The 1939 movie Gone with the Wind promotes the Mammy stereotype, which is present throughout the movie. This movie is still relevant, along with other works of fiction based during the same era, as the Civil War is still a highly studied topic by scholars today. It begins right before the Civil War, and takes place in Georgia, so the families owned slaves and servants. In the O’Hara family, the main household servant, Mammy, is the perfect representation of the Mammy stereotype. The film portrays her as someone who does not mind being enslaved, and as someone who loves her work.
Throughout the movie, Mammy acts as mother to the O’Hara’s eldest daughter, Scarlet, and even more so when Scarlet’s actual mother dies. One of the most important scenes in the movie involves Mammy. When Scarlet finally returns home after the war is over, she discovers that her mom has died. Scarlet turns to Mammy, who then calms Scarlet down. Mammy is the one figure Scarlet looks to for help.She offers strength in times of hardship, and helps her in times of need. When Scarlet has to go to town to talk to Rhett to collect money to pay taxes, Scarlet takes Mammy with her, as she makes her feel safe, which is especially important as the town is dangerous. Mammy also breaks the stereotypes as she has some agency during the movie, especially after Mr. O’Hara dies. She begins to run the household operation, with a few restrictions from Scarlet and the others. Ultimately,this movie enforces the idea of the Mammy stereotype, which portrays a slave liking the job she does and as being treated well by the family, when, in reality, that was usually not the case. Over time, movies have represented slaves and servants in a much more realistic manner.
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