Gone with the Wind Gone with the Wind discussion


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Did you wish that Bonnie hadn't died?

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message 1: by Sandy (last edited Feb 04, 2014 02:32PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sandy If Bonnie hadn't died, would Rhett stay?


message 2: by Jim (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim Swike Yes, I think it would have changed both parents.


Veronica maybe.


Nora Could Bonny have represented Scarlett's own recklessness, a foreshadowing of the losses to come?


Sandy Nora wrote: "Could Bonny have represented Scarlett's own recklessness, a foreshadowing of the losses to come?"

Good point!


Nancy Wolfe If she lived, it would change the whole story. So, no I do not wish that she had lived.


Catherine Stickann No, I think this event helped steer the action.


Ruth Chatlien Her death was the perfect fruition of character and action. Rhett spoiled her too much because he was projecting all his rejected love for Scarlett onto her. And Scarlett was not an attentive mother. So there was no way for the child to learn restraint and there wasn't anyone--except maybe the aging Mammy--to try to control her from doing headstrong things. Plus, Bonnie was reckless on horseback just as Gerald was, and she died just as he did. The story arc wouldn't have made sense if Bonnie had lived.


Sandi Knapp If Bonny had lived there may have been a chance for Scarlet and Rhett. Rhett wanted Bonny to have her mother. Writers often have to kill off their pretty flowers in order for a story to have meaning or make a point. What i don't understand is why Rhett left. I mean really, didn't he love Scarlet knowing she carried a torch for Ashley, and all her other strong points? What happened to him? Are we to believe that he changed his own ruthless ways because of the death of Bonny. I did not see the change coming. So Scarlet ignored him and drunk and spent gobs of money. He spoiled her and helped hone the monster so to speak. What was the big realization here? It is almost as if he wimped out. In the end Scarlet redeemed herself by saying she loved him. Isn't that what he wanted all along?


message 10: by Ruth (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ruth Chatlien Maybe the end of Rhett's love was like death by a thousand paper cuts instead of one fatal blow.


Sandi Knapp Makes perfect sense to me Ruth!


Mrsbooks Even though Rhett claimed he didn't love her in the end, I don't believe that was true. I think he was afraid to love her. Afraid to believe her.


Sandi Knapp There is no doubt that Rhett loved Scarlet. He saw himself in her. Maybe that was the problem. Scarlet was the mirror that forced him to see the arrogance of his ways. It didn't make sense to me that Rhett would go to war at all. The only reason i can think of that Mitchell would send him was to redeem him in the eyes of the public once Bonny was born. His going to war did not make sense to me. I don't buy his momentary shame at the last minute. He had already seen the sad results of the death toll on the people's faces after they received the casualty list. If Mitchell was going to send him that would have been the time. Even Scarlet didn't buy his last minute attack of conscience. Mitchell had already shown us that Rhett was human. Remember when he was holding little Wade in his lap at the home of Aunt Pitty. He was very good to Scarlet and Miss Melly. However, he had no love for the Old South that had turned him out because he didn't fit the criteria of a gentlemen. Rhett was a practical man who saw through the silly facade of the south and it's proper mannerisms and he rebelled against them. Mitchell would have us believe that deep down he was a southerner in his heart and this is why he chose to fight a hopeless battle. She has him admitting to Scarlet that he was not so proud of himself after all. I don't buy that. After the war was over, he admitted to Scarlet that he made a mistake by going. I don't know what Mitchell was trying to prove here.


message 14: by Mrsbooks (last edited Dec 12, 2013 08:13AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mrsbooks I take a politically neutral stance and find it difficult to understand much about the concept of war. So yeah when Rhett decides to go off and the way he leaves Scarlet to do so, does strike me as odd. Especially since he claims to not care so much about what people think.

However Rhett does care. It's just that we have 2 extremes showing. The ball swings both ways, for war and against the war. People can feel conflicted about the war or just aspects of the war, or things that involve the war. Rhett was an in between.


