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Question (May anger some folks) Was Scarlett possibly Philippe's daughter?

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Tiggs First, I want to start out by saying that this is my favorite book. I haven't read it in a few years, but I'm completely familiar with the story. One thing that's always been on my mind is that Scarlett may have been Ellen & Philippe's daughter. It seems to me that Margaret Mitchell may have intentionally made this a mystery open for interpretation by the reader. Something I could never understand was the seemingly unnecessary back story of Ellen and her cousin's teenage romance. I honestly don't find it believable that a beautiful, young aristocrat like Ellen would be so dead set on marrying a near fifty year old Irish immigrant like Gerald O'Hara unless it was "necessary". And on her deathbed, while Ellen was delirious with fever, she kept calling for Philippe, or was trying to tell the family something about Philippe. I've always wondered if the very devout Ellen was attempting to make a deathbed confession. I know a lot of people will say it's probably unlikely, as Mammy often reiterates how much Scarlett resembles Gerald, but I don't think this is a valid argument as lots of people say this about children, and I've found that it's common for people to look for physical similarities in children to relate them to one parent's family more than another, often when there are no real similarities. What do you think?


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

I don't believe so. Yes, she loved Phillipe all her life. However, when her father opposed her marriage to Gerald, she threatened to enter the convent, and that horrified her father. And the book says of her first child, I forget the exact words even though I just looked them up, in the next year their first child was born. Phillipe had left the month before Gerald set eyes upon Mademoiselle Robilliard, and was dead before she determined to marry Gerald, simply to get far enough away to never set eyes on her family again, she hated them so completely. Ellen never lied, and I believe she would have simply and clearly advised Gerald if she was pregnant, and never would have threatened the convent. I believe the South at that time, those of Ellen's class, largely indulged a chivalric love -- high ideals, romantic, courtly, ritualized -- and while I'm sure there were plenty of girls who left their homes for extended visits to relatives (I believe the book mentions that later when the young Widow Hamilton is livingin Atlanta), I don't think Ellen and Phillipe consummated their relationship. Ellen is to direct for that to have happened and not have it said. I can hear her saying, if it had been the case, "Yes, Mr. O'Hara, I will marry you, but these are my terms, and you will take this child as your own and never ever reveal what I have told you or love this child any less, nor me, for its existence." Well, that's what I sort of believe, at any rate.


Celest I don't think Scarlett is Phillipe's daughter. One the timing would have to be too precise and since when pregnancies ever are? Also Ellen doesn't strike me as the kind to risk reputation even for an infatuation with a denied relationship. Plus I don't think Scarlett would have been as fiery as she is if she had been born of that particular union. Also Phillipe didn't really strike me as the kind of man that really had deep emotions, sure he ran off to get killed, but it probably wasn't really out of a love being denied but rather his pride getting kicked to the curb by Ellen's father.


Tiggs "And the book says of her first child, I forget the exact words even though I just looked them up, in the next year their first child was born." I don't remember the words precisely, either, though I remember the sentence being something to that effect.
I had the hardback copy of the book but unfortunately, it fell apart, and I haven't got around to replacing it yet. However, I have done some extensive searching for GWTW timelines (yeah, i'm a little obsessed)and one of the more seemingly accurate ones placed Scarlett's birth very early in the year of 1845, so I don't really see that as much of a leap. After Charles' death, Scarlett first went to Charleston to stay with Ellen's relatives before she ended up visiting the Hamilton family in Atlanta. That being said, "hate" is a very strong word and seems completely out of character for Ellen. Yes, she was angry with her father for lambasting her potential engagement to Philippe, but traveling up country Georgia with an Irish immigrant Roman Catholic neither she or her family knew anything about is also a bit odd. Even Mammy was a little startled and put off by Ellen's insistence on marrying Gerald, telling her something along the lines of "Honey, you can't do that". I doubt her father would even allow it, and would much rather her join the convent.


Tiggs Celest, you've raised some interesting points, but I really disagree that Scarlett's vivacity had anything to do with her being half Irish. If you remember, Sue Ellen was self absorbed and lazy, and Careen was timid and sentimental, so by that logic, all of them must have had different fathers.


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Tiggs wrote: ""And the book says of her first child, I forget the exact words even though I just looked them up, in the next year their first child was born." I don't remember the words precisely, either, though..."

"I hate them, I hate them all... They drove him away," is actually what Ellen said, not to argue, when she told Mammy she would put Savannah behind her forever. I think it takes a great passion to create a great discipline, such as that which guided Ellen through her life as Mrs. O'Hara. I suspect we may miss the mark somewhat when we credit Scarlett's fire solely to Gerald. I also think another movie should be made where Ellen is not just a shadow in the background; she's a great character. Maybe "Before the Wind"?


