Gone with the Wind, first published in 1936, is a romance novel written by Margaret Mitchell, who received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for the book in 1937. The story is set in Clayton County, Georgia and Atlanta during the American Civil War and Reconstruction, and depicts the experiences of Scarlett O'Hara, the spoiled daughter of a well-to-do plantation owner, who must use every means at her disposal to come out of the poverty she finds herself in after Sherman's March to the Sea. The book is the source of the 1939 film of the same name. Margaret Mitchell began writing Gone with the Wind in 1926 to pass the time while recovering from an auto-crash injury that refused to heal. In April 1935, Harold Latham of Macmillan, an editor who was looking for new fiction, read what she had written and saw that it could be a best-seller. After Latham agreed to publish the book, Mitchell worked for another six months checking the historical references, and rewrote the opening chapter several times. Mitchell and her husband John Marsh, a copy editor by trade, edited the final version of the novel. Mitchell wrote the book's final moments first, and then wrote the events that lead up to it. As to what became of her star-crossed lovers, Rhett and Scarlett, after the novel ended, Mitchell did not know, and said, "For all I know, Rhett may have found someone else who was less difficult." Gone with the Wind is the only novel by Mitchell published during her lifetime. Title
The author tentatively titled the book Tomorrow is Another Day, from its last line. Other proposed titles included Bugles Sang True, Not in Our Stars, and Tote the Weary Load. The title Mitchell finally chose is from the first line of the third stanza of the poem Non Sum Qualis Eram Bonae sub Regno Cynarae by Ernest Dowson: I have forgot much, Cynara! gone with the wind,
Flung roses, roses riotously with the throng,
Dancing, to put thy pale, lost lilies out of mind...
Scarlett O'Hara uses the title phrase when she wonders to herself if her home on a plantation called "Tara" is still standing or if it is "gone with the wind which had swept through Georgia." In a general sense, the title is a metaphor for the departure of a way of life that existed in the South prior to the Civil War. When taken in the context of Dowson's poem about "Cynara", the phrase "gone with the wind" alludes to erotic loss. The poem expresses the regrets of someone who has lost his passionate feelings for his "old passion", Cynara. Plot discussion
Margaret Mitchell arranged Gone with the Wind chronologically, basing it on the life and experiences of the main character, Scarlett O'Hara, as she grew from adolescence into adulthood. (During the time span of the novel, from 1861 to 1873, Scarlett ages from sixteen to twenty-eight years.) The literary technique applied in telling the story is Bildungsroman, which is a type of novel concerned with the moral and psychological growth of the protagonist. The growth and education of Scarlett O'Hara is influenced by the events of her time. Mitchell used a smooth linear narrative structure. The novel is known for its "readability". The plot is rich with vivid characters. Slavery
Slavery in Gone with the Wind is a backdrop to a story that is essentially about other things. Southern plantation fiction (also known as Anti-Tom literature) from the early 19th century culminating in Gone with the Wind is written from the perspective and values of the slaveholder and tends to present slaves as docile and happy. The slaves depicted in Gone with the Wind are primarily loyal house servants, such as Mammy, Pork, Prissy, and Uncle Peter, and these slaves stay on with their masters even after the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 sets them free. The field slaves, among them the foreman, Big Sam, leave the Tara plantation without any apparent hesitation. James Stirling, a British...