Author: Margaret Mitchell
Genre: Romance, War, Historic Fiction
First Publication: 1936
Setting Time: 1861-early 1870 (American Civil war to the reconstruction era)
Setting Place: Tara (the O’Hara plantation in northern Georgia) & Atlanta.
Protagonist: Scarlett O’Hara
Major Characters: Scarlett O’Hara, Ashley Wilkes, Rhett Butler, Malanie, Mammy.
Narrator: Third-Person, anonymous and omniscient narrator. Narrator have access to the thoughts, emotions and histories of all the characters and have deep knowledge to the circumstances and consequences of the events in the book.
I don’t know how to write review of a classic like Gone with the Wind. So I’ll just write my feelings and thoughts after reading this wonderful, shocking, engrossing, emotionally absorbing and at the same time most tragic, infinitely disturbing and upsetting work of literature ever written.
It’s a story of love and loss, peace and war, hope and despair and extreme will power to do anything for love, to cross any limits and border for safety of loved ones. The story is set in the time of American Civil War and Reconstruction Era of the country so it represents chronological look at a time filled with uncertainty during war and reconstruction, and also depicts the psychological and moral growth of its characters as they undergo dramatic changes to their way of life. Margaret Mitchell’s pen has stroked a beautiful, vivid yet realistic picture of life of belles, beaux, Yankees, confederates and everything in the South.
The Story revolves around beautiful, affluent, spirited yet lazy, spoiled, selfish, careless and stupid Scarlett O’Hara. The book chronicles Scarlett’s journey from a spoiled 16-year-old Southern belle in 1861 to broken yet strong and determined grown woman in 1873. Most of the book is devoted to intricate details of South during the Civil War, from mere talk amongst people of town to the brutality of battle when the war reaches their own backyards. There are bloodshed and lives lost for Cause – a way of life that southern held onto with determination they were ready and willing to die for. Margaret Mitchell does a thorough job of showcasing the life on the plantations before the war broke out, in time of the war and during reconstruction and rebuilding after the war. She wrote clearly about South (how the Yankees were viewed, the deceptive practices of Carpetbaggers and the hatred of Scalawags during the period of war and reconstruction) from Scarlett’s point of view as well as from the perspective of the other Georgian residents.
Through this all there was a pulse of romance. The first line of the book is “Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful” but as Mitchell explains, men seldom realized it. Scarlett possesses an undeniable charm that leaves most men thunderstruck in her presence. She was charming yet she’s not always comply with the standards of a “great lady” in her day. She can be rude, discourteous, impolite, unladylike, ill-mannered, rough, uncivilized, foul-mouthed, brutally honest and as you’ll see when story progresses, she’s far too smart for her own good.
Another main character is Rhett Butler who was quite the devil and the only person in book with the ability to conquer Scarlett. You’ll not like him neither you’ll trust him but still you’ll want him to be with Scarlett. He always mocked scarlett’s emotions and mocked all of the southern civility but still loved and admired Scarlett secretly. I loved all the talk and discussions between Scarlett and Rhett in the book and that is many times. I never read more vibrant character in my life than Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler. There are other Characters who I loved are Ashley Wilkes, Melanie, Mammy, Gerald O’Hara, Belle Watling, Aunt Hamilton, Franck Kennedy and many others. What I admired of Margaret Mitchell -other than her story- was the way she had developed the characters, and their emotions and feelings. Each one is so full of life and personality that you’ll come to appreciate them. I could go on and on , but I’ll let you get read it if you don’t have yet ( most have already read this classical epic).
The protagonist of the novel and daughter of Gerald and Ellen O’Hara and is accustomed to getting her own way, whether with clothes or boys. She surrounds herself with young men, flirting mercilessly and is not above stealing the beaux of other girls.
Scarlett’s life long antagonist who is in love with her from the moment he sees her. He is an opportunist willing to take advantage of any situation, but not without kindness or generosity under the right conditions.
Husband to Melanie Hamilton and object of Scarlett’s life-long fantasy.
Wife to Ashley Wilkes and Sister of Scarlett’s First Husband Charles Hamilton. Unable to believe anything bad about people she loves.
Scarlett’s childhood nurse and life-long servant and companion. Mammy understands Scarlett better than Scarlett understands herself and is remarkably intuitive, but also protective and motherly.
Suellen and Coreen O’Hara
Scarlett’s younger sisters
Scarlett’s first husband, brother to Melanie
Scarlett’s first child by Charles
Scarlett’s second husband stolen from Suellen
Scarlett’s second child by Frank
Scarlett’s third and last child
Honey and India Wilkes
Ashley’s younger sisters
Prissy and Dilcey
Additional slaves purchased by Gerald early in the story. Prissy is given to Scarlett
Gerald’s personal servant
Stuart, Brent, Boyd, Tom: young men from a neighboring plantation
The father of the Tarleton boys
Mr. Calvert and his “Yankee” wife
The owners of smaller neighboring plantation
The Calvert children
Raiford, Cade, Cathleen
Joe and Tony Fontaine
Sons on another nearby plantation
The Merriwethers, the Elsings, the Meads
Citizens of Atlanta
Pittypat’s house servant
Owner of the whorehouse of Atlanta
Beau to Maybelle Merriwether
A homeless soldier with a past who stays in Melanie’s basement and serves as a bodyguard to the women
Husband of Mrs. Elsing
A Low class foreman who runs one of Scarlett’s mills.