Table of Contents | Message Board | Downloadable/Printable Version
KEY/IMPORTANT FACTS SUMMARY
Title: Gone With the Wind
Author: Margaret Mitchell
Date Published: 1936
Meaning of the Title: Taken from an Ernest Dowson poem, "Cynara". She chose the line because: "it had the far away, faintly sad sound I wanted."
Last night, ah, yesternight, betwixt her lips
All night upon mine heart I felt her warm heart beat,
I have forgot much, Cynara! gone with the wind,
Ernest Dowson, 1896
Setting: Atlanta, Georgia during the Civil War period; Tara, a plantation in Georgia.
Genre: Novel (Romance, Historical Fiction)
Narrator: Anonymous, third person omniscient.
Protagonist: Scarlett O'Hara
Antagonist: The society of Atlanta and Rhett Butler
Point of View: Mainly omniscient following Scarlett's perspective, but switches to following the other characters where necessary. Historical sections are in an objective third point, clearly the voice of the narrator as she explains things the characters would not have known.
Primary Conflict: Scarlett vs. Society; Scarlett vs. Rhett
Rising Action: Scarlett is in love with Ashley, She marries Rhett.
Climax: Rhett thinks that Scarlett is still chasing Ashley. They sleep together a last time resulting in a pregnancy and miscarriage.
Outcome: Little Bonnie dies after falling from her pony. He returns to his former drinking habits. Rhett gives up on Scarlett thinking she will return to Ashley, He leaves her. Scarlett returns to Tara and from there she'll try to figure out a way to get him back.
Falling Action: Bonnie dies; Melanie dies; Scarlett has a miscarriage; Rhett gives up on Scarlett while Scarlett realizes she loves Rhett, not Ashley.
Major Themes: Love of Money, Fantasy versus reality, Loss and Change, Survival.
Minor Themes: Attitudes toward slavery, Idealism of the south, Poverty and dignity, Oppression of women.
Symbols/Motifs: The lumber mills, Tara, Aunt Pittypat's house, Ashley and Rhett, Mammy, Pork and Old Sam, Scarlett and Melanie.