Gone with the Wind is a1939 film adapted from Margaret Mitchell's 1936 novel of the same name. The epic, set in the American South in and around the time of the Civil War, starred Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, Leslie Howard and Olivia de Haviland and told the story of the Civil War from a white Southern point of view.
It was awarded ten Academy Awards, a record that would stand for years, and has been named by the American Film Institute as number four among the top 100 American films of all time. It has sold more tickets than any other film in history, and today has become one of the most popular films of all time, and one of the most enduring symbols of the golden age of . Adjusting for inflation, the film is the highest grossing of all time.
‘’Gone with the Wind’’ is a story about the process of human accomplishment. The story is set during a period of radical evolutionary social upheaval during the Civil war. It depicts how four central characters respond differently to the challenges of the times, some clinging to the past which is receding and others embracing the future with an intense aspiration for higher achievement.
The story centers around the relationships of the four main characters before, during and immediately after the war. Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) is deeply in love with the aristocratic Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard) who is powerfully attracted to Scarlett but marries his cousin Melanie (Olivia de Haviland). Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) insistently pursues, eventually marries Scarlett. It all happens during the pre and post war upheavals that destroy the old southern culture and confront the characters with the raw challenges for survival that met the first settlers in new world two centuries earlier.
Scarlett, who is born in a wealthy plantation family, is intensely attracted towards Ashley. Her love for him is the driving force for her in life and gives her the courage to face the extreme challenges brought about by the war. Ashley marries Melanie who is an embodiment of goodness, gratitude, love and affection. Melanie’s love for Ashley is so intense and pure that not even Scarlett, with all her energy and strength can come between them. Rhett’s ambition to marry Scarlett since their first meeting is finally accomplished. Scarlett recognizes how much she has depended on Melanie’s goodness only when Melanie is on her death bed. It is only then that Scarlett feels an intense need Rhett, but by that time he has already rejected her.
The underlying truth of the story is that the final outcome is the result of the intense aspirations and drives of the two main characters Scarlett and Rhett. During these tumultuous times, social forces are extremely powerful and strongly influence the relationship between the characters. Life responds to the strength of the characters and rewards them based on their aspiration, energy, courage, resourcefulness and goodwill.
Synopsis of Plot
The story extends over a time period of twelve years in the life of narcissistic plantation belle Scarlett O'Hara, from the start of the Civil War through the Reconstruction Period, and covers her various romantic pursuits against the backdrop of an important time in the American history where the war completely sweeps away the southern plantation culture, a civilization that is gone with the wind. The history of an aspiring selfish woman who doesn't want to admit her feelings about the man she loves instead runs behind a false love and finally discovers her true love when it is too late is depicted strikingly.
The central driving force for the action is Scarlett’s intense seeking for Ashley, who is attracted to her but marries his cousin Melanie who is more like him. With the social edifice crumbling due to the civil war, Scarlett exhibits in all her strength and force, a deep motivation and commitment to save Tara, her plantation home at Georgia. She exhibits such intense infatuation throughout the story towards Ashley even after he is married.
Scarlett pursues her goal with absolutely no inner and outer restraints or inhibitions. She doesn’t allow herself to be disturbed or distracted from her goal either by scruples of her conscience or the prevalent social norms. Ashley is obviously attracted by Scarlett’s charms and passion for life, but backs away in the name of honor. Rhett Butler instantly falls for Scarlett’s high energy and vitally responds to her energy and strength. Rhett has the complete knowledge of human nature and is able to laugh at her folly of yearning to win Ashley. The war breaks in and lasts for nearly 4 years, destroying the traditional southern society. Ashley and a lot other men enlist and leave home to fight the Yankees. Rhett becomes a blockade runner. He makes money from both sides by courageous enterprise. The Yankees gradually defeat and capture the South at the cost of innumerable lives and the old way of life. Scarlett and Melanie live together till Ashley returns safely from the war. Scarlett’s strength and Melanie’s goodness protect Ashley.
Rhett marries Scarlett becoming her third husband. Life brings the two together. Scarlett throws away an opportunity for happiness with Rhett by constantly pining over Ashley. Rhett is never able to get her care or love. Scarlett’s blind infatuation for Ashley prevents her from realizing that Rhett is a far more suitable partner than he can ever be. The pent up unhappiness is so strong and intense in both that their negative energies play an important role in the death of their child Bonnie. Finally Rhett leaves Scarlett when she truly gets over the spell of Ashley and expresses her love for him.
