Paper on Gone with the Wind

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Gone with the Wind

Gone With the Wind
Mitchell, Margaret
published by Avon Books


The book is Gone With the Wind. The time is 1861, and the action is
centered around Atlanta Georgia, and the surrounding area. It begins at Tara, the O’Hara
plantation. Scarlett quickly moves to Atlanta, soon after her late husband’s death. she
returns to Tara, though, during the burning of Atlanta by the Yankees. Once she has
made Tara successful again, and she needs money for the house, she gets Frank Kennedy
marry her. So she moves back to Atlanta. Once Frank is killed, Scarlett marries Rhett,
and the two of them build a huge house outside of the city.


Scarlett O’Hara-Hamilton-Kennedy-Butler
The main character of the book, Scarlett was very beautiful, and very stubborn. With her
“magnolia white skin” and the “smallest waist in 3 counties”, she was somewhat
irresistible to men. She used this to her advantage in every way she could. It did get her
places, but where it didn’t, she had to resort to her wits, and stubborn disposition. she
decides that she loves Ashley Wilkes, and vows that she will get him to say that he loves
her back. This presents her first problem. To solve this problem, or to get back at Ashley
for not marring her, she gets Charles Hamilton to marry her, instead. That was a short
lived marriage, because he was killed by pneumonia at a camp in war. He did give
Scarlett a baby, whom she named Wade Hamilton. She was very distraught after this,
because it made her realize that Ashley might die. She was sent to her sister in law,
Melanie Wilkes, who was Charles’s sitter, and Ashley’s wife. They lived with their aunt
Pittypat in Atlanta, until the Yankees came to the city and burned it. Then Scarlett and
the girls fled to Tara, where Scarlett felt safe. There, she vowed to get the plantation
running again, even if it met killing the Yankee who tried to rob the house. She did get
Ashley to proclaim his love for her, but never any more than that. She married Frank
Kennedy for his money when the plantation needed money for taxes. They were married
until Scarlett, ever the business woman, was out for a drive in the country and got robbed.
This demanded action from Frank, and he was shot trying to get his revenge. At his
funeral, Rhett asked Scarlett to marry him. She of course said yes, and they lived together
for quite a while in their huge house on the outskirts of Atlanta. They had a child, whom
they named bonnie, to add to Scarlett’s brood of 2 from her previous marriages. But
tragically, Bonnie was killed when she fell from her horse. This caused problems
between Scarlett and Rhett, and they ended up leaving each other. Scarlett realizes, to
late, that she did in fact love Rhett, and tries to get him back, but he is to far gone. She
vows at the end of the book to get him back, saying that after all, tomorrow is another

Rhett Butler
Rhett is a very scandalous man. he doesn’t care what anybody says about him, and
doesn’t think that anybody else should care, ether. He meets Scarlett at the Wilkes’s ball
at the beginning of the book, and vows to have her someday. He becomes active in her
life in Atlanta, after Charles’s death. He was not received in his hometown of Charleston,
where he was accused of rape. He and Scarlett went around the bush all the time, and he
was the only man that her charms would now work on. He saw through them. Rhett
exemplifies a strange mixture of good and bad in a man. He is good in that he loves
Scarlett, and will do just about anything for her, but he is bad in that he goes to whore
houses, and stuff like that. When he and Scarlett get married, he is very jealous of her
devotion to Ashley. but this subdues when Scarlett has Bonnie, whom he loved very
much. When she died, he was heartbroken. I do believe that he loved his child more than
his wife. He realized this, too, and broke off his relationship with Scarlett for ever, he
says. thus the end of the book.

Ashley Wilkes
Ashley was a very tragic character. He married his cousin, Melanie Hamilton,
much to Scarlett’s dismay. But they married anyway, and when Ashley came home to
Atlanta for Christmas, Melly ended up pregnant. He was a thoughtful, scholarly man. A
dreamer, yes. A man inclined to retreat from unpleasant realities, especially realities that
appear insoluble. But also a man with fire in his spirit, even if only a flicker, and steel in
his backbone when necessary.
Ashley is braver than the other young bucks of "The Troop". They rush off to war
expecting a Summertime lark of high adventure, but Ashley goes knowing the war can
only mean death and misery. Even the impetuous hotheads respect his judgment and
abilities and elect him Captain. And Ashley's "hot anger" flares fast enough when
Grandpa Merriwether insults him for rationally expounding a case for ratifying the 15th
Was Ashley a defeated man, broken by the war? Yes, but the war was not some little
thing, easily shrugged off. It took a catastrophe of horrific and devastating magnitude to
bring him down. Could he have made a new life of his own without Scarlett’s help? Yes,
he arranged the offer of the banking position in New York by himself. Not as good as
what Scarlett provided for him in Atlanta, but his own doing.
Was he a good husband, a good man for a woman? Absolutely. Melanie knew him all her
life, understood him and married him willingly. We can trust Melanie on this point. The
fact that she loved him deeply is as fine a recommendation as he could have had.
Tragic, yes. Pathetic, no. Defeated, yes, but still a good man. Not a man who could win a
bitter war or build a new South on the ruins of the old. But still, if the South had
more like him, more voices of sense and reason, it wouldn't had seceded in the first
place. And the whole tragedy of war and destruction could have been avoided. That's the
real Ashley.

Melanie Hamilton-Wilkes
Melanie Hamilton married Ashley Wilkes early on in the book. In fact, the first problem
that Scarlett has in the book is trying to coax Ashley away from Melly.
Melly was one of my favorite character. No other book has had a person who was so
good, so pure, yet so real. She was braver than Scarlett, really, for she saw the world as it
was and yet remained the same. Scarlett lived in a world of her own and was warped by
things that happened to her.
In the beginning, she and her brother, Charles, (who later became Scarlett’s first husband,
thus linking the two characters) came for a visit from Atlanta. The Wilkes threw a
barbecue to announce the engagement of Ashley, their oldest son, to Melly, his cousin.
"The Wilkes' always marry their cousins", someone commented, (I can never remember if
it was Brent or Stuart Tarlton). When Ashley went off to war, she and Scarlett lived with
Aunt Pittypat in Atlanta. It is in that house that she gives birth to her son, Beau. Melanie
had a heart shaped face, with a long widow's peak. She was not beautiful, but had more
inner beauty than any other character. She was thin and shapeless, and looked like a child
masquerading in her mother's hoopskirts. Melanie was forced to let her husband go to
war, and she did everything she could for the Cause to help him. She shared his views and
opinions, and was proud of him. She was gentle and sweet, and good with children. It was
she who taught Scarlett’s children, Wade and Ella, how to love and be loved, for Scarlett
was not a good mother to them. She became the center of the community during
Reconstruction, and she was blindly devoted to Scarlett. Perhaps she could see Scarlett’s
good qualities and loved her for them. She would defend her until her last breath.

The servants
I chose to use the servants as my last character, because they were always so devoted to
the families that they belonged to before the war. They were probably some of my
favorite characters, because they gave me a different view of slavery. I had always
thought about it as the awful thing that black people had to go through, the whippings, the
cruelty that occurred that is so comely taught to us. But these slaves made it look
different. They loved their owners, and would give their lives for them. Take Big Sam,
Tara’s head field hand. When Scarlett was attacked by the Yankee and ‘nigger’ outside
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