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  • In the Shadow of a Novel: Margaret Mitchell

    Famous for her classic novel Gone with the Wind, Peggy Mitchell had been rebellious in her youth, choosing not to finish college and acting less than modestly in Atlanta society. While working as a reporter, she spent three years writing her novel. the work sold millions of copies, was the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize. As Mitchell retreated from stardom she advanced a progressive agenda from behind the scenes, helping to integrate Atlanta's police, supported the building of both black and white emergency clinics, and patronized African-American medical students who hadn't the means to afford schooling.

    Support Materials

    Discuss

    1. Explain why Margaret Mitchell is described as being "ahead of her time."

    2. Gone with the Wind is one of the most popular books published during the 1900s and catapulted Margaret Mitchell into the limelight, which she despised. Describe a modern book and the impact on its author. Focus on how the author responded to the fame and attention.

    Expansion

    1. Margaret "Peggy" Mitchell died in 1949 after being hit by a drunk driver. Write a eulogy or an obituary detailing her life and legacy.

    Vocabulary

    debutante: a young upper-class woman who has begun going to special parties where she will meet and be seen by other people from the upper class
    rebel: a person who does not obey rules or accept normal standards of behavior, dress, etc.
    Pulitzer Prize: an award for achievements in newspaper, magazine and online journalism, literature and musical composition in the United States
    benefactor: someone who helps another person, group, etc., by giving money
    manuscript: the original copy of a play, book, piece of music, etc., before it has been printed
    limelight: public attention or notice thought of as a bright light that shines on someone

    For Teachers

    Discussion Guide

    1. Explain why Margaret Mitchell is described as being "ahead of her time."
    Margaret Mitchell fought for what she believed in and held a job when many women stayed at home. Despite growing up in a segregated South, she was the benefactor for several African-American students who wanted to further their careers. 

    2. Gone with the Wind is one of the most popular books published during the 1900s and catapulted Margaret Mitchell into the limelight which she despised. Describe a modern book and the impact on its author. Focus on how the author responded to the fame and attention.
    Student answers will vary.

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