Setting (time): 1861–early 1870s.
Setting (place): Atlanta; Tara, the O’Hara plantation in northern Georgia. •
Major conflict: Scarlett struggles to find love, trying out Ashley Wilkes and Rhett Butler, while simultaneously trying to adjust to the changing face of the South. •
Rising action: Scarlett confesses her love to Ashley; Scarlett marries Rhett; Scarlett and Ashley embrace. •
Climax: Bonnie dies while horseback riding, breaking the tie that binds Rhett and Scarlett. •
Falling action: Scarlett falls down the stairs and miscarries; Rhett tells Melanie of his love for Scarlett; Melanie dies; Scarlett realizes that she loves Rhett, not Ashley; Rhett abandons Scarlett. Characters:
Determination defines Scarlett and drives her to achieve everything she desires by any means necessary. This determination first manifests itself in her narcissistic and sometimes backstabbing efforts to excite the admiration of every young man in the neighborhood. Later, she is determined to survive and does so by picking cotton, running her entire plantation, forging a successful business, and even killing a man. Scarlett possesses remarkable talent for business and leadership. Despite her intelligence, however, she has almost no ability to understand the motivations and feelings of herself or others. Scarlett lives her life rationally: she decides what constitutes success, finds the most effective means to succeed, and does not consider concepts like honor and kindness. She often professes to see no other choices than the ones she makes. Rhett Butler
Rhett Butler brings excitement to Scarlett’s life and encourages her impulse to change and succeed. Rhett, like Scarlett, goes after what he wants and refuses to take ‘no’ for an answer. He earns his fortune through professional gambling, wartime blockade-running, and food speculation. Rhett’s character is partially motivated by emotion. Rhett falls in love with Scarlett, but, despite their...
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