Tiggs Ellen, thanks for the quote! I guess I'm having trouble with some of the historical inconsistencies of the story and am trying to put two and two together in a way that makes more sense. The Robillards were written as southern aristocracy and Protestant, and Gerald O'Hara was a poor Irish Catholic immigrant who won Tara in a poker game. I'm not entirely sure how things worked back then, but I've always thought it was more likely that Pierre Robillard would send Ellen (his favorite daughter, btw) packing before allowing her to marry an Irish Catholic peasant. In reality, he'd probably see the convent as a lesser loss.


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

It is something, isn't it? The KKK (long after the time we're talking about, of course) was very strongly anti-Catholic. Better to marry one than to be a nun, I guess.


Mary Beth There's an Olivia de hails do fan club on Facebook


message 10: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary Beth Olivia de Haviland fan club on Facebook


Celest Tiggs wrote: "Celest, you've raised some interesting points, but I really disagree that Scarlett's vivacity had anything to do with her being half Irish. If you remember, Sue Ellen was self absorbed and lazy, an..."

I just meant from the union itself, not necessarily that Gerald was her father. So either Ellen was trying to hide her sorrow in another man's arms or just Scarlett was a selfish baby and decided she would keep all the fire XD


message 12: by [deleted user] (last edited May 24, 2015 09:02PM) (new)

Can I suggest something? Is it possible, if you take in Ellen's history and how she had to completely uproot and remake herself to survive her loss, that she saw herself in Scarlett? I think how Scarlett toyed with so many men before the war, and how Ellen never seemed to counsel her to not play the field as blatantly as she did. Is it possible that she wanted her most dynamic daughter to find her true love, and so never reined her in, didn't wish for Scarlett the pain she had lived herself? Did not tell her she couldn't marry up and marry Charles Hamilton out of the blue? That it was Gerald and not Ellen who lectured Scarlett about throwing herself at Ashley, a man who never declared his intention to marry her? I'm not saying that Ellen was reliving her youth through her daughter, I think she had no wish to relive that youth, but that she never put her daughter, Scarlett, in a position where Scarlett had to choose between family and love? Just wondering...


Kathy Rogo Wow! After reading the above comments, I realize having read it twice in high school, there is a lot I don't remember. I may have to read it again and pay attention to the Ellen and Phillipe angle. Crazy!


Jeanette Watts It never occurred to me that Scarlett could be Phillippe's daughter. I wish I could believe it, but the timing doesn't seem to work out. It makes a certain sense, if she was pregnant, she'd have to marry.

As to the argument that this must be the case because of all the seemingly irrelevant backstory, don't forget that Margaret Mitchell goes into Gerald's past in just as much detail.


Lindsay Seddon I wouldn't call Ellen's backstory unnecessary. It shows a similarity to Scarlet's situation in an unresolved first love and how the two women handle it very differently.


Heartlessqueen Ellen wrote: "I hate them, I hate them all... They drove him away," is actually what Ellen said, not to argue, when she told Mammy she would put Savannah behind her forever. I think it takes a great passion to create a great discipline, such as that which guided Ellen through her life as Mrs. O'Hara. I suspect we may miss the mark somewhat when we credit Scarlett's fire solely to Gerald. I also think another movie should be made where Ellen is not just a shadow in the background; she's a great character. Maybe "Before the Wind"?

This is very interesting. Scarlett more then once wishes she was like her mother. I didn't realize it when reading it, but what you said made me realize that maybe Scarlett was more like her mom then she knew. Her mom cares for sick people. So does Scarlett with Melly. The book never really points out all that Scarlett does for people until Melly points it out. But she does silently. Just like her mom silently helps people around her. I had no idea Scarlett was financially helping Aunt Pittypat until Aunt Pittypat doesn't want India in her home out of loyalty to Scarlett who has been financially helping her. Who knows what else Scarlett has done because it's not mentioned unless another character mentions it. I would love to know more about Ellen..so I like the Before the Wind idea.


Jeanette Watts ....and the race is on to write Before the Wind! I'm already on page 2 of the outline...


message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

Jeanette wrote: "....and the race is on to write Before the Wind! I'm already on page 2 of the outline..."

