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Gone with the Wind

Margaret Mitchell

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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  ·  19261936; 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

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