Born into a wealthy plantation family, Scarlett longs to be a "great lady" like her aristocratic and saintly mother, Ellen, but in fact takes more after her father, Gerald, a willful, self-made man of practical Irish peasant stock. Scarlett is headstrong, selfish and ruthless.
Scarlett is strong and totally selfish. She is attracted to Ashley because of his aristocratic character as her father Gerald was attracted to Ellen, but like Gerald she is coarse which makes her attractive to Rhett.
Scarlett exhibits specific traits such as being sensible, committed, practical, energetic, charming, attractive, strong, fun-loving, quick witted, lively,wild, coarse, rebellious, opportunistic, unscrupulous, willful, sometimes rude,headstrong, selfish, ruthless and sharp tongued.
Energy, Strength of Personality and Aspiration
Her energy and strength of personality comes from her commitment towards Ashley, her will to win material comforts, her aspiration to save and uphold Tara. Scarlett aspires for the highest level of material accomplishment. She not only wants to get over poverty and hunger but she wants to be immensely rich and goes to any extent to accomplish on this. She is willing to change to the times to attain her will.
Scarlett responds to every single opportunity and challenge she encounters. She faces them straight with no excuse although she has no values to cling to, except for her binding for Tara.
Characteristics inherited from family
Scarlett takes more after her father, Gerald, a willful, self-made man of practical Irish peasant stock. She inherits his energy and aspiration. Her outward manners are what have been imposed on her by her mother and the strict discipline of Mammy. Scarlett, like her father, was driven by the experience of poverty and her vow to escape it and shared his direct approach to getting whatever he set his eyes on. She combined her mother’s beauty and her father’s energy and spark.
She is attracted to Ashley because of his aristocratic character as Gerald was attracted to Ellen, but like Gerald she is coarse which makes her attractive to Rhett.
Social status: education, wealth, class
Scarlett is from a wealthy plantation family born to an aristocratic mother, Ellen Robillard and her Irish immigrant father, Gerald O’ Hara. The O’ Hara’s , though not aristocratic like the Wilkes, strengthened their social status with efficiently run large plantations, hundreds of well treated slaves, good manners and equality in helping even the lower class like the poor white trash Slatterys.
Positive & Negative attitudes of Scarlett
Plus – Strong, lacks inhibitions, fearless, aspires for material and romantic accomplishment, practical, accepts what comes, commitment towards Ashley and Tara, willing to change with time, determination, rational.
Minus- Boorish, irascible, wild, out of control, mercenary, pretense, given to false love, rude, fails to see goodness in anybody, selfish, unkind, ruthless, unscrupulous, judges by what she sees on the surface and thus misses the inner strength of several of the people in her life, pines over Ashley and fails to notice that Rhett Butler is similar to her, is a perfect match for her, and loves her intensely.
Scarlett possesses enormous strength and is determined not to lose her family plantation, Tara, the one constant love of her life. She triumphs over huge adversity to save it and turn it into a viable farm. During the difficult period of the war and subsequent reconstruction, Scarlett financially supports her family and household, including the Wilkes family.
Her instincts rise up against social restrictions. Her strength first manifests itself in her narcissistic and sometimes backstabbing efforts to excite the admiration of every young man in the neighborhood. Later, under threat of starvation and even death, she is determined to survive and does so by picking cotton, running her entire plantation, forging a successful business, and even killing a man.
Willingness to change with times
Scarlett symbolizes both the Old and New South, and life parallels her to that of the South during the war and Reconstruction period. Her clinging to Ashley represents the Old Southern part of her, whereas her attraction to Rhett represents the New Southern part. Both Scarlett and the South overcome terrible hardships and adapt to the changing times in order to survive. They set aside the Old Southern values of chivalry, the importance of 'good' breeding, integrity and kindness in favor of the New Southern (influenced by the North) values of entrepreneurship, ruthless opportunism and financial success. Scarlett adapts extraordinarily well because her hard, ruthless character finds a match in the nature of the times; Life designed her for this age.