Sandi Knapp Point taken. Sometimes writers go to far, meaning they are sometimes ambivalent about a character. I think Mitchell was trying to show us that deep down Rhett was a southerner. One thing i have to ask. How did Rhett feel about slavery? I don't think much was said about his feelings. He seemed more concerned with the profit he was making by the fallout of the civilization. Rhett was scorned by society because of he profited from the war. In this day and age he would be looked at Donald Trump. Both Rhett and Scarlet are symbols of the Reconstruction--a more modern era if you will. Ashley and Melly are symbols of the dying ways of the old south. I think Mitchell was very clever in many ways. However, no writer is flawless. It is hard to be consistent when you are playing with so many themes. I love the book though. One of my favorite pieces of literature.


message 16: by Alys (new) - rated it 5 stars

Alys Marchand Rhett defied convention in many ways. He would have been a rather good northerner. His desire to EARN the respect of a black woman in the south indicates a lack of the degree of racism exhibited by the typical southerner. He respected Belle like crazy even though she, by virtue of being a promiscuous woman with a child out of wedlock, would have been seen as nothing more than trash on part with the people in the fields considered to be animals who happened to be able to speak.

Rhett's life was in the south. Had he moved north, he wouldn't have been accepted. By staying in the south, he was stuck either conforming to ideals he didn't hold, or saying screw it all and forever living on the outside anyway. I think he got tired of that.

He loved Scarlett. He knew Scarlett was only using him, and he allowed it because her strong will made him fall in love. He likely would have left if it weren't for Bonnie. But he didn't want his daughter growing up in a divorced home, a social outcast for it. He'd have done anything for her. If Bonnie had lived, he'd have stayed with Scarlett, even after Melanie's death, and then we'd have had a story about a dysfunctional relationship that goes nowhere. But Bonnie dying severed the tie to Scarlett. He no longer had any reason to stay in a relationship that was breaking his heart. He wanted the love of the woman he loved, and he knew he wasn't going to get it.


Sandi Knapp Good points Alys.


Kirby Does anyone remember how old Scarlett was at the end of the book?


Jennifer McGill-Sadera Yes, I agree with that last assessment. I do think that a part of Rhett still loved Scarlett but sometimes love just isn't enough. Deceit, greed and denial take their toll on a relationship. Bonny was all about what made their relationship work: all the childlike wonder and headstrong yearning. When Bonny died, the childlike quality of their bond degenerated to childishness--just petty rivalry, finger-pointing and selfish motives. And I agree with the idea that sometimes writers have to kill off their characters to move the story forward and give it a conclusion that is final and lasting. The saying is, "Where there is life, there is hope." When a character dies, that hope dies too. No reason for false hope that a different ending could occur.


Celia I think they may have stayed married but been married in name only.


Sandi Knapp I believe they did. I would have to re-read, though to confirm it.


Mrsbooks It would have been highly unlikely for them to obtain a divorce during that time period. I think Rhett even says he'll come back often enough to keep the gossip down. Because of that, I feel there would have been a possibility of them getting back together. Scarlet had a "wow moment" after Melanie passed away. Scarlet was starting to grow up. Given enough time I think Rhett would see that.


message 23: by Carole (new) - added it

Carole P. Roman Sandi wrote: "If Bonny had lived there may have been a chance for Scarlet and Rhett. Rhett wanted Bonny to have her mother. Writers often have to kill off their pretty flowers in order for a story to have meanin..."
Rhett loved Scarlett too much to stay and keep getting rejected. When Scarlett got hurt, he waited for her to call for him. He changed after Bonnie was born, he wanted his child to be accepted, and he did dote on her- I agree with the post that said he redirected his love and attention to his child when he was rejected by his wife.


