Possibly the most successful film of all time — adjusted for inflation, its box office take is still over five hundred million ahead of its closest rival, Avatar — Gone with the Wind is a romantic epic about Scarlett O'Hara, an indomitable and ruthless Southern belle, stretching from just before The American Civil War through much of Reconstruction.Both the source novel and the studios of the Golden Age of Hollywood tended to romanticize the South, and so this is one of the most romantic films ever made—indeed, it holds the #2 spot on AFI's "100 Passions" list—whether you want it to be or not. Other AFI accolades include "Best" (#4 in 1998, #6 in 2007), "Quotes" (#1, #31, #59), and "Cheers" (#43). Still, the movie was somewhat progressive for its time - it gave several roles to African American actors when Hollywood was trying its best to push them out, and Hattie McDaniel's win for Best Supporting Actress was the first Oscar given to a black person.Filmed in 1939 (having been in development since just after the book's publication in 1936) in glorious Technicolor, starring Vivien Leigh as Scarlett and Clark Gable as Rhett. Interestingly, director Victor Fleming was also the director of another legendary Technicolor film from that year - The Wizard of Oz.The original novel was written by Margaret Mitchell. It was followed by Scarlett, a professional Fan Fic, which was later adapted into a Mini Series. A prequel, Rhett Butler's People, has been published, telling the story from Rhett's perspective, and has a different ending than Scarlett. Another sequel by the name of Winds of Tara has been published. Bear in mind that this has another ending for those who are not happy with Scarlett. More recently, a parody has been written called The Wind Done Gone, which is the entire book written from the point of view of Scarlett's mulatto half-sister, whom she never notices in the original novel, and whom Rhett himself takes as a lover. No explicit names are used, interestingly.In 2008, a musical production ran on the West End in London. It was savaged by the critics and closed early.As of April 2014, only two of the original cast members are still alive: Olivia de Havilland and Mickey Kuhn.
The Ace: Ashley, antebellum. After the war, he's much less effective when scaled down in socioeconomic status.
The film adaptation saved GWTW as popular culture. First, by making Bonnie an only child (see Demoted to Extra entry below), her impact on the story was exponentially more important and believable. Second, by changing the circumstances of the shanty town raid, producer Selznick unwittingly saved the movie from the same future fate as the previous blockbuster record-holder about the Civil War.
Adaptational Attractiveness: Scarlett (in the book "not a beautiful woman") and Melanie (who even in the movie is described as plain) are played in The Film of the Book by silver screen beauties Vivien Leigh and Olivia de Havilland, respectively. However, throughout the book, Scarlett is still frequently described as pretty or handsome, so it isn't as extreme as most cases.
India Wilkes is supposed to be so plain that Scarlett stole her only chance of ever finding a husband. She's quite pretty in the film but still has an unpleasant personality that would probably turn people off.
The implication is that Scarlett starts out as a base marginally-pretty teenager who is only a belle because the County is pretty small and she turns her intellect solely to high-school level social manipulation and outrageous flirting which gets her attention. Later on, though, she apparently grows out of this and become prettier and even beautiful as she ages into her mid-twenties, but she has such horrible and ridiculously ostentatious fashion sense and use of make-up that she makes herself look uglier.
Adapted Out: Pity Scarlett's children from her first two marriages. In the book, they exist pretty much to be emotionally neglected by Scarlett, her son Wade Hamilton is a nervous wreck, her daughter Ella Kennedy is implied to have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and the only people who seem to care about them are their aunt omnibenevolent Melanie and their stepfather Rhett (who half the time is too busy spoiling his own child (literally) to death to care). They don't even exist in the movie.
Alcohol Hic: Scarlett after the death of her second husband.
Analogy Backfire: At one point, Dr. Meade argues that General Johnston cannot be dislodged from the Kennesaw Mountain:
Dr. Meade: The mountain fastnesses has always been the refuge and the strong forts of people since the ancient times. Think of - think of Thermopylae! Rhett: They died to the last man at Thermopylae, didn't they, Doctor?
Babies Make Everything Better: Melanie is very fond of this idea, and Frank believes that if Scarlett becomes pregnant, she will stop caring about her business and settle into motherhood. He is very mistaken, however.
Even the shrewd, cynical Scarlett seems to believe this when she gets pregnant for the fourth time and is happy about it for the first time—she thinks the baby will be the key to reconciling with Rhett. Unfortunately this ends up being completely inverted—she miscarries and it's the beginning of the end for them. Later, after Bonnie's death, she admits that she would be willing to have another child if that what's it will take to bring Rhett out of his grief.
Ashley is torn between his kind, sweetcousin Melanie (Betty) and his seductive, indomitablechildhood friend Scarlett (Veronica). Subverted in that Melanie "wins" (as in "marries Ashley") very early in the book, although this fails to discourage Scarlett in any way.
