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Ap English 1996 Essay Prompt Essay

Writers use many tactics to get across to their readers. In order to get the moral of the story or the overall theme of the book, they might write about the main character reaching an epiphany of some sort that reveals the focus of the story. Writers tend to end their story with a happy ending in which the main character experiences a spiritual reassessment or a moral reconciliation. In Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind, the main character, Scarlett O’Hara, undergoes a spiritual reassessment and moral reconciliation.

At the start of the novel, Scarlett is a high spirited girl concerned mostly about her looks and holding the attention of everyone. She does not really appreciate the little things in life because she has so much available to her. She feels the need to make herself seen by everyone and heard by everyone. There is one encounter where she is talking with two of the handsome boys in town; however, the boys begin to diverge from the topic of her to the topic of war. This angers Scarlett because the attention is no longer on her. She continues this child like behavior for most of the novel. However, her first encounter with Rhett Butler changes Scarlett’s life forever.

When Rhett first meets Scarlett, he is intrigued by her beauty and the way she carries herself. Contrary, to how Rhett feels; Scarlett sees him a low life nothing that does not deserve her attention. Therefore, their time with each other is very short. However, as the novel progresses, their paths cross again. During this time, the Civil War is at its peak; and being that the characters are Confederates, everything is falling apart for them. Scarlett begins to grow out of her childish ways. Now that she sees the hardships of the Confederate soldiers at the hospital she works in, she begins to realize that life is more than dinner parties and corsets.

When she meets Rhett again she is in a terrible condition and is in need of his help. He tells her that in order to receive his help, she needs to marry him. At first Scarlett refuses because she still feels that he is not good enough for her. Eventually, she agrees to marry him but mostly because of his money. Rhett however, is madly in love with Scarlett but is angry at her lack of loving him. The only thing that keeps them together is their daughter Bonnie. She is their pride and joy is the only reason why they remain together. Tragedy strikes when Bonnie dies while trying to jump a fence while on the back of a horse.

This tears Scarlett apart because she feels as if it is her fault that Bonnie dies. Rhett becomes distant from her because he is also devastated. Scarlett punishes herself for allowing her daughter to horseback ride. To make matters worse, her best friend Melanie dies after she has a miscarriage. At this point, the novel is ending and Scarlett is confused, lonely and afraid to feel. However, she starts to feel a strange longing for Rhett. After all this time she finally realizes that she loved Rhett because he is strong, and unscrupulous, passionate and earthy like her. With this sudden epiphany, Scarlett rushes her way home to Rhett. Ironically, Rhett is fed up with Scarlett and does not care about her new found love for him; so he leaves her.

Although this does not seem like a happy ending, after Rhett left Scarlett, she does not get discouraged. She knows what she wants from her life now and it is Rhett. She morally reconciles with herself when she forgives herself for the death of her daughter. She spiritually reassesses herself when she realizes that all the time she was young, she did not really appreciate anything. Her father tells her once, that she will come to love all the things she does not think she will. That is exactly what happens to Scarlett. She decides to go to her home at Tara where she feels a special connection to and devises of ways to bring Rhett back into her life. Now that she has come to terms with who she really is, there is no turning back for her.


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