaves were rarely whipped, that marriages were seldom broken by sale, and that most slaves were able to maintain stable family lives. They maintained that paternalism and public opinion protected slaves from cruelty; that slave insurrections were rare because most slaves were contented with bondage; that slavery was an economic burden that planters bore out of a sense of responsibility; and that slaves enjoyed a higher standard of living, a better diet, superior housing, and a greater life expectancy than many free urban workers in the North and in Europe.*

 

*Recent historical research has largely confirmed the abolitionist indictment of slavery. We now know that slaves suffered extremely high mortality. Half of all slave infants died during their first year of life, twice the rate of white babies. And while the death rate declined for those who survived their first year, it remained twice the white rate through age 14. As a result of this high infant and childhood death rate, the average life expectancy of a slave at birth was just 21 or 22 years, compared to 40 to 43 years for antebellum whites. Compared to whites, relatively few slaves lived into old age. Between 1830 and 1860, only 10 percent of U.S. slaves were over 50 years old.*

 

*A major contributor to the high infant and child death rate was chronic undernourishment. Slaveowners showed surprisingly little concern for slave mothers' health or diet during pregnancy, providing pregnant women with no extra rations and employing them in intensive field work even in the last week before they gave birth. Not surprisingly, slave mothers suffered high rates of spontaneous abortions, stillbirths, and deaths shortly after birth. Half of all slave infants weighed less than 5.5 pounds at birth, or what we would today consider to be severely underweight.*

 

*Infants and children were badly malnourished. Most infants were weaned early, within three or four months of birth, and then fed gruel or porridge made of cornmeal. Around the age of three, they began to eat vegetables soups, potatoes, molasses, grits, hominy, and cornbread. This diet lacked protein, thiamine, niacin, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D, and as a result, slave children often suffered from night blindness, abdominal swellings, swollen muscles, bowed legs, skin lesions, and convulsions. These apparently stemmed from beriberi, pellagra, tetany, rickets, and kwashiorkor, diseases that are caused by protein and nutritional deficiencies.*

 

*Squalid living conditions aggravated health problems. Chickens, dogs, and pigs lived next to the slave quarters, and in consequence animal **** contaminated the area. Lacking privies, slaves had to **** and **** in the cover of nearby bushes. Such squalor contributed to high rates of diarrhea, dysentery, whooping cough, respiratory diseases, hepatitis, typhoid fever and intestinal worms.*

 

*Deprived of an adequate diet, slave children were very small by modern standards. Their average height at age three was shorter than 99 percent of twentieth-century American three-year-olds. At age 17, slave men were shorter than 96 percent of present-day 17-year-old men and slave women were shorter than 80 percent of contemporary women.*

 

source: http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/black_voices/voices_display.cfm?id=20

 

Interpreting primary sources: http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/historyonline/us16.cfm

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Funny, I don't recall, even after re-reading it, anywhere in my post where I stated slavery was a preferrable lifestyle. OR in Jakes.

 

I imagine conversations with some of you would encapsulate a scenario in which one might say, "Gee, it's a nice day!" and get a reply like, "How can you say it's a nice day with all the bad things going on in the world?", when the former was merely referring to the weather.

 

Sure, the punishments were hard, they were restricted to the plantation, Mother's babies were taken away and sold, after they were required to **** with some other random slave in order to "breed" a particular line of "stock". Husbands and wives and their children were separated when one or the other were sold or traded.

 

The list could go on, but I fear if I do so, someone here will pick out a word or two and throw the whole thing out of context... AGAIN!

 

Sepiatone

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That last post was aimed at everyone and no one in particular. The format of these forums requires that every comment beyond the thread opener has to be addressed to an individual, but that was only a required formality in this case, and I certainly wasn't trying to suggest that you or Jake or anyone else were saying that slavery was preferable to freedom. (EDIT: And anyway, I see now that I was "replying" to jamesjazzguitar, not you.)

 

Beyond that, the facts I quoted speak for themselves, along with the sources at the bottom of the page, and need no further embellishment.

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'Nuff said. But bear in mind, my opening salvo could be applied to many other threads besides this one. As I said elsewhere( or was it here? ), sometimes when one posts in specifics, some reply with generalities, and when one posts in generalities, the same people reply with specifics. It gets frustrating sometimes.

 

Sepiatone

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I am so glad that you posters are so eager to discuss GWTW. Let me ask a question about the scene where Rhett warns the guests at Twelve Oaks about the superiority in numbers and supplies that the Northern states enjoy: were the Southerners really that reckless? Anybody with half a brain knows that you cannot win a war with mere bravado; you need trained fighting men, weapons, ammunition, supplies, the support of the civilian population--in short, the kind of armed forces that every country that is serious about its self defense is careful to maintain in full functionality.

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Don't forget that the north also had a much better railroad system and that was important to move supplies and men.

 

With regard to the question; Were the Southerns really that reckless. Well I find the answer to that question in the outcome. Also the south wasn't really a country. Instead it was just a group of traitors.

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