Oh how funny. But I do love Ellen, I think of what she must think about before she falls asleep at night. Her passion was so great, her discipline is so great. Both qualities a real heroine needs to create tension in a book. Go at it!


message 19: by Jeanette (last edited Aug 26, 2015 05:02AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jeanette Watts Hm.. I have a question for anyone who can help - if I write a prequel to Gone With the Wind, do I need to apply for permission from the Mitchell Estate? And, if so, whom would that be? Her heirs are pretty much gone. Half the trademark and literary rights belong to the Catholic church in Atlanta, is an organization legally the same as if it was still a family member? And who holds the other 50 percent of the rights?


message 20: by [deleted user] (new)

Jeanette wrote: "Hm.. I have a question for anyone who can help - if I write a prequel to Gone With the Wind, do I need to apply for permission from the Mitchell Estate? And, if so, whom would that be? Her heirs..."

I've heard the Mitchell Estate is very protective. Someone has written a book, within the lats 10 years, or they were approached about a movie remake, or something. But if you Google, you'd get an idea. My guess is that you couldn't begin to approach them except through a well-established literary agent, if not an attorney. I'm curious to know how many people have tried. I know it's a big number.


Mizzou What about that book titled The Wind Done Gone? The GWTW story as seen through the eyes of a maid, a slave at Tara? I forget the name of the author . . . it got uncomplimentary reviews.


Jeanette Watts Mizzou wrote: "What about that book titled The Wind Done Gone? The GWTW story as seen through the eyes of a maid, a slave at Tara? I forget the name of the author . . . it got uncomplimentary reviews."

The Mitchell estate sued the author of The Wind Done Gone. The case was finally dropped when the publisher made a really big donation...


message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

The wind done gone hahahahahahahahaha


message 24: by Rick (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rick Slane has mostly recovered from covid No


message 25: by Kelli (new)

Kelli Tiggs wrote: "First, I want to start out by saying that this is my favorite book. I haven't read it in a few years, but I'm completely familiar with the story. One thing that's always been on my mind is that Sca..."

Tiggs wrote: "First, I want to start out by saying that this is my favorite book. I haven't read it in a few years, but I'm completely familiar with the story. One thing that's always been on my mind is that Sca..."


message 26: by Kelli (last edited Sep 30, 2018 10:33AM) (new)

Kelli This morning I was randomly thinking about why on earth Ellen would be dead set on marrying Gerald O'Hara. That Scarlett belonged to Philippe and Ellen is the only thing that makes sense. Also for why Ellen cried all night, and then arose ready to do what she must do. And I think Mammy knew. She loved Ellen and wanted to protect her secret. Also....honestly, the way Scarlett has no real empathy or regard for others and how she uses them for her own ends and justifies everything she does makes me think she has psychopathic traits....and Philippe did, too. I can't recall how he's described exactly but he's wild, a black sheep like Rhett. And psychopathy is partly genetic. Yes, Gerald is firey and Scarlett's spiritedness is explained as coming from Gerald. But...besides a lot of spirit she has other qualities that I do think indicate psychopathy and if her bio dad was, too, that explains a lot. Also, Scarlett isn't anything like her sisters, which also lends itself to a different father.


Megan Kelli wrote: "This morning I was randomly thinking about why on earth Ellen would be dead set on marrying Gerald O'Hara. That Scarlett belonged to Philippe and Ellen is the only thing that makes sense. Also for ..."

LOL what? Scarlett IS Gerald's daughter.
Margaret even states in the *FIRST* chapter that (paraphrasing here) that "in her face were too sharply blended the features of her mother--a coast aristocrat--and a florid Irish father".
Scarlett is Gerald's daughter. Case closed.
Yes, Ellen loved Phillipe, but IIRC, her family sent him away and she never saw him again.


Megan These are the exact words:

"In her face were too sharply blended the delicate features of her mother, a Coast aristocrat of French descent, and the heavy ones of her florid Irish father."

There's even this statement made by Mammy when Scarlett gets mad that she won't buy her rouge: "Lawd God! But you sho look like yo pa!"

So that should put paid to any nonsense (and that's what it is) that Phillipe is Scarlett's father.


Zsófi Teleki No, I absolutely do not believe that.


message 30: by Megan (last edited Dec 31, 2018 08:38PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Megan And here is undeniable proof that Scarlett is Gerald's daughter:

"Suddenly she found her tongue and just as suddenly all the years of Ellen's teachings fell away, and the forthright Irish blood of Gerald spoke from ***his daughter's lips***.

Case closed. Scarlett is Gerald's.

(Page 115, Gone with the Wind, kindle version).


message 31: by Lela (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lela But then again nature or nurture? that also rises the question?
was she like Gerard because she was raised by him? or because she was really his?


Megan Lela wrote: "But then again nature or nurture? that also rises the question?
was she like Gerard because she was raised by him? or because she was really his?"