Gone with the Windlives on this trope. Scarlett is stated to have taken the Veronica position numerous times in the past, seducing men from their more proper and plain Bettys. Her first marriage is a textbook example, with Charles Hamilton as the Archie and Honey Wilkes as the Betty.
Heck, Scarlett is even the Veronica to her own sister's boyfriend, Frank Kennedy.
Beware the Nice Ones: Melanie's reaction to Scarlett killing a Union deserter was "I'm glad you killed him!" And she pulled out a pistol when she thought Yankee soldiers were about to break into her home.
This is never shown in the book, but in the movie, when Suellen is sobbing over Scarlett having married her fiancee right under her nose, it sounds like Melanie says something to Suellen like, "Well, she had to do it to save Tara." Which means not only, that Scarlett openly told everyone her reasons for marrying Frank, but that Melanie is completely on board with Scarlett doing this, and is chiding Suellen for feeling the way she does.
Although there is a certain Values Dissonance in that Melanie does say a few things in both the book and the movie that sound horribly callous to a modern day audience but which for the time would have been gentle and sound advice. Particularly when it comes to marriage, which was quite mercenary at the time.
It doesn't mean that Scarlett told anyone her reasons, it means Melanie can put two and two together. Scarlett was desperate for money and had previously been openly scornful of Frank. It would be painfully obvious to nearly everyone (except Frank) that she married him for his money.
Big Damn Heroes: Rhett does this a couple of times, but never completely successfully.
Big Eater: Scarlett openly love to eat, unlike the typical Southern belle.
Big Fancy House: Tara, Twelve Oaks, Mimosa, Fairhill, all the other plantations within vicinity of Tara, possibly as well the house that Scarlett builds in Atlanta when she marries Rhett, although Rhett never loses an opportunity to slip in a remark about how grotesque it is.
Birds of a Feather: Scarlett and Rhett, Ashley and Melanie. Part of Scarlett's arc is realizing this.
Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: When she cares enough, Scarlett can manipulate almost any man into thinking of her as a sweet, innocent, delicate flower of womanhood.
This is played with quite a bit throughout Gone with the Wind and Scarlett. Scarlett may be a scheming, lying bitch under her flirtatious demur exterior, but she can be quite naive and innocent about the really nasty stuff that goes on behind closed doors and in society. E.g., in Charleston, she is actively shocked and sickened when she finds out that adultery is actually really quite common among married people.
She actually says something along the lines of "Tomorrow is another day." Earlier in the book, she regularly said that she'd "think about it (murdering a Union deserter in self-defense) tomorrow", which really meant that it was never going to happen.
Considering how determined and head-strong she has been throughout the entire book, and what she has survived and lived through by virtue of nothing other than her own courage and determination, surmising that at that point she's just going to give up is completely Out of Character. Scarlett addresses her own denial and self-delusion after this point, but it's hard to argue this book as canon.
Black Sheep: Rhett's prominent, wealthy (before the war) family managed to blacklist him not only from their own estate, but the entire city of Charleston.
Blue and Orange Morality: Stuart Tarleton is annoyed that Cade Calvert's Yankee stepmother is afraid of him and thinks Southerners are barbarians; Brent points out that this is because Stuart shot her stepson in the leg. Stuart brushes this off as him being 'lickered up' at the time, and that after all, nobody else minded.
Book Dumb: Scarlett, in everything but math. The fact that she is actually sharp and brilliant when it comes to business and finance makes some very uncomfortable implications about what her upbringing as a belle has done to her mind in general. She is so Book Dumb that she is actively stupid in areas that should be common knowledge to her (considering her class, era and gender).
Also, Mammy, although she is very wise and has enough street smarts to easily make up for what she doesn't know from books.
Bumbling Dad: Gerald O'Hara who, unbeknownst to him, is the least respected person on his entire plantation. At least he managed to acquire his plantation and build it up.
Respected he might not be, but he's well-liked by his neighbors and loved by his family (and even several of his slaves; his valet, Pork, is heartbroken when he dies).
Although both were as equally nasty and bitchy as each other.
Cannot Spit It Out: Rhett does confess his feelings to Scarlett a few times, but he invariably subverts his confessions by chickening out and convincing her he's making fun of her. He justifies this by saying that if she knew about his feelings, she'd make his life a living hell; but it becomes more and more obvious as the story progresses that she's already done that.
Not to mention that Rhett outright lies, once or twice, when Scarlett asks him point-blank if he's in love with her. Once, when Scarlett reveals that she's been considering an abortion, Rhett reacts in outrage and horror, and then when the amazed Scarlett tells him she didn't know he cared that much about her, he switches gears and casually replies that he just doesn't want to lose a good investment.
