This novel is unlike any I have ever read. It is a story of survival and sorrow. It shows triumph over tragedy as well as tragedy over triumph. The way that Margaret Mitchell brings the Old South to life through these pages is, undoubtedly, the best of all time. The novel is captivating in all its aspects. This story takes place right before, duration of, and the Restoration through, the Civil War. The story itself is centered on a southern belle named Scarlett O’Hara.
At the very beginning of the book Scarlett is a sixteen year old child that dreams only of a life of love and luxury. She is obsessed with a southern gentleman named Ashley Wilkes. He however, does not feel the depth of love he has for Scarlett is enough to break his engagement with his then fiancée, Melanie Hamilton. Ashley and Melanie are truly in love. Because of this Scarlett hates Melanie. There is another man who comes into the story named Rhett Butler. When Scarlett professed her love for Ashley Rhett was lying down on a couch unseen. He makes his presence be known to Scarlett after Ashley rejected her and slapped him across the face. It is through this problem of love that the story begins to take off in a strong, yet uncertain way. To try and makes Ashley jealous, Scarlett marries Melanie’s brother, Charles. This in turn, had no real effect on Ashley. Scarlett felt trapped. However she has a son and becomes a widow before the age of twenty.
Scarlett is forced into a period of mourning. Although she is crying on the outside no one knows she is truly crying on the inside because she can’t go to any parties or wear any colors. When she appears in public at a bazaar held for the Cause, Rhett Butler bids on her to be able to dance with her. Both Rhett and Scarlett shock the Confederacy by dancing together almost the entire night. This begins to darken her reputation as a lady in Confederate society. Scarlett also receives Rhett as a visitor in her Aunt Pittypat’s house. Scarlett has an attraction toward Rhett. It is one that goes far down into the roots of her soul. They both subconsciously love each other. But during this period of time Scarlett also still longed for Ashley. It makes Rhett extremely jealous and angry.
The Civil War reached its peak while Scarlett was in Atlanta. She was staying in her Aunt Pittypat’s house on Peachtree Street. Melanie happened to live there to. Scarlett planned it that way so she could be closer to Ashley. She thought that if the military sent him back home she had the chance of having more time with him. In the mail Melanie received word that Ashley was granted leave time from the military at Christmas time. On the morning Ashley was leaving to go back to the war, Scarlett encountered Ashley once again. This time she made a promise to Ashley that she would look after Melanie while he is away. Within a few months later it was made known that Melanie was pregnant. Scarlett has to fulfill her promise to Ashley and in doing so seals her fate and goes through practical hell. Scarlett sees a soldier and asks him what to do and if the Yankee’s are coming to Atlanta. She discovers that the Yankee’s are in fact on their way and to refugee as far south as she can for the time being.
Upon hearing this news Scarlett immediately decides that they all must leave for Tara. As Scarlett enters Melanie’s bedroom she sees that Melanie is in labor. Scarlett helps deliver Melanie’s baby and then Scarlett sends her hand maid, Prissy, to Rhett for a horse and carriage so that they can leave for Tara. After a dangerous and chaotic ride to the crossroads of Tara Rhett leaves Scarlett and goes to join the army. She becomes infuriated and slaps him in the face when he forcibly and passionately kisses her goodbye. When Scarlett arrives at Tara with Melanie and her baby and Prissy she finds out that her mother is...