🙄
Please. Margaret Mitchell makes it very clear Scarlett is Gerald’s—Gerald even tells her not to forget that she’s “half-Irish”. So unless Ellen was pregnant for a year, it’s literally impossible.


Zsófi Teleki I must say it never crossed my mind that Scarlett was not Gerald's daughter. There are so many references to her likeness and even her daughters. Furthermore there is no such hint anywhere, only to her Irish temper.Sunlight on Shadow


Megan Zsófi wrote: "I must say it never crossed my mind that Scarlett was not Gerald's daughter. There are so many references to her likeness and even her daughters. Furthermore there is no such hint anywhere, only to..."

There’s no hints anywhere? Okay. Let me see what I can find.


Zsófi Teleki Have fun its a fat book.


Megan Zsófi wrote: "I must say it never crossed my mind that Scarlett was not Gerald's daughter. There are so many references to her likeness and even her daughters. Furthermore there is no such hint anywhere, only to..."

Wait...I think I misread your post. You're saying Scarlett *IS* Gerald's daughter, right?


Zsófi Teleki Of course. Who else's could she possibly be? I cannot understand how people can imagine something else.


Megan Zsófi wrote: "Of course. Who else's could she possibly be? I cannot understand how people can imagine something else."

Agreed! I don't see how Tiggs--the person who created this post--thinks that Scarlett is the result of a union between Ellen and Phillippe.
In the first chapter alone, there are SIX proofs that Scarlett is Gerald's.


Zsófi Teleki Sunlight on Shadow I first read GWTW when I was 13 or 14. It was my first Big novel in English. Thereafter I read it almost every year for a long time. It made a great impression on me and in many ways was the defining book of my early years. Some years ago I read it again because some women I had taught English wanted to have a reading group. I still found it compelling. With adult eyes I felt like reading about Scarlett and Rhett was like reading about a train wreck that you knew would happen and could not stop. MM certainly created some great characters. Pat Conroy was right, she did more for the South than any other writer.
It is amazing what readers will presume from a book, but then once you publish, it is there for the readers interpretation. Glad people are still discussing it so many years later.


Zsófi Teleki In reference to message 17 and subsequent on the topic, there is a sequel and a movie of it, one worse than the next. I have no idea who authorized it. Also there is a sort of prequel, Rhett Butlers people, it intersects with GWTW and reinterprets some things, but it is a more sympathetic, for this reader anyway.


Shobana Sankar If Scarlett was Philippe's daughter, where did Bonnie get her blue (Irish) eyes from? Bonnie reminds Scarlett of Gerald in many ways, her attitude and her facial structures to name a few.


message 42: by Megan (last edited Feb 16, 2019 05:45AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Megan I'd like @Tiggs to come back because I found this:

"Bonnie grew rapidly and every day it became more evident that Gerald O'Hara had been her grandfather."

Which proves undeniably that Gerald is Scarlett's father.


message 43: by Missie (last edited Jul 28, 2019 05:35AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Missie Megan wrote: "These are the exact words:

"In her face were too sharply blended the delicate features of her mother, a Coast aristocrat of French descent, and the heavy ones of her florid Irish father."

There'..."



Missie And then there is Bonnie's resemblance to Gerald ...


Missie deleted user wrote: "Jeanette wrote: "Hm.. I have a question for anyone who can help - if I write a prequel to Gone With the Wind, do I need to apply for permission from the Mitchell Estate? And, if so, whom would that..."

Do the same restrictions apply to online fanfiction? Could you write it there? It could be discovered by an agent or publisher, who might take care of any copyright issues with the Mitchell estate ...


Megan Missie wrote: "deleted user wrote: "Jeanette wrote: "Hm.. I have a question for anyone who can help - if I write a prequel to Gone With the Wind, do I need to apply for permission from the Mitchell Estate? And, i..."

I *hate* that I'm using this as an example, but look at 50 shades. That's literally--and I do mean literally-- Twilight fanfiction with the names changed.


message 47: by Aimee (new)

Aimee I first read GWTW when I was 12 or 14, and am now 64, but never thought about Scarlett being Phillipe’s child. However, I have always been taken with the story of Ellen and Phillippe, and wished MM had written a book solely about their relationship. Ellen was one Hell of a character, and always left me wanting more of her.


Megan Aimee wrote: "I first read GWTW when I was 12 or 14, and am now 64, but never thought about Scarlett being Phillipe’s child. However, I have always been taken with the story of Ellen and Phillippe, and wished MM..."

That's because Scarlett isn't Phillipe's daughter and noone was ever meant to think so.


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