Leading to the sad irony that Scarlett falls victim to this herself. By the time she begins to realize that she cares about Rhett, she's just as reluctant to tell him for the very reasons that he couldn't tell her—she's afraid he will mock and reject her.
Scarlett would have given up on Ashley if he had just told her he truly loves Melanie.
Scarlett never getting a chance to explain to Rhett that the embrace she and Ashley were caught in was completely innocent.
Can't Get Away With Nuthin': The one time Scarlett connects to Ashley on a real emotional level without any thought of seducing him, she is caught in the act by Moral Guardians. Very frustrating given all the actually immoral things she's done and gotten away with.
(Exploding shell!) "There's another of General Sherman's calling cards. He'll be paying us a visit soon."
Character Development: "Scarlett" is basically an entire book of just this, where Scarlett finally grows out of being a teenager... in her late twenties. It's very much a case of that Determinator part of her being used to get past her belle upbringing and her stunted emotional growth to turn her into a proper adult. Well, a semi-decent person at least. It's why this book is so long. And also one of the reasons why it is... not well liked.
Character Witness: Despite India and Archie witnessing Ashley embracing Scarlett with their own eyes, Melanie's vouching for Scarlett's innocence sows the seeds to doubt in many peoples' minds. Half the town winds up thinking India is a jealous, crazy old maid.
Charity Ball: Scarlett O'Hara scandalously insists on going to one for the Southern cause, despite having recently been widowed and therefore expected to be in mourning, mostly because she's bored and refuses to pass up the chance for a party. This is where she reconnects with Rhett Butler.
The Charmer: When Rhett wants people to like him, he's all but irresistible; but usually he can't be bothered.
Scarlett, too applies, she can make herself irresistible, usually to men with charms.
Christmas Cake: Quite a few of the female characters, but Suellen especially worries about becoming an Old Maid.
City Mouse: Scarlett, despite growing up at Tara, becomes a city mouse when she's forced to actually take care of Tara, doing tasks such as cooking, milking cows, and picking cotton. Suellen, Carreen, Melanie all qualify as well.
Dr. Meade: (to Scarlett) You have to stay here and help Melly have her baby.
Aunt Pitty: Without a chaperone? That would be most improper.
Dr. Meade: Good heavens, woman, this is war, not a garden party!
Dr. Meade's own wife does this later. The men claim they went to a brothel as a cover story to the Yankees. The second the Yankees leave, it's immediately obvious that Ashley is injured and the men are lucky to have their lives. Obvious to everyone but Mrs. Meade, who starts asking what the place is like. Dr. Meade looks at her like she's nuts before ignoring her and getting back to work.
This is played differently in the book where Mrs. Meade is fully aware and grateful that the ruse saved the men's life. She is also curious, however, about what a brothel is like and comically shocks Dr, Meade who has assumed that nice women didn't think of such things.
Color Motif: Scarlett's eyes are stated as being green. Green is associated with jealousy and envy. Scarlett is jealous of Melanie's marriage with Ashley.
Convenient Miscarriage: Scarlett takes a fall down a flight of stairs, and Melanie has a miscarriage which eventually leads to her death.
Corrupt Hick: The no-good "rabbity" Slattery clan that lives on a few acres of swampy land. They are looked down on even by the slaves who call them "white trash." Ellen O'Hara dies of typhoid after taking care of the oldest daughter, Emmie's, illegimate baby (sired by a Yankee overseer, no less). Even worse, Emmie later has the nerve to marry her Yankee lover and tries to buy Tara.
Cultured Warrior: Ashley is the leader of his troop due to his excellent marksmanship and leadership skills, but most of his men find his habit of reading literature and discussing philosophy very strange.
Poor Will. In the book is an important aid and sounding board to Scarlett after her family nurses him to health. He even marries Sueellen, somewhat mitigated the sad (but somewhat deserved) position she is in after Scarlett marries her longtime beau.
Scarlett's sisters, while existent, are largely glossed over, particularly Carreen.
The Wind Done Gone and Scarlett both take this deconstruction even further in their own ways, showing up not only the dysfunctional and damaging aspects of Scarlett's own upbringing, but the crippling aspect the belle psychology has had on her own mind, twisting her into a nigh-sociopath.
Destructive Romance: Rhett and Scarlett. In Scarlett this trope is deconstructed and played with continuously. The conclusion is basically that the most destructive force on earth to these two very strong and determined people is their love for each other. And then it becomes quite literally a fact of 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger' by the end.