Sandi Knapp That makes sense Carole.


message 25: by zuba (new) - rated it 5 stars

zuba I think Rhett still loves scarlett in the end.. But he respected Melanie and loved her in his own way.. He was very fond of her. So when Melanie asked Scarlett to take care of Ashley her dying wish, Rhett thought he should step aside. His way of thanking Melanie for all that she did for him .. Far fetched but thats what i thought when i read it


Sandi Knapp It makes sense to me. I think Rhett might have been testing Scarlet too to see if she would go after Ashley.


message 27: by [deleted user] (last edited Jan 08, 2014 08:19PM) (new)

Kirby wrote: Does anyone remember how old Scarlett was at the end of the book?


I think I figured it out once... and she was only 28. She packed alotta livin' in those years.

That said, I agree with everyone who said that Rhett loved her dearly. I think Bonnie's death was an important catalyst for both of them (unfortunately, I wish the little girl hadn't had to die). Rhett had to let go of Scarlett; likewise, Scarlett had to grow up. She had a child's puppy love for Ashley and had never been forced out of it. She probably really did love Rhett, but her crush on Ashley had become a comfortable habit that she held onto for dear life as she handled the crushing blows of: war, her parents' deaths, Tara's destruction and her neighbors' difficulties, and a few other things. Grief and distress can do horrible things in people's lives, especially if it isn't dealt with in the right way. And, ah, I doubt that Scarlett was very reflective...

I do believe that Rhett and Scarlett would have gotten back together, but it would've taken a lot of work on Scarlett's part... and, with all due respect to Ms. Alexandra Ripley's other writings, I don't think it would have happened like it did in "Scarlett" (ugh!). I think much more time would have passed.

Edited to add that I agree with ^^Sandi. Absolutely! And I think it would have been a test of time in that regard, too. Also, I guess she does state her age at the end of the book... it's been awhile since I've read... but I did read it roughly 7 times.


Leigh Well, Bonnie's death was a key part of the story. It killed any chance of R&S staying together. I don't think they ever get together again, I think Rhett really and truly is over her and wants to return to the ideals of the old South.


Celia Does anyone think Scarlett can ever really "love" someone? I think what she liked about Ashley is that she could not have him. She "loved" her parents and Mamie but they did things for her.

Is she too selfish to get Rhett back?


message 30: by [deleted user] (new)

She loved Melly, very much against her will. Their friendship definitely became a real relationship before Melanie's passing.


Celia Maybe I will have to reread the book. It was over twenty years ago a red it.


Sandi Knapp I think what everyone is forgetting is that Scarlet was a product of the Old South. She was spoiled, babied and given everything because her father owned a thriving plantation. Yes, she was selfish and self-centered and wanted the one thing she couldn't have and that was Ashley Wilkes. Many people are like Scarlet--even today--the selfish movie star or millionaire, etc. It is my opinion that Scarlet grew into a strong young woman. If not for her Tara would not have survived. Because she was young, she didn't know what she wanted. In her eyes Rhett Butler was the enemy. He represented the hated North and its thriving industry and hatred of slavery. She was also attracted to him as well. It was his sensible nature that forged a bond with her own. Both Rhett and Scarlet were self- centered to a degree. Scarlet could love though and did. She loved her mother, Daddy, Mammy and Tara--and well Ashely, but more for the fact that he was different. I think Scarlet was so attracted to Ashley because he was her polar opposite. Remember, opposites attract. It is my contention that Scarlet has been treated badly by the critics. She has been called self-centered, nasty and even man- like because of her take charge attitude. I admire her because of her strength. Too many women swooned to Rhett Butler's charm. Had Scarlet done that he would not have given her a second look. One has to remember that he was older and more experienced than Scarlet. Scarlet thought she was in love and in her on way she was saving her heart for Ashley Wilkes. Some will say that Scarlet was horrible for marrying Charles out of spite. Scarlet was not much more than a child herself and was acting accordingly. The next time she married was to save Tara. It was her only way. I really don't see an enemy here. The antagonist was the war, and since the war was horrible it changed people in the south forever. As for Ashley, i didn't care for him. He married Melly because of tradition. Melly was safe for him because she was like him and would never challenge him, whereas Scarlet would have. He was just to weak and dreamy in nature to deal with Scarlet's passionate nature. In the end after the death of Melly, Scarlet saw Ashley for what he was and that was a dreamer who had not the constitution to live without someone like him. The only reason he ever went to war was because the idea of saving the south was so ingrained into his ideology. It wasn't because he was brave. He was just doing what was expected of him.


