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Written by Emily Smith
Scarlett O' Hara
Scarlett is the imperfect heroine that is modeled after the Author, Margaret Mitchell. She is the model of the southern belle who enjoys attention, trouble, and gossip. She is the center of attention often, and she could have nearly any beau in the community. She is in love with Ashley Wilkes throughout the majority of the novel. She grows up on a plantation in Georgia, named Tara, that influences many of her actions throughout the story. During and after the war, hard times fall on Tara and she becomes the main caregiver for her family. Her mother is dead, and her father is senile, and she is left to care for Tara. She employs all methods possible to ensure the longevity of their Tara. She does not want the “carpetbaggers” of the North to take the last vestiges of the Old South from her and those she loves. She clings to men through her struggles to help her keep Tara in her control. Ultimately, her husband’s help her keep Tara in her control, but this obsession comes at a cost.
Rhett is an older man at the time of the novel. He is portrayed as a quick-witted blockade-runner who made his money through opportunity. He is from Charleston, so he understands the customs of the Old South. He believes that this way of life is ending quickly, and it does. He has a poor reputation of being a scoundrel. But, when Scarlett needs him to help pay the mortgage on Tara, he becomes her third husband. He falls in love with Scarlett very early in the book, but his pride does not allow him to recognize Scarlett's version of love.
The representation of the Southern Gentlemen, at he beginning of the war, Ashley is lead by duty. Hiss duty to 12 Oaks, to his family, and to the Confederacy. He is the only man represented that is not excited to leave for war. He is realistic and rational. He comes home from the war, having seen massive amounts of death, to regret not marrying Scarlett. He is changed by the carnage and becomes a shell of his original self. He remains dedicated to what he sees as just, and eventually dies for it. He shows how the south is defeated.
Melanie Hamilton Wilkes
Melanie is possibly one of the strongest characters in the novel. She is the wife of Ashley, and she also represents the fate of the south. Before the war she incites jealousy in Scarlett. She is chosen by Ashley over Scarlett, who is supposed to be the best in town. She is a depiction of the south being strong and resilient. She is brought closer to Scarlett through the war. They become comrades and Scarlett's jealousy wanes.
Mammy is an older black slave who has served the O'Hara family for generation. She is the nurse maid to Scarlett's mother She is the most prominent slave in the story. She is shown to be well kept and happy with her station. She stays after the war. Her character maintains some of the traditions of the Old South.
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