Scarlett is intensely committed to Tara and Ashley. Life respects her commitment to save Tara. Her love and commitment to Tara saves Tara when all the houses , even twelve oaks get burnt by the Yankees. Tara stands unaffected to receive Scarlett who takes the entire responsibility of rebuilding it and carrying the load of it's members.
The power of her commitment towards Tara makes her take extreme decisions easily like offering to be Rhett’s mistress in return for Tara’s tax money. This extent or her readiness to do anything is promptly acknowledged. Life brings Frank Kennedy right in time though Rhett is unable to help her. She instantly decides to marry him to solve her financial criticality.
Likewise Life respects her commitment to Ashley. Her commitment to the promise she made Ashley that she would take care of Melanie, tides her successfully through the trauma of delivering Melanie’s baby single handedly when she has no one to turn to and also in bringing them back to Tara all by herself.
Rhett is Scarlett's love interest and third husband, often publicly shunned for scandalous behavior, sometimes accepted for his charm. He is portrayed as the perfect man's man. He is the dark, dashing and disreputable son of a wealthy old family. Disowned by his family and expelled from Charleston for dishonorable behavior. Rhett is something of an outsider in genteel Southern society. Cynical and brutally honest, he delights in puncturing pomposity and hypocrisy by telling the truth as he sees it, caring little about what others think of him. Most of the time, he refuses to conform to Southern patriotic expectations and is openly contemptuous of them.
Rhett symbolizes the New South, the values of entrepreneurship and ruthless opportunism that the South is forced to adopt under the influence of the North in order to survive the war.
Rhett exhibits specific traits such as being extremely sensible, highly practical, energetic, strong, fun-loving, quick witted, lively, wild, coarse, rebellious, opportunistic, unscrupulous to social values, willful, truthful, possesses human knowledge and vast worldly knowledge, impeccable dress sense, humorous, uncompromisingly well mannered, social but scandalous, willingness to take chances, and also patriotic at some point.
Energy, Strength of Personality and Aspiration
Rhett’s energy is so high and contagious throughout. He is totally nonreactive during the worst Social destruction. Even the strong headed Scarlett feels safe and strong when he is around.
His strength of personality is so original and never fails him. He easily tides over the changing times of the society and is the only one to remain unaffected both during the war and the reconstruction period.
Scarlett is intensely and blindly attracted toward Ashley. Her first expression of her love to Ashley is witnessed by Rhett who responds to her seeking by awakening similar attraction toward Scarlett. His attraction is more of an aspiration more intense and more genuine. He does win Scarlett.
Social status: education, wealth, class
Rhett is from a wealthy family. He has no aristocratic origin, he is a self made man. He acquires wealth by any means – even if it means to risk his life as a blockade runner. The Yankees are after his money, knowing this Rhett befriends them and they treat him well even in jail when no southerner is treated good by the Yankees.
Positive & Negative attitudes of Rhett
Plus – Strong, lacks inhibitions, fearless, wins material comforts effortlessly, aspires for romantic accomplishment ( An urge to conquer Scarlett ), practical, makes the best use of any situation, rational, willing to change with time, sensible, truthful – makes no pretense, well mannered.
Minus- Wild, coarse, rebellious, ruthless, unscrupulous, cynical.
Goodwill and affection
Rhett exhibits goodness and integrity at several instances. Rhett shows flawless affection on Melanie and respects her for her goodness. He exhibits intense kindness toward Melanie. Never at any time has he revealed Melanie about her husband Ashley being the object of attraction to Scarlett. Rhett and Melanie share an uncommon friendship.
Rhett takes real risks to save Ashley from the Shanty town attack inspite of his contempt towards Ashley. He cares nothing for Ashley. He does it just for Melanie. Life gets Rhett to save Ashley for Melanie.
Rhett is generous and helping towards anybody who is in need. Scarlett visits him in the jail, making a demure pretense, to ask for the tax money. Even when Rhett sees through her and finds out her real motive, he refuses to help only because he is unable to be of any help from jail. However, he rushes to Scarlett soon as he is out of jail to ensure that she has gotten the money and to lend her if she has not.
After he marries Scarlett, he agrees to spend on Tara and permits her to spend as much as she wishes to make a rich and bountiful plantation.
Respect for women
Rhett exhibits an extraordinary character when he respects women. This is clear is many instances throughout the story. Rhett respects Melanie above everyone. He does express this truly in his actions.