Jennifer McGill-Sadera I think you are right on all counts Sandi! The beauty of this book is that it has so many layers. There is so much to pull from it and your analysis is spot on! I love digging into characters and their motives. And I also love a good, long tale in which the reader really gets a chance to know the characters and can then give in-depth analysis.


message 34: by Taylor (last edited Dec 23, 2013 09:29AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Taylor In reply to:
"What happened to him? Are we to believe that he changed his own ruthless ways because of the death of Bonny. I did not see the change coming. So Scarlet ignored him and drunk and spent gobs of money. He spoiled her and helped hone the monster so to speak. What was the big realization here? It is almost as if he wimped out. In the end Scarlet redeemed herself by saying she loved him. Isn't that what he wanted all along?"

As we all agree that Rhett and Scarlet are so much alike, I personally think that his retreat was more "escaping" the problem. Almost as if that by abandoning her in that home, since she robbed him of his happiness, he would escape himself and the constant reminders of their "silly" ways (ie-mass spending, spoiling Bonnie, neglect etc.)
It was definitely an action done out of his stubborn attitude. Do not expect Rhett to be walked over!

I don't think Scarlet was redeemed at all by admitting that she loved him because the realization and admittance came too late. She knew he loved her all along, so why surcome to it now? I think Rhett had always been one constant in her life (alongside Tara, he was always there in some way) and so when he walked out on her, as he had never done so dramatically before, her feelings may have been amplified with the loss of Bonnie... ultimately, she was just doing it to survive although maybe honestly this time unlike with her previous husbands.

I agree that Bonnie is a metaphor for their child-like ways and the "destruction of the flower", as mentioned above. But, I also find it an interesting parallel too, because she never did care for any of her children. So, to me, Bonnie's death could also be synonymous with the perpetual death of Rhett's love for Scarlet; making her admittance of love a last ditch attempt to try and save herself... like i mentioned.

I am a big fan of Scarlet; she is a survivor. I *like* her selfishness and ruthlessness. I do think that Rhett would understand this, but I also believe it would remain a harrowing love story and that she would have a very hard time winning him back in the end. There would have to be a long separation and thought from both of the characters.
Anyways, I think it was essential for Bonnie to die. Maybe Mitchell endowed Scarlet with such a strong detachment from her children for this reason? After all, she DID write the ending first.

Whatever the reason, Scarlet's children are obvious literary devices and hold no weight with her.


message 35: by [deleted user] (new)

Sandi - I completely agree with you. :) You put what I wanted to say so eloquently. Perfect!


Sandi Knapp Thank you, Elizabeth. I try. lol


Sandy Kirby wrote: "Does anyone remember how old Scarlett was at the end of the book?"

The last chapter:
“How old are you, my dear? You never would tell me.”
“Twenty-eight,” she answered dully, muffled in the handkerchief.


Harold Anite Rhett was shattered by the death of Bonny, and he was running away to be alone with his Grief, he had nothing left, all busted up, all his arrogance gone, no longer sure of anything, probably believing that Bonny was taken away because of his Sins, the biggest one being Pride.
Rhett had no time for any of the pleasures of life, he went off to find deeper answers, and maybe in the long run make his peace with God.


Lorraine Loveit Yes, it would have been better if her life hung in the balance, but in the end she pulled through.


Harold Anite It does seem that Bonny in many ways is a Metaphor for the Old South, Rhett wanted to Create in her the perfect southern Lady, he was still clinging to all the old ideas's of the Old South, in many ways he and the other characters were in denial, in the back of their minds their was a distant hope that the South would rise again.
Her death is symbolic that the old ways and ideas were gone forever-Gone with the Wind.


message 41: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary Kirby wrote: "Does anyone remember how old Scarlett was at the end of the book?"