The Determinator: Scarlett and more subtly, Melanie. Scarlett, though, gets props for being so ridiculously determined to survive and keep her family alive that she debases her own class and values, lies, cheats, steals, farms by literally pulling the plow herself, and does everything the men of the time were having trouble doing and things that women were never supposed to do. The true tragedy of the series - whatever book or film you look at - is that her amazing intellect is permanently twisted and stunted by her upbringing as an idiotic Southern belle.
Determined Homesteader: Scarlett O'Hara.Her father tells her, "Land's the only thing that matters. It's the only thing that lasts!" And everything she does - lie, cheat, steal, and kill - is just as much to protect Tara, her home, as it is to protect the people who live there.
Didn't Think This Through: Scarlett is so eager to get Ashley as a husband - and then marry Charles to save face - she doesn't stop to consider that, as a married woman, she won't get the chance to do any of the things she could as a desirable unmarried girl. (The narration flat out states this is a flaw of her 'Southern Belle' upbringing.) The result is that she ends up sitting on the side lines at the biggest ball Atlanta's ever held in her widow's weeds, unable to participate and looking on in envy at all the gowns she'll never get to wear again.
Distressed Damsel: Played straight and subverted. Scarlett depends on Rhett to rescue her from Atlanta, but when he abandons her outside the city to join the Confederate army she takes charge.
Scarlett also feigns to be this both to manipulate male customers into patronizing her sawmill as well as to try to get some sort of response from Ashley.
Door Stopper: The book is around 1000 pages, The film is over 3˝ hours long (and it leaves out a lot of things).
Drama Queen: Aunt Pittypat will faint over any improper or scandalous thing.
Dress Hits Floor: A non-sexual example. After Scarlett kills a Union soldier who broke into their house to rape and steal, she and Melanie drag his body out to hide it before the rest of the family finds out, but they need to mop up the blood. Scarlett insists Melanie give up her nightgown to mop with, so she's forced to strip naked right then and there.
Rhett, right after a misunderstanding has led the entire town to believe that Ashley and Scarlett are having an affair, gets really, really drunk.
He drinks when he believes Scarlett is about to die from a miscarriage that he is responsible for.
In the book he gets drunk after Bonnie's death.
Scarlett actually uses this term in Scarlett when she becomes an alcoholic while trying to pretend to herself that Rhett will come back to Atlanta for her.
Drunken Song: When Gerald is drunk, he sings a song called "Peg in a Low-Backed Car". Ashley and Rhett pretend to be singing drunkenly to fool the Yankee soldiers into thinking they were out getting wasted instead of avenging the attack on Scarlett, for which they could be imprisoned or even hanged.
Elephant in the Living Room: Slavery and race relations. Despite the entire novel being set in the Civil War and Reconstruction, the closest it gets to discussing the morality of slavery is Ashley complaining when Scarlett uses prison labor in her lumber business. Ashley claims that at least his slaves weren't miserable.
End of an Age: The fall of the Confederacy, which affects every character in one way or another.
Enormous Engagement Ring: Scarlet asks for a large ring and Rhett gives her one with a diamond that even she describes as "obscenely huge".
Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Both Scarlett and Rhett, despite all their other moral failings, are very fond of their mothers. Scarlett's is her Morality Chain. Rhett financially supports his mother after the war, even being respectful enough to maintain her reputations by making it appear publicly that the money is from another source. Scarlett is also apparently very fond of Mammy (who, like most women in her position, was a secondary mother) to the point where after practically laughing at everyone else's disapproval of her plans to marry Rhett, she's genuinely hurt by Mammy's.
Foreshadowing: The first time we meet Gerald O'Hara, he's jumping fences on his horse, something his wife and daughters all disapprove of because of the danger, yet secretly indulge because of their love for him. Is it any wonder that this is how he's killed years later?
Fourth Date Marriage: Scarlett's first two marriages are somewhat like this. Justified because such marriages were not uncommon at the time the story is set.
It's even stated in the book that Frank and Scarlett had a whirlwind courtship of two weeks.
Freak Out: Rhett has one of these in front of Melanie out of extreme guilt following Scarlett's miscarriage, due to both his recognition (if not in so many words) of the rape it resulted from and his cruelty to her.
All the "darkies" actually. As well as pretty much anyone who isn't from a finer family. Will Benteen and Belle Watling come to mind, and Gerald exhibits a stereotypical Irish accent as well (see Funny Foreigner below).
Funny Foreigner: Gerald O'Hara is a stereotypical Irishman to the nth degree.
Values Dissonance again, in that marriages at the time were commonly for financial reasons and that Scarlett's behaviour, while extreme, is actually just an exaggeration of the social norms of the time. In fact, marrying without any regard for money would have been considered incredibly stupid.