He attaches so much importance to Mammy even though she is a slave. Rhett aspires to win the respect of Mammy. At his honeymoon in New Orleans, Scarlett gets expensive gifts for all in the family except Mammy whereas Rhett gets Mammy a red petticoat.
Belle Walting runs a brothel house and is not received by anyone in Atlanta. Rhett respects Belle Walting. He says she is a good soul. This becomes true when she saves Ashley and other men during the Shanty town raid.
Rhett sees Scarlett as she is - unmasked. He respects her strength, courage and inner drive to win over difficulties.
Earlier in the story Rhett says he is not a marrying man. Later, he truly wants to marry Scarlett. It is simply because, he wanted her and could not do so by any other means. He hopes she will get over Ashley and start loving him someday.
After Bonnie is born, Rhett’s social behaviour is totally transformed. He strongly feels his child should get the love and reception from every one in the town. For her sake, he seeks to win the respect of everyone.
Rhett is never complaining or brooding over the past (like Ashley). Whether it is war or post war, he remains calm and composed. He is a symbol of light figure. Nothing ever mattered to him except his child Bonnie.
Rhett is true to himself by all means. He sees no reason to make pretense and laughs at those who do so (like Scarlett). He is not ashamed to say that he is a frequent visitor to Belle Walting’s while all men in town consider the mere thought, a high disgrace.
Scarlett and Rhett are both free from considerations of honor and duty and therefore able to think in strictly pragmatic terms about survival. The difference is that Rhett is always honest with himself and others about what is going on.
Rhett is all positive and gentlemanly. This is so great a value that Life rewards him accordingly.
He is not received in his own town , Rhett doesn’t care a bit. He rises to a very high level of material accomplishment to the envy of all.
When the whole Atlanta is burning and Yankees coming in, Rhett steals a horse and carriage to come to the rescue of Scarlett, Melanie and the new born baby. He does this with absolutely no panic or negative thoughts or uncertainty about his accomplishment. This is Life’s response for his positive attitude.
He saves Ashley and other men from the police by proving they were all at Belle’s. But for Rhett and his association with the Yankee officers, all men of would have been doomed. Rhett proves capable and smart again. Life attaches importance and value to him in the midst of all men.
Bonnie Blue Butler
Bonnie is Rhett and Scarlett's child. A favorite of both parents. Like Scarlett, she is headstrong and spoiled, and like Rhett, she is charming. Rhett is devoted to Bonnie and when he is rejected by Scarlett, he pours all his love into the child. He even reinvents himself as a patriotic Democrat and pillar of the community in order to smooth Bonnie's path in Atlanta society. Atlanta switched over to him for the sake of the child but regretted it. Life did not give the sanction to that child
Bonnie's strong will proves fatal, as she demands to be allowed to jump her pony over a dangerously high bar and is thrown to her death. Her death is reminiscent of her grandfather Gerald's, and they die with the same words on their lips - "Watch me take this one!" After Bonnie's death, Rhett and Scarlett's marriage collapse.
Rhett and Scarlett’s hatred of one another and the pent up unhappiness is so strong and intense that their negative energies manifests through the death of the child.
The man Scarlett loves, Melanie's husband. Ashley is a charming gentleman. He stands in contrast to Rhett. He is honorable, cultured, aristocratic, good natured courteous and skilled in the gentlemanly pursuits of the arts, poetry, and riding. After the war, unlike Rhett and Scarlett, he fails to adapt to the changing times and his weaknesses become more obvious. He dreams of the old days, when life had a beauty and grace that has been swept away by the war. Most of the time, his nature is self-pitying. He is a weak person not willing to change with times. In short an irresponsible dreamer.
Scarlett and Melanie share the same intense devotion to Ashley. It is that which brings and keeps them together throughout the war. Ashley returns safe from war. He is protected doubly both by the goodness of Melanie and the strength of Scarlett.
Ashley is a weak person by mind has no energy to survive. He clings to Scarlett and submits to her intentions when she asks him to take over the mill and work for her when he could have strongly refused and made a life on his own.
Ashley is the object of Scarlett’s love and most of Scarlett’s decisions are biased and based on this false love. He is a constant temptation to Scarlett and he lets this go on till the death of his wife Melanie. Ashley represents an unformed weak character. He is unable to be strong and willfull from within like Rhett.