I think 29.


message 42: by Erin (new) - rated it 5 stars

Erin I think Scarlett was jealous. Rhett and Bonnie could freely give and receive love. Scarlett was aging, and she didn't get to have the fantasy life she had created in her head. Ashley, first love, a fantasy. I think she resented Bonnie who could still have a shot at the fantasy life she never had. The horses. I think Scarlett loved Rhett, but didn't know what real love was, and took a long time realizing what reality was. The Old South itself was a fantasy life. People all over the place live in fantasy lives every day. I think Scarlett was disconnected from the real world, then sh*t got real, and she just took it one day at a time, no time to ruminate. The most disturbing thing about Bonnie's death is Scarlett's indifference and reticence, but it displays that even though she stomped her way through the complete destruction of South, she lived day by day, holding onto that fantasy, and she was strong. Bonnie had to die. I don't want to think about what that book would be like if it continued on and Bonnie lived, and how completely evil Scarlett would become, and I don't think that's the character Mitchell wanted to leave us with. So, Bonnie died. By the end of the book, Scarlett realizes she loves Rhett, of course. In my opinion, the Old South dies with Scarlett's feet hitting the ground. Unfortunately, that day, Rhett didn't give a damn.

But she'll think of it tomorrow, at Tara. She can stand it then. Tomorrow, she'll think of some way to get him back. After all, tomorrow is another day.

And I think she did.


Catherine Byrne Sandy wrote: "If Bonny hadn't died, would Rhett stay?"

Yes. He doted on her.


Catherine Byrne Mrsbooks wrote: "Even though Rhett claimed he didn't love her in the end, I don't believe that was true. I think he was afraid to love her. Afraid to believe her."

I agree with you. He had reached the end of his rope.


Alexandra Alexyna Honestly i didn't felt bad that Bonny died . I meen Rhett would have stayed , Scarlett woun't have change . I felt bad for the suffering of Rhett but in Scharlett the continuing of this book we find a more mature Scarlett , a difrent scarlett and i think that we wouldn't have find that if Bonny would have survived


message 46: by Mariana (last edited Feb 04, 2014 01:08PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mariana Whyy is everyone writing her name, "Bonny,"?? It's BONNIE. As for the topic, I felt bad. I feel like the obvious signs of their marriage falling apart were starting to show after she died. Rhett was absolutely devastated; and Scarlett too, only she wasn't as attached to Bonnie as Rhett was.


Mariana Erin wrote: "I think Scarlett was jealous. Rhett and Bonnie could freely give and receive love. Scarlett was aging, and she didn't get to have the fantasy life she had created in her head. Ashley, first love, a..."

That was beautiful. I couldn't have said it better myself.


Sandy Mariana wrote: "Whyy is everyone writing her name, "Bonny,"?? It's BONNIE. As for the topic, I felt bad. I feel like the obvious signs of their marriage falling apart were starting to show after she died. Rhett wa..."

Sorry Mariana, my fault. :)
You are right, it's Bonnie. Thanks for the reminder.


message 49: by Peg (new) - rated it 4 stars

Peg We cannot rewrite "Gone with the Wind", just as we cannot rewrite life. Rhett knew he could not change Scarlett, even though he loved her, he could not live with her. She was completely in love with Ashley. Bonnie's life and death finally convinced him of that fact. It is more courageous to walk away than to live a life with a love that can never be his.


Vanessa  Eden Patton I hated that Bonnie had died because it was in the end all Scarlett and Rhett had in common. I was always angered by how inattentive Scarlett was to Wade and Bonnie. Had it not been for Melanie Wade wouldn't have had a mother and if not for Rhett Bonnie wouldn't have had much of an upbringing.
Someone posted that Rhett was afraid to love Scarlett...well said and I couldn't agree more.


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