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History Group Reads > Gone With The Wind: Overall (Potential Spoilers!)

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message 1: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments Feel free to discuss anything about the book in this thread. If you (and others) are here, you (and they) have finished the book, so don't worry about posting spoilers. If you haven't finished the book, you may not want to read anything here yet!


message 2: by Mandy (new)

Mandy Moody | 544 comments I finished the book this morning. This was my 4th time through it, I think. I got more out of it this time than I ever had before. The war and the background politics during reconstruction were far more interesting this time to me. I hope that doesn't mean I'm growing up!

I talked about posting some book club questions on the 'Overall' thread of each book. Not sure if anyone is really interested in answering them, but I thought GWTW would be a fun one, since so many of us have read it multiple times.
I chose 4 questions - one each about Melanie, Ashley, Rhett and Scarlett herself.

1. After finally finding a moment alone with each other, Scarlett and Ashley declare their love, but Scarlett admits "they were like two people talking in different languages." Were they ever really in love, or do they just admire each other greatly? And if Ashley does love Scarlett, why doesn't he stop her from offering herself to Rhett in exchange for the money to pay off the taxes?

2. After Scarlett kills the Yankee soldier, Melanie immediately helps to dispose of the body. This causes Scarlett to admire (for the first time) her "thin flashing blade of unbreakable steel."
Would you describe Melanie as strong or weak? Does she know about Scarlett and Ashley's feelings for each other? If so, why does she remain so loyal to Scarlett?

3. The novel ends with Rhett rejecting Scarlett's love and her thinking "tomorrow is another day". Is this another example of Scarlett refusing to quit, or does she really believe she'll win him back? Do you think he's truly fallen out of love, or will Rhett return to Scarlett?

4. When the war leaves them all poor, Scarlett cannot believe that so many respectable families "still think, in spit of everything, that nothing really dreadful can happen to any of them because they are who they are"
Do you agree that the former aristocrats remain the same, or as Ashley describes it, are "in a state of suspended animation"? If so, why do you think this is? What makes Scarlett different? Does she still care what they think of her?


message 3: by Mandy (new)

Mandy Moody | 544 comments Answering my own questions...because someone should!

1. "Were they ever really in love, or do they just admire each other greatly?"
I don't believe Scarlett and Ashley ever really love each other. Scarlett admits at the end that she "made a suit of clothes and put Ashley in it" - and I think that's exactly what she did. Ashley came riding into her life (literally) with his golden hair and his perfect manners and she was swept away by what she saw, not by who he actually was. The awful thing is that it took SO long for her to realize that. I wonder if the war hadn't taken Ashley away from her if she'd have realized it sooner. The war lent a romanticism to everything that wasn't war - I think that fed into her Ashley-obsession.
His "love" for her was obviously mostly lust. Scarlett was beautiful, vibrant and outgoing - shy, quiet men have always admired those qualities in women. Of course he called it love - his "honor" wouldn't let him admit to himself that he just wanted to do her, lol.
I do believe that Scarlett admires Ashley for his manners and his propriety. As someone else said, he is the male equivalent of her mother. And I believe that Ashley admired Scalett's ability to adapt and to succeed, no matter what. Still, admiration isn't love.

2. "Would you describe Melanie as strong or weak?"
I think Melanie is very strong. Her strength is very different from Scarlett's, though. Where Scarlett's strength comes from doing what it takes to survive, Melly's comes from an unbreakable belief. In the people she loves, in the confederacy, in her way of life. She's willing to defend those things no matter what.
I don't think she knows about Scarlett and Ashley - I think she just sees the good in everyone around her no matter what. She seems to think that Scarlett shows only sisterly concern for Ashley. Melanie attributes her own sense of honor to everyone she knows.
Melly's one of my favorite characters. The way she loves people is very admirable to me.

More later, maybe. These questions take lots of time to answer!


message 4: by Robin (last edited Jul 23, 2009 08:42AM) (new)

Robin | 298 comments 1. I don't think they really "loved" each other. As you mentioned Mandy, Scarlett managed to fit Ashley into this ideal of what she THOUGHT she wanted in a man (though what she really wanted was a man like...hmm...Rhett!) and then doggedly stuck to her idea that she was in love with him. Ashley I think cared for her as a friend and most certainly lusted after her, but I think that's about as far as it went for him. I think his constant talk of "honor" was his way of trying not to admit to himself that he just wanted to do her.

3. I think at the end its a combo of Scarlett refusing to quit and thinking that she will be able to win him back. She is a very determined person when she sets her mind to something (look how long she clung to the idea that she loved Ashley). As for Rhett, I think at that point he was just a bit fed up with her childishness and wouldn't believe at that point that she was FINALLY over Ashley (I can't say as I blame him for doubting it, as he tells her, she put on a pretty good show of it up to that point). I don't think he no longer loved her, but needed to get away, possibly to give Scarlett time to prove that she was indeed over Ashley. Rhett's love for Scarlett lasted through a lot and I don't think it was gone at the end. Though of course, her stubbornness could have killed it in the end, but I don't think that is the case. Rhett is like Scarlett, determined and not one to give up.


message 5: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (violaashford) | 10 comments I've read this book many times too. I think that Ashley and Scarlett were infatuated with each other, but couldn't tell that they weren't suited. The scene which shows their fundamental differences is the one in which Scarlett wants Ashley to run away with her but he won't.

I'll try to answer the other questions soon!


message 6: by Sara W (new)

Sara W (sarawesq) | 2153 comments I just finished last night. So sad! I'll try to answer some of Mandy's questions later tonight.


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