Scarlett and Ashley have little in common, indeed, the qualities she thinks she admires in him are the ones that make her feel contempt for Melanie.
Ashley represents the Old South and those Southerners who yearn for the days before the war. He is unwilling or unable to change with the times and thus is one of those who are "winnowed out" by the war. Ashley sees no compulsion to renounce family and culture and even his attraction to Scarlett’s energy is an expression of the weakness and degeneration of that culture.
Melanie Hamilton Wilkes
Ashley's wife and second cousin, Scarlett's sister-in-law, a true lady. Called "mealy-mouth" by Scarlett, but she quietly has a backbone of steel.
Melanie is full of goodness. She cannot recognize evil in anybody. She is pure, forgiving, sweet-tempered, loving, cheerful and extremely good natured. Melanie is frail and weak on the outer, but has high inner strength and tides through the worst days. She is a genuine and complete personality except for the fact she cannot see bad in anybody but the Yankees.
She is a content person and is never complaining. She aspires to lead a happy life with Ashley. Her childhood is in Atlanta where she and her brother Charles (Scarlett’s first husband) are brought up by their unmarried Aunt Pittypat, a very soft natured person with no knowledge of the life and men outside her home. Charles and Melanie inherit similar qualities of their aunt in being meek, soft and unworldly.
Her strength is her unshakeable devoted love she has on Ashley. When Atlanta is burning and all people fleeing, she delivers a baby. Life provides her with assistance and timely help from the most strong characters Scarlett (she delivers the baby all by herself and takes Melanie and the baby safely back to Tara) and Rhett (he manages to steal a horse and a carriage and drives the ladies and the baby safely till the road to Tara).
She is all the time affectionate, cheerful and positive which Scarlett fails to see. Life always brings them both together in times of great trouble. Life sanctions Melanie, Scarlett’s strength and boldness. In the same way, Life safeguards Scarlett with Melanie’s goodness. They both need each other. Scarlett wants Ashley, but she is forced to take care of the wife of the man she loves.
She is frail to withstand the post war period. Life doesn't get her to live happily with Ashley and her beau after the war ends.
Ashley's sister. Almost engaged to Stuart Tarleton, she bitterly hates Scarlett for stealing his attention before he is killed at the war.
She witnesses Scarlett and Ashley embracing at the lumber yard and gossips about the incident. This causes a split within the Wilkes family, dividing Ashley from and Aunt Pittypat from Melanie, and in the wider society.
Owner of Twelve Oaks Plantation and patriarch of the Wilkes family. He enlists in the army and dies a brave soldier. Scarlett adores him and sees Ashley in him. She awes the grandeur of Twelve Oaks and wishes to be its mistress and the daughter in law of John Wilkes.
Mammy is Scarlett's nurse from birth; a devoted slave. Cited by Rhett as "the real head of the household." Mammy constantly reminds us of the then prevalent customs and culture. She is one force whom Scarlett cannot afford to fool around. Mammy senses every motive of Scarlett. She stands by Scarlett as she stood by her mother Ellen. Mammy adds to the positive force of Melanie and Rhett in providing that untold strength to Scarlett.
Earlier in the story Mammy despises Rhett but Life makes her see goodness in Rhett after Bonnie is born. Mammy depicts the conventions of the era. The South treats the slaves well and Mammy is given so much importance in the O’Hara family as well as in the Butler family. She decides to go with Scarlett to protect her and guard her when Scarlett leaves to Atanta to arrange for Tara's tax money. She stays with Scarlett in all her marriages and tries to protect her from wrong doings. Life continuously backs Scarlett with such good forces.
Gerald is Scarlett's father and the patriarch of the plantation of Tara. He immigrated to America from Ireland after killing an English government agent. He won Tara in a card game and built it up into a successful cotton plantation. Gerald is shrewd, charming and kind-hearted, but he is also headstrong, selfish and refuses to listen to the voices of caution - qualities that Scarlett inherits from him.
He is devoted to his wife, Ellen, and never recovers after her death during the war, descending into a state of senility. Gerald’s grief and madness are not just the result of Ellen’s death. They are the result of the death of the world and the dream in which he lived, the dream of fulfillment he achieved in his life and then saw vanish with the defeat of the Confederacy, the dream of being a slave-based plantation owner in a world of aristocratic prestige and privilege.