Gory Discretion Shot: Bonnie's death. As she prepares to jump her pony over a fence ". . .there was a fearful sound of splintering wood, a hoarse cry from Rhett, a melee of blue velvet and flying hooves on the ground." Not until the line "Then Mr. Butler scrambled to his feet and trotted off with an empty saddle" do you realize what's happened.
Gossipy Hens: The housewives of Atlanta, especially as concerns Scarlett.
Greed: Scarlett becomes obsessed with acquiring more and more material wealth to make sure that both she and her family will "never go hungry again." Somewhat more sympathetic than most cases as she has obviously been deeply traumatized (even years later, she routinely has nightmares about hunger and poverty) and is trying to protect herself in the only way she knows, but it still drives her to do things that are incredibly morally dubious.
Grande Dame: Ellen can be considered a rare, genuine example, but Mrs. Merriwhether, Aunt Pittypat and the other matrons of Atlanta would like to be considered this.
Heroic BSOD: Scarlett undergoes a version of this following her miscarriage.
Rhett's a complete mess after the death of Bonnie. He won't even allow her to be buried until Melanie talks some sense into him.
Hollywood Atheist: Averted; Rhett is privately an atheist, but not particularly vocal or strident. He does tease Scarlett when she is melodramatically convinced she's going to hell but his criticism is more centered around her obvious hypocrisy.
Hypocrite: Both Scarlett and Rhett. At least there is a Hypocrisy Nod to what both are doing throughout the main novel. In the 'sequels' however, the hypocrisy gets worse the further on you go. For example Scarlett handles it very clunkily.note Rhett tries to gain his reputation back in Charleston after burning all his bridges there in his youth and humiliating his family, and then constantly pushes Scarlett away when she tries to make similar amends towards him, taking the moral high-ground. At least there is a deliberate counterpoint to this which allows it to make literary sense.
I Gave My Word: Scarlett promised Ashley to take care of Mellie during her pregnancy. Despite Scarlett's various amoral behavior, she does have a warped moral code that she takes very seriously, mostly the result of her upbringing; making a promise is very Serious Business and she prides herself on keeping her word.
Ironic Echo: John Wilkes sign outside Twelve Oaks, warning that disturbing the peace will be prosecuted. It is first seen before the barbecue, and seen the second time when Union soldiers have burnt the mansion.
Kick the Dog: Scarlett does this constantly in both mediums:
Manipulating two relatively innocent men into marrying her, one of whom is engaged to her sister.
Spending her second marriage running and ruining the life of her husband.
Emotionally neglecting of her children from her first two marriages.
Contracting prison labor for her sawmill and enabling an overseer she knows abuses the prisoners.
Heck, in the first chapter she is revealed to have stolen another girl's near-fiancé merely because it irritated her to see a man showing interest in anyone but her. A girl who's neither beautiful nor popular and is said to have no chance getting another man but him.
Let's not forget her brutally cruel treatment of Rhett after Bonnie's death—she outright calls him a murderer.
Justified in that she was also grieving after her daughter died, though perhaps not as much as Rhett.
Rhett gives as good as he gets:
He's often downright verbally abusive to Scarlett. For someone who loves her, her doesn't seem to like her very much.
Threatens her with physical violence on several occasions and ultimately carries it out the night he forces himself on her—this is after threatening to tear her "limb from limb" or "crush her skull".
Pulls a disappearing act afterwards and when he finally shows up, throws it in her face that he slept with another woman, completely oblivious to the fact that Scarlett wants to work things out with him.
He rebuffs Scarlett every time she genuinely tries to reach out to him. The most striking example is when she tells him she's pregnant again. Until then, she's been happy about it and hoping that they have a chance to reconcile. His reaction? To ask who the father is — knowing full well the child is the result of him raping her — and to tell her, "Cheer up, maybe you'll have a miscarriage."
The rape itself is ugly, too. Much of the dog kicking seems to come from their both misreading each other. The morning after the rape (in the book at least), both Scarlett and Rhett were ready to reconcile but both wrongly assumed the other was still angry and unconciliatory.
The rape shows up some of the issues with arguing the Kick the Dog behaviour that Scarlett and Rhett inflict on each other. On the one hand, Rhett forces himself on her and is guilty of rape. On the other hand, Scarlett doesn't seem traumatised by this after the fact and wants to reconcile - which would be the last thing she would do if she felt genuinely violated or abused, knowing Scarlett. Then the fact that the entire scene plays out like a culmination of all their violent UST for each other, and that although both are incredibly verbally abusive to each other and make terrible threats Rhett has never laid a hand on Scarlett otherwise, makes things even murkier. Was this rough sex that Scarlett was a consenting party to, or was it rape? If she'd violently objected (really kicking, screaming and fighting him like she didn't want it) would he have stopped? Although Rhett is clearly in the wrong - even running along the moral event horizon for some - the nature of their encounter, the degree of non-consent and both parties' degree of involvement is a very murky area which could be debated for a very long time with no clear answer. In that sense, it's a microcosm of their entire relationship; how abusive and Kick the Dogwas their interactions with each other and how much of a role did sex have to play?
