*Posted on behalf of Jamie Adams. Please address your comments to her.*
When viewing Gone With the Wind several questions came to my mind, but one that really stood out the most is the term escapist. I have recently come across this term in a previous class and developed an understanding of the word and how it pertained to different groups of people at various times in the past. I have read about Jewish women working in factories in the early 1900’s, Cubans playing baseball in a foreign America during the early nineteenth century, and Elvis Presley and his ‘extracurricular’ medicines; all of these dealt with the term escapism on their own terms in diverse ways. Now, the term presents itself again, but to a different era than the one I connected it to. Escapist can have multiple meanings across various cultures and times, even to this day.
In the book by Chadwick, The Reel Civil War, he discusses escapism not only for the masses watching Gone With the Wind but also in the movie itself. Chadwick states that the motion picture industry certainly addressed the Depression in some films, such as the Grapes of Wrath, Dead End, and a string of gangster movies, but it also produced a large number of escapist entertainment stories.* People flocked to new modes of entertainment to escape the unsympathetic reality of life resulting from the Great Depression. Many people from the South, men and women, were still recovering from the psychological and physical trauma of defeat from the Civil War where they were always skeptical of the government. Then, the Great Depression engulfed the nation and society’s skepticism grew even more for many in the South.
The movie became an outlet of inspiration and many Southerners, especially females, could relate to Scarlett O’Hara’s ‘escapist’ moment in the movie. Gone With the Wind was escapist, a finely woven, wonderful soap opera and a rich love story, but it was most importantly a film about the survival of a tough woman trying to keep home and family together in the middle of turmoil.* Hidden messages of escapism were all through the movie and how different people used them to cope with harsh times but the main escapist message was the even though times were tough in the Great Depression, they still had their families. Escapism can therefore be on an individual, group, or national level and have multiple meanings depending on what the person(s) is escaping.
I find this very relevant to today since the American economy is in a recession. Times again are tough on families and we are still in a war, not at home, but still having effects of the home life of many people. It makes me wonder what people today are using as their escapism? Is there anything in the entertainment world that is inspirational and good for the morale of the country today, or are we clouded with too much information and is it positive in any way?
 Chadwick, Bruce. The Reel Civil War: Mythmaking in American Film (New York: Knopf, 2001), 224.
 Chadwick, Bruce. The Reel Civil War: Mythmaking in American Film (New York: Knopf, 2001), 225.
 Chadwick, Bruce. The Reel Civil War: Mythmaking in American Film (New York: Knopf, 2001), 226.
What is escapism: http://ezinearticles.com/?What-is-Escapism?&id=897426