Gone with the Wind
Study Questions & Essay Topics
1. In what way does Scarlett represent the Old South and in what way does she represent the New South? How does her transformation reflect the changes the South undergoes during and after the Civil War?
2. Compare and contrast Ashley and Rhett. What cultural attitudes or ways of life do they embody?
3. How are slavery and black people depicted in Gone with the Wind? Can the novel be labeled racist?
Suggested Essay Topics
1. Is Scarlett O’Hara a feminist character? Explain why or why not, considering historical context, Scarlett’s character traits, and her relationship with Rhett.
2. What values and lifestyles do Tara and Atlanta represent? How does Scarlett change as a result of her interactions with these two settings?
3. Discuss some of Scarlett’s unscrupulous actions—for instance, her employment of convicts in the mill. How does she justify these actions? How do other characters react to her? Does the narrator judge her, defend her, or remain objective?
4. Discuss class issues in Gone with the Wind. How does Mitchell portray characters who do not belong to the white plantation-owning class? How do the Civil War and Reconstruction change class boundaries?
5. How do Gerald and Ellen influence Scarlett’s character? What traits does she inherit from each?
6. What role does Melanie play in the novel? How and why does her relationship with Scarlett change over time?
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