Jonas Wilkerson, when he's trying to convince Scarlett to sell Tara, sneers that her father has become an idiot.
Kick the Morality Pet: For all the dog-kicking that Scarlett does, she ends up making Melanie died in miscarriage and her lover, Rhett, driven away from her.
Kissing Cousins: Members of the Wilkes family marry their cousins whenever possible, one of the main reasons Scarlett initially loses out to Melanie.
In the book, Ellen O'Hara is also shown to have been in love with her cousin Phillipe.
Truth in Television - marriage between second and third cousins was not uncommon in the 19th century and before. (And very common in some circles - one need only consult a family tree of 19th-century European royalty.)
Kiss-Kiss-Slap: When Rhett rescues Scarlett out of the burning Atlanta, then abandons her to go fight in the Confederate Army, before leaving, he kisses her; she enjoys it, but then gets mad and slaps him.
There's a lot of this in their relationship.
Lady Drunk: The extreme stress she is put under after the war causes Scarlett to become a younger one of these, but she manages to keep it a secret from everyone except Rhett. (And he finds out only because he happened to call on her while she was still trying to get rid of the fumes on her breath from a guilt-induced bender after Frank Kennedy's death.)
Lady in Red: Scarlett fulfills this role at Ashley's party after a scandal in polite society - invoked by Rhett, who angrily insists that she look the part of The Vamp.
Ladykiller in Love: Rhett is one of these in regards to Scarlett, and Scarlett is a female version in regards to Ashley. It doesn't stop them from owning a brothel and marrying other men, respectively.
Literary Necrophilia: Scarlett, Rhett Butler's People, Winds of Tara, Wind Done Gone. Each sequel has its fans and those who think it is utter garbage with about as much relevance to the main novel as any other fan fic. Everyone tends to agree that the sequels really don't measure up to the original in any significant way.
Scarlett is from Scarlett's perspective and gives her the chance to grow out of being 16 and become a semi-normal if still manipulative and sociopathic woman, mostly by putting her through the emotional and physical wringer (this takes so much time and effort that the book is incredibly long, and several years have to pass in-story for it to happen). While still giving a faithful reproduction of Scarlett's romanticized world view, extrapolated from where she is at the end of Gone With The Wind, it does provide evidence that this view is grounded in a larger reality that is somewhat harsher and less melodramatic than she believes it is (to her shock and horror). It gives both Rhett and Scarlett's parents' backstories, making sense of both how Rhett came to be who he is and deconstructing the social tragedy of the "belle and beau" idiom. It takes the view that when all is said and done, and both are willing to treat each other with some modicum of respect, Scarlett and Rhett have as much chance of making each other happy as anyone. This was universally panned by critics, who all hated it - criticized as being insanely uneventful, probably because of the amount of time spent examining the different societies of the era through which Scarlett moves and which shape her. Nevertheless, a lot of fans loved it and thought exactly the opposite, so much so that it was a commercial success and is still in print (making it one of the most successful fanfics ever, before the internet). Yes, this is a Love It or Hate It phenomena, and what you think of it is very much up to individual opinion. A mini-series was based on this, but the plot is quite different (time might have been an issue).
Rhett Butler's People is an 'authorized sequel by the Margret Mitchell estate'... which still means it has almost nothing to do with the original author but is liked by the people who run her estate who say that this is the canon successor. It is mostly Rhett Butler's point of view of what was going on during Gone With The Wind from his end, focusing on Rhett with contributing narrative viewpoints from other characters with their opinions of him, his life, and events surrounding it. It arguably takes as much liberty with its characters as Scarlett. It turns Rhett Butler into an angsty modern-age antihero and has very little to do with the Scarlett love-story which was the basis for the original book, preferring to sideline Scarlett as a mostly irritating sociopath (which is pretty accurate) and glorify Rhett Butler's life and deeds (while pretending not to). It takes the view that Scarlett was basically the mistake in Rhett's life and gives a new ending to Gone With The Wind. This was produced to replace Scarlett, which the Margret Mitchell estate viewed as a 'thorough embarrassment.'
Winds Of Tara is another sequel altogether, ignoring both Scarlett and Rhett Butler's people. This is completely unauthorized... meaning it has just as much to do with the original author as the other two. However, this book was published on a much smaller scale and is more in keeping with the length and quality of a fanfic (as divisive as opinions are on the other two sequels, they are proper novels of fairly consistent quality). Unlike the other two sequels which focus on complex character interaction and character development, the plot with this sequel is more streamlined: Scarlett comes home broken-hearted after Rhett leaves her and takes her children, and she finds Tara in jeopardy at the hands of a greedy overseer. Although one might think that this subject area had already been covered rather extensively by the original novel, apparently it still wasn't enough.
