The novel being summarized is titled Gone with the Wind, written by MargaretMitchell. It was published in 1936, after it took her seven years to write, andwon a Pulitzer Prize in 1937. Gone with the Wind was the only book Ms. Mitchellwrote and is an American Classic. Gone with the Wind was a story of men andwomen living in the south during the war between the states and of the southstransformation after the was. The novel began in about 1861 at Tara and TwelveOaks, two southern plantations in Georgia. We were given a glance of thehospitality and generosity of plantation life. When the men went off to war, thewomen moved to Atlanta. While in Atlanta, they worked as nurses as they awaitedthe return of their men. Shermans troops marched in and burned Atlanta, sothe women were forced to leave. They returned to Tara, where we observed thedestruction and desolation of the land. After the war, the story shifted backand forth between Atlanta and Tara. We experienced the struggles to save Tara,rebuild Atlanta, and the effects of the carpetbaggers. The story continued untilabout 1871 as the main characters began to regain the security and grace of thedays before the war. There were four main characters in the story. They wereScarlett OHara, Ashley Wilkes, Melanie Hamilton-Wilkes, and Rhett Butler.
Scarlett, Ashley, and Melanie were raised together, and Rhett Butler was anoutsider who came from Charleston. Scarlett was the daughter of a wealthy Irishplantation owner. She was not beautiful but she was spoiled. She was selfish andscheming. She was also charming so men easily fell in love with her. Scarlettwas obsessively in love with Ashley Wilkes and attempted several times to lurehim away from his lovely wife Melanie. She was also attracted to Rhett Butlerand eventually married him. Scarlett was a survivor. When she was faced with aproblem, she took charge; whether it was taking care of Melanie when she had thebaby, shooting a union soldier, building the lumber company, or taking care ofsomething else. Melanie Hamilton, in contrast to Scarlett, was unselfish andgentle. She always saw the good in people and situations and looked beyond theirflaws. She had an inner strength that kept her from complaining about theinjustice done on the south and on her loved ones. Melanie married her cousin,Ashley Wilkes; therefore she became Scarletts antagonist. Melanie wasgenerous, loving, and forgiving at all times to all people. Although she wasphysically weak, her heart was strong. In the end her second pregnancy causedher death and she put her trust in Scarlett to take care of her husband and son.
Ashley Wilkes was the gentle and elegant son of a plantation owner. He was weakand indecisive. He was not any good at farming or hard labor. However, he didtake on tasks of honor and sacrifice. After the war, Ashley lost the life he hadexpected and had difficulty finding the strength to continue his life. RhettButler was a very wealthy, handsome, southern gentleman from Charleston. He wasa man who knew his own mind and followed it no matter what. He was a smartbusinessman, but had a sense of honor and integrity that he always returned to.
He was irresistibly drawn to Scarlett, who he saw was just like him. Against hisbetter judgment, he fell in love with and married her, despite of her faults.
The first conflict was the War and its effects on the south. The characters weretrying to reclaim their old life, even though so much had changed. They haddreams of victory despite the evidence of losing the battle. It is almost as ifeveryone was in denial. The conflict was resolved when the war was over, thesoldiers came home, and everyone began trying to rebuild their lives. The secondconflict was that Scarlett believed she would marry Ashley Wilkes, and hemarried Melanie. She tried to convince him not to, but he did not listen.
Throughout the story, she tried to charm him away from Melanie. The conflict wasresolved when Scarlett found out she really loved her husband, Rhett Butler. Thethird conflict also involved Scarlett. She desperately needed money to keep Tarafrom being taken by the carpetbaggers after the war. They wanted three hundreddollars and she only had ten left. Scarlett went to Rhett (before they weremarried) and he refused so she went to Frank Kennedy. He married her and helpedher open a business with Ashley. She was then able to pay the taxes with herincome and Tara was saved. The fourth conflict was another involving Scarlett.
Ashley asked her to take care of Melanie while he is gone to war. Scarlett doesnot want to do it but feels obligated to. The arrival of Melanies baby cameon the night Atlanta was burning and there was no help for the delivery.
Scarletts strength in adversity took over, as did her promise to Ashley, soshe delivered the baby and brought both Melanie and her newborn child to thesafety of Tara. The resolution was that even though Scarlett did not want tocare for Melanie, she did anyway. It was not just because Ashley asked her to,but because it needed to be done. This bonded Scarlett and Melanie. The fifthconflict was Rhetts problem with loving a woman who loved another man. Hegave into his love for her and then pulled back when he was hurt. He showed hislove the only way she would accept it- with money. This took care of herproblems and concerns about money. Rhett solved his problem by leaving Scarlettand returning home. This story was about peoples hopes and dreams, abouthonorable treatment of others, and about facing reality amidst adversity. Thereis no truth or substance in trying to recapture the past. It becomes a foolishobsession that causes self-defeat and confusion. The true dreams of tomorrow arelived by honor, truth, and humility. We should accept things as they really areand not how we would like them to be.
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