He is thrown to his death while jumping his horse over a fence with the cry, "Watch me take this one! Later Bonnie, the granddaughter he never saw, who was like him in every way dies the same way speaking the same words.
Gerald's sudden death and Jonas Wilkerson the former overseer, coming to ask for Tara are simultaneous events. For Gerald, losing Tara means losing his Life. His physical attachment to the land leads to his death. The jump is also a predecessor of the jump that will kill Bonnie.
Scarlett's beloved mother, of aristocratic French ancestry, a true southern lady. She proves to be a highly competent manager at Tara and effortlessly commands the respect and obedience of all the employees and slaves. Dignified, refined, and compassionate, Ellen represents an impossibly high standard for Scarlett to live up to. While Scarlett longs to be "a great lady" like Ellen, she finds herself going against her mother's teachings in the face of the harsh reality of war. Scarlett never resolves this conflict between what she believes Ellen would do and what she herself wants to do.
Ellen always helps the Slatterys in their hour of need. She rushes to nurse Emmie while childbirth and baptises her dead baby. Later when Ellen helps the Slatterys to get over typhoid, contracts the disease from them and dies of it. According to The recipient of help never fails to hurt and Trouble comes to one ONLY from those he has helped, apart from his own folly, Ellen sees death from those whom she has always helped. She dies helping those of low consciousness below her. She had strength to do so during normal times but not when the whole social edifice was crumbling.
Ellen is fully identified with the Old South that died during the Civil War. All her values and upbringing were with the old which is crumbling. She no longer has any place. The war destroyed her social role. It liberated the slaves and left her nothing to act upon.
Scarlett's younger sister, whiny and lazy. She is courted by Frank Kennedy before Scarlett steals him from her.
Scarlett's youngest sister, gentle and kind. She is religious-minded. She falls in love with Brent Tarleton, but when he is killed in the war, she enters a convent in Charleston.
Pork is Gerald's first slave. He is loyal to the O'Haras and chooses to stay with them after the abolition of slavery after the war.
Prissy is the slave daughter of Pork. She is a young, lazy and silly foolish slave who is prone to lying. She falsely tells Scarlett and Dr.Meade that she is skilled in midwifery. When it becomes clear that she was lying, Scarlett has to deliver Melanie's baby herself.
Prissy is the helpless force driving Scarlett to her courage's end. Life associates the dull headed Prissy with Scarlett at such a crucial moment of delivering Melanie's baby. Life forces Scarlett to struggle all by herself in bringing the baby of the man she loved.
Scarlett delivering Melanie’s baby all alone - her first experience to do things by herself is provoked by Prissy.
Big Sam is the foreman at Tara. He saves Scarlett from her attackers in Shantytown.
Scarlett's work on behalf of the servants at Tara comes back as positive response from life through Sam in a negative situation. It is also a result of her willingness to interact with the Yankees.
Melanie's brother, Scarlett's first husband, shy and loving. Charles is a timid and bland young man who makes little impression on Scarlett.
Charles exhibits meek personality. His upbringing is by Aunt Pittypat. His sister Melanie and his aunt are the only women of his life till he sees Scarlett. Charles is intensly fascinated and attracted by Scarlett's charms. He proposes to Scarlett when all men are hurrying to enlist in the army. Scarlett, watching Melanie kissing goodbye to Ashley, responds to Charles in a hasty impulse and very soon they become the new husband and wife. Charles lives in the illusion that Scarlett cares for him, is crying for him as they are married, when she is in fact crying that she cannot have Ashley.
Charles has a short marriage. He falls in the very first year from measles and pneumonia, not even having seen the battle. Scarlett isn't moved even by the news of his death. She never marries out of love. Its only her selfish motive to hurt Ashley and India, which makes her marry Charles. She hardly remembers his face. Life reverses on Scarlett soon after Charles' death.
Frank Kennedy is Scarlett's second husband, whom she marries in order to pay the taxes on Tara.
