These notes were contributed by members of the GradeSaver community.
We are thankful of their contributions and encourage you to make your own.
Written by Timothy Sexton, Aleksei Marchyn
“Scarlett O'Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.”
The opening line of the novel provides insight into the real power that Scarlett O’Hara will wield over men. That power comes not from being the most beautiful woman in Dixie, but from knowing how to manipulate them. Of course, the author gives that power of manipulation the much less negative connotation of “charm” but make no mistake: for Scarlett O’Hara, charm simply means knowing how to get men to do exactly what she wants.
“Scarlett wanted very much to be like her mother. The only difficulty was that by being just and truthful and tender and unselfish, one missed most of the joys of life, and certainly many beaux.”
It is important to realize that though Scarlett may be the single most manipulative Southern belle in Dixie, she is not necessarily the most malevolent designing woman there. If Scarlett could figure out a way to get what she wants through being less selfish and demanding, she would almost certainly be as popular among woman as she is with the men. The difference is not what she wants, but how she gets what she wants.
“A born artilleryman, a brave soldier, and an uncompromising gentleman.”
Rhett Butler’s commanding officer provides the most honest and least emotionally entangled description of Rhett Butler in the entire book. That whole scoundrel thing is just a front; in reality, Rhett Butler is about as much anti-hero as Han Solo.
“…as helpless as a turtle on his back.”
As intelligent and capable of seeing through the core of truth as Scarlett O’Hara is, she’s got one immense blind spot over her eyes when it comes to Ashley Wilkes. Everybody else seems capable of realizing that Ashley could never be enough man for Scarlett. Even one of the precious few women capable of intimidating Scarlett cannot penetrate through that dark hole and show Scarlett the light by suggesting that her beloved is nothing than an amphibian incapable of turning itself over. Alas, it will take until practically the very last page of the book before the veil is finally lifted. And by then, of course, it is too late.
"I do not know what the future will bring, but it cannot be as beautiful or as satisfying as the past."
Here’s another problem with Ashley: he is stuck in a past whose time has finally come. Of course, one can equally apply Ashley’s perspective toward the entire book as a theme. The portrait of the slave-owning South presented by Mitchell never existed; it is a rose-colored as Ashley’s remembrance, but at least Ashley’s nostalgic is tempered by being on the preferable side of the owner/slave equation.
"Why all we have is cotton and slaves and arrogance. They'd lick us in a month."
Well, actually, it took longer than a month. But mostly because they had probably the worst general in the history of the military in charge for far too long. But Rhett is proven right on more important details than the timeline. The South was doomed to lose to the North and a great deal of that predetermined failure could certainly be laid at the feet of a society that could afford to be philosophical about the past like Ashley because all their work was being done by unpaid labor. What is strangely missing from Rhett’s decidedly unpopular viewpoint among fellow Southerners is an adequate explanation for Northerners about just exactly what those in the South had to be arrogant about.
"I'm going to live through this, and when it's over, I'm never going to be hungry again. No, nor any of my folks. If I have to steal or kill—as God is my witness, I'm never going to be hungry again."
This is the turning point of the novel and the turning point for Scarlett. The war is almost over and the South as she knew it is done for. The aristocratic life of privilege that Scarlett enjoyed is…well…gone with the wind. That does not mean, by any stretch of the imagination, however, that Scarlett’s enjoyment of a life privilege is over. It just means she now has to actually work for it. And going hungry when you never had to face not having food can enact remarkable changes in one’s character.
"There are things more important now than plowing, Sugar. And scaring the darkies and teaching the Scallawags a lesson is one of them. As long as there are fine boys like Tony left, I guess we won't need to worry about the South too much.”
The “fine boy” that Frank references here is one of the many young men who saw the end of the Confederacy as particularly unfair to them. Why, they had barely even grown old enough to get the chance to whip their slaves take sexual liberties with the female slaves and here it was being taken away from them. Frank’s contention that the South would not need to worry too much is based on the concerted effort to get back as much power as possible once the devilishness of Reconstruction policies could be gotten rid of. The descendants of Tony in real life would fill the ranks of the KKK, become police officers enforcing Jim Crow laws and become the politicians who legislated the South as close to its antebellum states as they could get it.
"He never really existed at all, except in my imagination. I loved something I made up, something that's just as dead as Melly is, I made a suit of pretty clothes and fell in love with it."
Well, it took nearly the book, but Scarlett opens her eyes where Ashley Wilkes is concerned. Why it took such an intelligent woman to figure out the biggest mistake of her own life is anyone’s guess and one of the biggest mysteries in the history of American literature.
“It was built by slave labor… He had done it all, little, hard-headed, blustering Gerald.”
The “it” in question here is Tara, the plantation home of the O’Haras. The “Gerald” in question is the patriarch of the O’Hara family, Scarlett’s beloved father. The “…” in between the two quotes is a detail description of the plantation upon which Tara sits…and which it would appear not only had not been done all by Gerald, but had predominantly been done by slave labor. So, in essence, Gone with the Wind also becomes a meditation on the value of the worker in an economic system based on pure, unregulated capitalism.
“Wilkerson and Hilton furthermore told the negroes they were as good as the whites in every way and soon white and negro marriages would be permitted, soon the estates of their former owners would be divided and every negro would be given forty acres and a mule for his own."
What is important about this quote from the narrator—Margaret Mitchell, the author of the novel—is that this information is not being offered in a way that presents Wilkerson and Hilton in a positive light. In fact, Wilkerson and Hilton can be summed up fairly accurately as two of the novel’s bigger villains.
“She could get Rhett back. She knew she could. There had never been a man she couldn't get, once she set her mind upon him.”
After finally realizing that Ashley Wilkes is a dud, Scarlett loses Rhett. Now, she suddenly discovers how much she wants Rhett. It is quite possible that Scarlett suffers from some serious personality disorder. She only seems to want what she can’t get and doesn’t seem to appreciate what she’s got even after working hard to get it.
“People must do what they must do. We all don't think alike or act alike and it's wrong to–to judge others by ourselves.”
Melanie is really good and honest, gentle and loving heroine of this story. She always trusts everybody and her words confirm her kindness. She insists on being the individual and having the divergent preferences. She wants to say that people are different. We shouldn’t judge people according to their behavior, character, relationships and clothes. Everybody has own opinion and choice. Maybe she wants to prove that if we were very much alike, our life would be boring and every past day would be useless. We always can hear the proverb „Tastes differ”. This means that each person has own kind of tastes. It depends on age, the place of living, the environmental and the culture. We shouldn’t be like a grey mass.
"You've been brave so long, Miss Scarlett. You've just got to go on being brave.”
The author wants to show us how Mammy tries to support Scarlett. Scarlett doesn’t have money and she presents Pork with the father's gold watch. She is really disappointed and we can see how Mammy soothes her. Her words inform us to be brave and never give up. Despite the difficult situation, you always should be strong. There are many stories and life situations, when people are hopeless and think that this is the end. But one can always have a person (it can be a friend or a member of family), who always supports, doesn’t allow to lose carriage like Mammy doesn’t allow Scarlett. These words prove that every person should score success if he or she has a life goal. We should solve problems on our way, because it makes us stronger and more courageous.
Update this section!
You can help us out by revising, improving and updating