Finally reading "Gone With the Wind" - Spoiler if you haven't...

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by witzend, Dec 24, 2013.

  1. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Seriously, if you have watched the movie all your life as I have and had questions about the characters, it's all quite clear in the book. If you think you might want to get around to the book someday and don't want it ruined for you, don't read here.

    I could never figure out why Scarlett was so enamored of Ashley, or why Ashley led her on so. Duh! Ashley is gay. Scarlett's father tells her so right at the beginning of the book in so many words, but Scarlett is only 16 and can't figure out what he's saying. Ashley knows that Scarlett is too brash to keep his secret, and Melanie starts out as frail and not supposed to have children so Ashley figures that she'll understand his refusal to touch her or that she'll die in childbirth but she'd never blab and make a fuss like Scarlett would after she figured it out.

    Scarlett loves Ashley because he's a dandy. She likes pretty things and feels entitled to all pretty things. Pretty clothes, pretty horses, pretty faces. Geez, does that explain a lot! I could never figure out why Ashley seems so boring. It's because they couldn't just come out with "he's gay", so they had to make him the least sexually appealing character in the history of movies, and why would Scarlett want him? Because she's a little girl who hasn't a clue.
  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I've read the book a number of times and agree with you. on the other hand, I also think there is a tendency to seek out men who aren't in least in your youth. by the way, did you ever read Forever Amber? DDD
  3. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I am reading GWTW too, Witz.


    But I am reading it for like, the thousandth time.


    No, no, no. Ashley doesn't understand that his feelings for Scarlett have to do with lust. He does not understand that Melanie is his soul mate until she is dying. Remember, at the end, when Scarlett suddenly sees that, and realizes she has loved Rhett all along?

    I love GWTW. Love the writing style, love the rhythms of the life described there. Every time we drive through Atlanta, to this very day, I envision scenes from GWTW. Here is a secret: I think our Kathy 813, who is from Georgia and whom I have never met, looks just like Melanie.

    So does one of her daughters. The difficult child daughter? Looks like Scarlett.

    I think they may even have 17 inch waists and wear those hoop dresses while they post to us, here.


  4. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Totally. Gay. He knows that Melanie shouldn't have kids from before he marries her, so she's a "hands off" kind of wife. Of course there's a lot of in-breeding going on in that family so her frailty to be expected. I don't think it's any mistake that Gerald O'Hara repeatedly tells Scarlett that Ashley is "queer", although I know it has another meaning at the time. But he makes a strong point to her that he doesn't mean "crazy", he means queer in that Ashley loves his books, poetry, oil paintings, and fancy music too much, he doesn't drink or gamble except when he's hard pressed to and even then "his heart is not in it", that he'll "never satisfy Scarlett" as a wife, and that regardless of what Scarlett thinks "no woman can change a man like that". Even Scarlett knows that when he's wooing her before he marries Melanie that there is "never the sparkle in his eye" that every other man has for her.

    I know that Ashley realizes his love for Melanie at the end, but I think it's in regret for having not been a good husband to her and that he will miss his beard, as it were. He now has no reason to not marry Scarlett and that terrifies him so he has to tell Scarlett that he loved Melanie all along. At the very least, Ashley's sexuality is open to interpretation. You'd be surprised how many hits you get if you google "Ashley Wilkes gay". Apparently there's been some very serious study and research into it.,,20085316,00.html

    I've never read "Forever Amber". I'm not sure what that is? I'll have to look it up.
  5. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Cedar, where is the ROTFLMAO smilie that we used to have? Unless Melanie was blonde with blue eyes I don't look a thing like her. And you can just forget about me trying to achieve those small waists they had using a corset. I can't even stand the feel of Spanx.

    Now, with my difficult child on the other hand, I can see the resemblance to Scarlett. She even has a way of getting people to do what she wants by just batting her big, beautiful eyes. . . just like Scarlett.

    Witz, I read the book years ago and didn't think of Ashley as gay. I'll have to read it again while keeping that interpretation in mind and see if I missed something.

    Last edited: Dec 24, 2013
  6. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    I read it a couple times and yes he's gay in my opinion; one thing I never caught was why did they cut Scarlett's kid out? In the book she has a kid from her first husband guess he didn't fit into the movie. Loved GWTW but the sequel "Scarlett" is boring kept falling asleep while reading it.

  7. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I'd never thought of Ashley being gay, but it does make sense. I'll have to reread the book, and I want the biography of Margaret Mitchell mentioned in that link Witz posted. Scarlett was the most boring thing...I barely got through it. One book I enjoyed very much was Rhett Butler's was a fictionalized account of Rhett's life, and it made some of his behaviors understandable. Like why he continued to help out the madam (her name escapes me...Belle Watling, isn't it?) Anyway, it was an interesting read.
  8. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    I'm one of those people who saw the movie quite a few times before I read the book, just this year. Yes, the book explained a lot and as far as I'm concerned it was MUCH better than the movie but I do realize
    that at the time the movie was made, they could not have addressed Ashley's being gay even if they had wanted to. They had a hard enough time just including the word "damn." Maybe we need and updated version. And, yes, there was A LOT left out.

    I have read Forever Amber but I never saw the movie. Guess I should rent it just to see how badly they screwed that up. LOL
  9. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I know what this is.

    I am in denial about Ashley's homosexuality.


  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    GWTW is my favorite book of all time. The movie doesn't do it justice. I never thought of the gay angle, and am not sure the author meant for him to be gay at all. I really think it is that he is a wuss and will never breech his marriage vows. I still think so.

    Now if this book had been written today, I do think there is a good chance Ashley would have been gay. But, really, I don't think the issue was out there at the time and I still am pretty convinced that Margaret Mitchell just meant that the man was too much a goody-goody to marry someone his family didn't approve of or pick for him.Yet he was a weasel enough to play along and lead her on.

    Nancy, in the book Scarlett has a child from each husband, not just Bonnie. The traumas she faces are more spread out and told in more detail and I didn't find it as tragic. I also probably learned more about the Civil War than from any classroom.

    I don't think movies can ever do a book justice. They only have two hours (in GWTW case four hours) to tell a long story.

    I'm really sorry MM died before finishing the sequel she was writing.