Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Vintage Mitchell


One more interesting tidbit from the Margaret Mitchell House:

Long before she was producing Pulitzer Prize-winning fiction, young  Margaret Mitchell was naturally producing non-Pulitzer Prize-winning fiction. Take, for example, this early, early story- written in her own girlish hand:



In case you can’t read the words through the glare of my cell-phone pictures, here is the full text below:
Two Little People
Two little people live in my backyard. One is named Tommy, and the other, Sarah. Tommy is the boldest and the bravest. Each morning he gets up and salutes Sarah, saying “Come Sarah, the sun has been up an hour you are very sleepy, my dear.” Sarah rubs her eyes. They go together and get breakfast. Sarah is lazy and lets Tommy do the work. She does not even cook her food, but eats it raw.
Every day they have a singing lesson. This is what they sing. “Quack, quack, quack,” for Tommy and Sarah are two ducks.
The End.
Not quite Pulitzer material, I admit. But you can’t help but be moved by the social commentary provided by Sarah’s unwillingness to wake-up, just as the post-bellum South was reticent to wake up to the harsh realities of reconstruction. Or the symbolism of the raw breakfast as a stand-in for man’s unfulfilled potential. Or how the skilled use of onomatopoeia reminds us all that we are all, at center, just brute animals striving for an unattainable transcendence.

How a pre-teen Mitchell accomplishes all that in just 10 or 11 sentences is downright remarkable, no?


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