Wind Done Gone is coined as a technical 'unauthorized parody', but it isn't a comedy. This is Gone With The Wind re-imagined again, although this book predates Rhett Butler's People and is much cleverer in its inception. The story is told by Cyanara, a slave girl who says she is the daughter of Mammy and Gerald O'Hara, and is the tale of her movement throughout Atlanta and the South during the War, and into Washington D.C during the Reconstruction. All the characters from Gone With The Wind are completely reinvented and are identified with monikers such as "Other" for Scarlett, "R" for Rhett, and "Planter" for Scarlett's father. Her ongoing rivalry with "Other" is a common thread through the book, and as she moves through Scarlett's world all the characters we know are landed with complete in-universe Alternate Character Interpretation - e.g. Ashley is "The Dreamy Gentleman" who is horrified by Other's advances because he is a homosexual, and marries "Mealy Mouth" instead, "Mealy Mouth" who is really a manipulative sociopath who had "Miss Priss" (the parallel character to "Prissy" in the main novel) brothers' alternately whipped and starved to death, "Miss Priss" who is really a crafty mastermind who kills off "Mealy Mouth" in revenge. There is a lot of very insightful commentary and critique on the narrative viewpoint of the original novel, and all the horror and destruction that the Confederacy harbors which Scarlett never sees. The author was sued by the Margaret Mitchell estate for "The Wind Done Gone" being a too similar title to "Gone With The Wind."
Loads and Loads of Characters: In the book especially, with Rhett, Scarlett, Ashley, Melanie, and Mammy as main characters, but then with lots of lots of smaller characters, like Gerald, Ellen, Pittypat, Suellen, Will, India, etc., etc.
The Lost Lenore: Philippe, Ellen O'Hara's cousin and first and only real love, who is killed in a bar fight. Ellen marries Gerald shortly afterwards even though she is 15 and he is 43 to escape her father who opposed her match with Philippe. When dying, her last words are Philippe's name.
Brent Tarleton to Careen O'Hara. Careen eventually joins a convent as a way to cope with her loss.
Love Dodecahedron: Even more so in the book than the movie. Scarlett marries Charles Hamilton as her first husband, who was Honey Wilkes' beau, whose sister is India, whose beau Stuart Scarlett also stole along with his twin brother Brent, who eventually became her younger sister Carreen's sweetheart, who Will falls in love with after the war but marries Scarlett's other sister Suellen instead after Scarlett marries her fiance Frank Kennedy....and on and on and on.
Love Epiphany: Scarlett finally has one when she realizes that she doesn't love Ashley, and has always loved Rhett. She also sort of has one with Melanie, but she realizes that Melanie is her best friend, and has always been there for Scarlett, defending her. Unfortunately, both of these come far too late.
Loving a Shadow: Ellen with her cousin Phillippe. Apparently, a sixteen year old whose crush has died will never love again. Scarlett too, in regards to Ashley. She even describes her idea in the book as "a pretty set of clothes" that she forced Ashley to wear. Also, Carreen with Brent Tarleton. She fell in love with him when she was 13 and never loves again after he's killed in the war, preferring to go into a convent. It must run in the family—Gerald is so devastated by Ellen's death that he goes mad to the point where he frequently forgets that she's gone.
Scarlett with Ashley takes on much wider dimensions as well. Although in the beginning she is infatuated with him and loves him (arguably), after a few years and the devastation of the South it becomes clear that what she loves is not Ashley, she yearns for what he represents: her old life in the old South, that era and place that she loved. Because she tries to constantly look forward and doesn't allow herself to properly grieve for the end of that era and accept that it's gone (she thinks it weakens her), she projects all that desire onto Ashley and forces onto him all the expectations and longings she had from that time. She is so wrapped up in this devoted delusion of her teenage years that she doesn't even realise when she falls in love with Rhett or what having an adult relationship means. She stays emotionally stunted as a bitchy immature 17 year-old, as incapable of becoming a mother to her children as she is a lover to the person she cares about the most.
India Wilkes, too. In the book, it is well known that Stuart Tarleton would have married her had he not been killed in the war, so she's essentially treated like a widow and is quite proud to act like one.
Mama Bear: Most of the time Scarlett shows less motherly affection than a caterpillar. But when the Yankees try to take Wade's sword she goes into full Mama Bear mode and manages to convince the soldiers not to take it. It's one of the few times she shows that she does love her son. Other moments include when Tara is set on fire and Wade appears to have died, she's devastated—and relieved when it turns out he's okay.
