Gone with the Wind

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Gone with the Wind, first published in May 1936, is a romantic novel written by Margaret Mitchell that won the Pulitzer Prize in 1937. The story is set in Clayton County, Georgia and Atlanta during the American Civil War and Reconstruction[1] and depicts the experiences of Scarlett O'Hara, the spoiled daughter of a well-to-do plantation owner. The novel is the source of the extremely popular 1939 film of the same name.

Contents

Title

The title is taken from the first line of the third stanza of the poem Non Sum Qualis eram Bonae Sub Regno Cynarae[2] by Ernest Dowson: "I have forgot much, Cynara! gone with the wind." The novel's protagonist, Scarlett O'Hara, also uses the title phrase in a line in the book: when her home area is overtaken by the Yankees, she wonders to herself if her home, a plantation called Tara, is still standing, or if it was "also gone with the wind which had swept through Georgia." More generally, the title has been interpreted as referring to the entire way of life of the antebellum South as having "Gone with the Wind." The prologue of the movie refers to the old way of life in the South as "gone with the wind…."

The title for the novel was a problem for Mitchell. She initially titled the book "Pansy," the original name for the character of Scarlett O'Hara. Although never seriously considered, the title "Pansy" was dropped once MacMillan persuaded Mitchell to rename the main character. Other proposed titles included "Tote the Weary Load" and "Tomorrow is Another Day," the latter taken from the last line in the book; however, the publisher noted that there were several books close to the same title at the time, so Mitchell was asked to find another title. She chose "Gone with the Wind."

Plot

Margaret Mitchell penned "Gone with the Wind" in a linear fashion, basing it on the life and experiences of the main character, Scarlett O'Hara, as she grew from a young woman into the responsibilities of adulthood. Mitchell did not make use of sub-plots, memory flashbacks or dream sequences to enhance the storyline or reveal the past. Instead, the plot follows a historically accurate account of the times, beginning in the enchanted world of "Tara," and continuing through its demise. Notably, Mitchell almost entirely skipped over the subject of the morality of slavery or whether the South was justified in pursuing war against the North, preferring to allow the reader to decide these issues, based upon the actions or inaction of the novel's characters.

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