full title · Gone with the Wind
author · Margaret Mitchell
type of work · Novel
genre · Romance novel; historical fiction; bildungsroman (novel that charts the maturation of the main character)
language · English
time and place written · 1926–1936; Atlanta
date of first publication · 1936
publisher · Houghton Mifflin
narrator · The anonymous narrator speaks in the third person and is omniscient, having access to the thoughts, emotions, and histories of all characters and possessing insight into the context and consequences of events in the novel that the characters lack. The narrator generally voices the upper-class Southern perspective on the Civil War and slavery.
point of view · The narrator follows Scarlett almost exclusively, occasionally pulling back to give broad historical descriptions and analysis
tone · The narrator treats the characters and the plot seriously but often criticizes characters who take themselves too seriously
tense · Past
setting (time) · 1861–early 1870s
setting (place) · Atlanta; Tara, the O’Hara plantation in northern Georgia
protagonist · Scarlett O’Hara
major conflict · Scarlett struggles to find love, trying out Ashley Wilkes and Rhett Butler, while simultaneously trying to adjust to the changing face of the South
rising action · Scarlett confesses her love to Ashley; Scarlett marries Rhett; Scarlett and Ashley embrace
climax · Bonnie dies while horseback riding, breaking the tie that binds Rhett and Scarlett
falling action · Scarlett falls down the stairs and miscarries; Rhett tells Melanie of his love for Scarlett; Melanie dies; Scarlett realizes that she loves Rhett, not Ashley; Rhett abandons Scarlett
themes · The transformation of Southern culture; overcoming adversity with willpower; the importance of land
motifs · Female intelligence and capability; alcohol abuse; prostitution
symbols · Rhett Butler; Atlanta
foreshadowing · Gerald O’Hara’s dangerous horse-jumping in Chapter II is part of a pattern of reckless behavior and hints at his later death, and that of Scarlett’s daughte Bonnie Blue, both in riding accidents
Poor Ashley. He never quite fit in with the Old Guard, even though he embodied the traits they valued. It was a hard fall from Scarlett's pedestal.
"but as the novel ends she still has not reflected on her actions or learned from her wrongdoing. In some ways, she has not progressed at all."
She makes the most significant revelation in the whole novel, that she loves Rhett and was only in love with Ashley superficially, and that is not considered learning or reflecting? What more does she need to reflect on with regard to her actions?
It might seem ridiculous to classify the stereotypically ignorant and silly Prissy as a heroine, but if you shift the point of view from that of the priveleged upper class to the horribly oppressed slave population a different picture presents itself. Prissy has lived with her mother Dilcey all her life, following her mother's path as a servant but not midwife. Dilcey does not permit Prissy to observe a birth because Prissy is regarded as lazy, shiftless, stupid and untruthful. This is deeply frustrating to her owners as well as her mother
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