Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

“Gone With the Wind” (1939) first originated three years earlier when Margaret Mitchell published the novel of the same name. The novel was immensely popular when it was first published in 1936 and has continued to flourish in popularity in the decades after. In recent years, a Harris poll named the book second after the Bible in terms of America’s favorite book. Even now characters, themes and portrayal of racism in the Old South are topics of much debate. The film itself tells the story of a spoiled Southern belle, Scarlett O’Hara.

It is also a romanticized history of the South during the Civil War (1861-65) and the reconstruction period that followed. Scarlett has become one of the best anti-heroines in literature and film similar to Vanity Fair’s Becky Sharp, she is selfish, willful and uses her considerable charm and intellect to get what she wants with no regard to others around her.

She could also be considered a feminist icon for her fierce independence.

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She even was elevated up to the de-facto head of the household and also she happens to own and operate her own business. At her first appearance on screen, she appears to be the pampered daughter of a wealthy Southern plantation owner who exudes a magnetic attention to every man in the vicinity. Every man, except for Ashley Wilkes. His engagement to his modest, quietly attractive cousin Melanie Hamilton enrages Scarlett and cements her attraction into an obsession. Scarlett’s display of temper towards Ashley attracts Charleston born rogue, Rhett Butler.

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Rhett believes they are more alike than she is willing to admit.

Later his pursuit of her begins to rival that of hers for Ashley. The War Between the States brought a screeching halt to the everyday lives of all the characters in different ways, not the least of which is the migration of most men to the battlefield. Their wives and daughters left behind are forced to act independently to maintain their homes and lifestyles while simultaneously doing what they can to support the war effort. The subsequent war and the Reconstruction gave Scarlett the perfect opportunity to showcase her strong will, determination, and creative decision making. Her transformation into a woman who acts as a man in a man’s world instead of remaining a coddled socialite is incredible.

With the South’s traditional way of life now nonexistent and the character’s changes, two things stayed as they were. Scarlett’s obsession with Ashley and Rhett’s obsession with her. With four hours of numerous plots, characters and themes, it is impossible to give a complete review of Gone with the Wind, but there is a reason why this film is a must see classic with eight Oscar wins. There are several examples of romanticism in this film, but a few of them are the love triangle between Scarlett, Ashley, and Rhett. A second was how Scarlett’s easily obtained attraction to virtually every man around her, and a third being Rhett’s love interest with Scarlett and her temper towards Ashley leading him to believe that they’re more alike than either of them would like to admit.


Updated: Dec 12, 2023
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Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. (2022, Feb 11). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/gone-with-the-wind-by-margaret-mitchell-essay

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell essay
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