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Survival

In: English and Literature

Submitted By lightless
Words 441
Pages 2
Gone with the Wind is a well written novel that takes place in an important time in America’s history. There are four major characters, Rhett, Scarlett, Melanie and Ashley, who has to survive through a catastrophe. Some southern do survive the Civil War and Reconstruction, however others do not. I agree with Leila Gemme. The major theme of the novel is survival. Mitchell has portrayed this by the adaptation of the characters. Scarlett and Rhett are survivors as they learn to adapt to the aftermath of the Civil War and Reconstruction. Scarlett tried to rebuild Tara by working on the plantation. She hopes the cottons and crops will make her become the once affluent lady that she was. However, the plan was futile. After she married Frank Kennedy and learned about business, she immediately seizes the opportunity to get into the lumber trade business. Since the Old Southern society has fallen, Rhett saw this as a chance to make profit and money. “What most people don’t seem to realize is that there is just as much money out of changing a wilderness into a civilization” (Mitchell, 196). Rhett makes load of money by blockading and speculating. Ashley fails to survive the war. When the war ended, he struggles to adapt to the new environment. “God knows he tries his best but he warn’t cut out for farmin’ and he knows it as well as I do” (Mitchell, 648). Even when Scarlett gave him a mill to manage, we see that he is a failure at it. He does not have the audacity to discipline the convict or question the consumer. He is also an incompetent famer that keeps holding onto the past, those once glorious days of plantation life. Melanie has a strong integrity; however she lacks the fortitude that Scarlett possesses. Although Melanie is more adaptable than Ashley, but her placid demeanor and fragile body appears to be difficult for her to alter her briefs for the new society. Similar to Ashley, she is embodied in the good old days of the Old Southern culture and tradition. She contrasts Scarlett and Rhett because she is struck in the past while Scarlett and Rhett has moved on to the future. In conclusion, I agree with Gemme when she stated survival is the major theme of the novel. Scarlett is very determined and strives for an affluent life after the war. Rhett discovers that after the war, it is an opportunity to be prospered. As for Melanie and Ashley, there is no anchor to put them back to the present because they are occupied with their Old Southern values and honors.

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