Scarlett steals Frank away from her sister,hurting her sister Suellen, whom he had been courting for years. She dominates Frank, bullies his inability to run the lumber mill. Frank gives in, realizing he is nothing before her strength. Frank is a kind but weak man whom Scarlett is able to bully into submission to her will. He feels mortified by Scarlett's insistence on running her own businesses during their marriage, but is unable to stand up to her.
Like Charles, Frank has a short married life. He dies for Scarlett. He is killed while taking part in a retribution attack on men who attacked Scarlett.
Belle is a wealthy town prostitute. Rhett is her friend and loyal customer. She has a long-standing relationship with Rhett, who supports her business financially, and when Scarlett denies Rhett any physical relationship, Rhett seeks comfort with Belle. She provides Ashley Wilkes and other men with an alibi for murder after the Shanty town raid.
Belle saves Ashley as a return of goodness to Melanie, who had always accepted her as she is. Melanie responds with sincere gratitude towards Belle and for once she feels elevated in the Atlanta society where no one receives her.
Jonas Wilkerson is the Yankee overseer at Tara. Ellen asks Gerald to fire him after he gets Emmie Slattery pregnant. After the war, Jonas runs the Freedmen's Bureau and marries Emmie Slattery. He raises the taxes on Tara to try to force Scarlett to sell the plantation to him.
Life takes away his baby as well as his job at the same time. He rises and elevates, later in the story when the Yankees win the war. Jonas initially has no intention of marrying Emmie even when he gets her pregnant. But he does so after the war. Life reverses for him and he rises socially to an extent that he is able to come asking for Tara.
Emmie Slattery is a young woman whose poor family lives in the swamp bottom near Tara. The family is looked down upon by the richer neighbors, and even by the slaves, as "white trash." Ellen contracts typhoid while nursing the family through the disease. After the war, Emmie marries Jonas Wilkerson and infuriates Scarlett by turning up at Tara in ostentatious style and offering to buy the place.
Aunt Pittypat is Charles' and Melanie's aunt. She is an old maid who is as helpless as a child and is prone to fainting at the slightest difficulty. Pittypat is so incapable that after the death of Charles and Melanie's parents, the slave Uncle Peter moves into the void and brings up the children himself. Pittypat's helpless character is reflected in her physique.
Effort for Accomplishment
Throughout the story we see accomplishments, high and low. One way or the other Scarlett, Rhett, Melanie, Jonas Wilkerson, Gerald O'Hara, Charles and many others accomplish what they aspired for.
Type of Accomplishment
- Scarlett succeeds her struggle of physical accomplishment. Life sanctions her the survival even in such a tumultuous reconstruction era. When Sherman's troops march into Atlanta, Life forces Scarlett to take up a huge responsibility of saving the sick Melanie, new born baby and the useless Prissy. She manages to brings them back to Tara in a long and awful journey . Tara is unaffected when other houses are burnt. She gets a positive response to her determined travel and is happy that Tara has survived. Very soon she sees more and more appalling realities. She faces them with no excuse. Scarlett's inner strength is stronger than any of the others and takes up the lead in even doing the work of the slaves, just to feed mouths at Tara. She survives, supports her family and the family of the man she loves to tide over the dreadful period in which she is left to survive at the physical level that life has forced her down to. She wins in her maximum effort.
- Rhett is one personality who doesn't let anything affect him, be it war or post war. He is thoroughly positive, very adaptive to the times and makes the best of any period. He even makes money out of the war and the crumbling South. His level of Physical Accomplishment is high and he wins it effortlessly and smartly.
- Melanie stands by Scarlett all through the story. This helps her to survive the war but she is very frail and weak to get over the lost forever happy past days before the war. The destruction of the South and the rich society she grew up unconsciously play within her. Also there is no strong urge in her to fight and win over the humiliating days. Life does not sanction Melanie survival. She dies in labour leaving behind Ashley and her son Beau.
- Gerald and Ellen do not withstand such devastating disintegration of the South. Both of them are not ready to accept the war, to see it fail and to see it collapse. Ellen dies of typhoid and Gerald heartbroken at the happenings around him, loses his mind and sees death when his tired horse stumbles while jumping over a fence. Gerald and Ellen lack the strength of mind to seek survival. Life does'nt give them continued existence.
- Scarlett succeeds her struggle for material accomplishment. Life responds to her strength of will to make money with an intensity of aspiration and energy so high.