Man of Wealth and Taste: Rhett, while not a villain per se, is (along with Scarlett) one of the most morally ambiguous main characters and whenever possible extremely well-dressed. He's fashionable to the point where he's called about by Atlanta's female population for style tips and that when he is in prison, the jailers punish him by not letting him groom.
Massive Numbered Siblings: The Tarleton family has 4 sons and 4 daughters. The O'Haras would have been this, if their three sons hadn't died in infancy.
Matte Shot: Over a hundred matte paintings were used to transform southern California into the Old South. The exterior of Tara was only built halfway. The exterior of Twelve Oaks didn't exist at all apart from the porch. Matte paintings were also used to fill in ceilings at a time when it was impossible to put a real ceiling on a studio set.
May-December Romance: When Rhett and Scarlett meet, she's sixteen and he's thirty-five, and her second husband Frank Kennedy (who was in fact courting Scarlett's younger sister for several years) was significantly older than Rhett. Rhett actually describes himself as a "husband of the right age" for Scarlett as compared to Frank and her first husband Charles (who was about Scarlett's age). This is mainly Values Dissonance, as at the time women generally married at a much younger age than men.
Gerald and Ellen also count, in the book, it said that Gerald is twenty-eight years older than Ellen.
Morality Pet: While she usually treats her fellows white people like trash, she treats black people far more decently, even to the point that Pork, her father's personal servant, told her when she gave him Gerald's watch as a present that if she would have treated white people like that, her life would have been much more pleasant.
Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Numerous assumptions and conventions are forever changed and destroyed over the course of the work (just look at the title!) but for Rhett and Scarlett's relationship, the major turning point is Bonnie's death.
Due to the unfortunate nature of her relationship with Rhett being basically constant verbal abuse as both try to rationalize away and deny how much they love each other, what the audience is left hoping is that it is through physical touch and sex that they can communicate at least a little bit of what they feel, and that although Rhett was forcing himself on her, Scarlett was consenting nonetheless. This is how the 'sequel' Scarlett plays it according to Scarlett's point of view. Otherwise you are left with the uncomfortable conclusion that Scarlett's emotional conscience is so warped and she is so damaged that she confuses rape for passion. Scarlett also allows for this interpretation.
Obfuscating Stupidity: Scarlett uses this, playing off the contemporary perception of women as pretty, helpless idiots, to her great advantage both in business and courtship.
Of Corset Hurts: Scarlett may not be especially bothered, but other female characters are mentioned as such.
Officer and a Gentleman: Ashley. Additionally, when Scarlett visits the Yankee garrison, she is surprised to find that, contrary to what she has been told about their vicious, cruel natures, several of the Yankee officers fit this.
Oh Crap: When Scarlett and Rhett are outside watching their daughter Bonnie riding the pony she just got and starting to realize that Bonnie's just like Scarlett's father. It is a cruel bit of Mood Whiplash, too, since this is the same scene in which the two are starting to patch things up between them.
Scarlett:(dreamily) Just like pa... (bolts up, alarmed) Just like pa!
Older than They Look: In the book, Melanie is described as having a underdeveloped, childlike figure. Probably not intentionally Fetish Fuel, as Ashley is implied to prefer Scarlett's physical attributes.
And then she fawns over Ashley to make Rhett jealous, despite saying she doesn't love Rhett and is obsessed with Ashley. There's a very good reason why you could be forgiven for thinking that Scarlett has retained the mind of a 17 year-old.
Hmmm, maybe in the movie. In the book Rhett is described as "swarthy."
They're brunette and Scarlett is pale-skined, but are they really "eerie"?
Papa Wolf: Rhett fills this trope, spoiling Bonnie rotten, he fires a nanny in the movie and a servant in the book for leaving Bonnie alone in the dark. He also has a revelation about his role in society after a discussion with Wade.
Period Piece: While both the book and movie are largely regarded to be this, they're arguable cases since they don't capture the reality of the time so much as an idealization of it.
It's easy to forget this, but the Civil War was still just barely within living memory at the time. Someone ninety years old when the film came out, would have been twelve when the real war started. Harry Davenport, the oldest member of the credited cast, was born in 1866, which would make him three years older than Bonnie Butler. At least two uncredited cast members, Luke Cosgrave and William McClain, were actually alive during the Civil War. McClain was born in Mississippi, making him the only cast members to have lived in the Confederate States of America, although he probably didn't remember it too well seeing how he was two years old when the war ended.
Politically Correct History: One common criticism of the film. It's gotten to the point where "Gone With The Wind" is synonymous with a view of The American Civil War history that glorifies the Confederacy and downplays the importance of slavery.
With the main novel (and some of the sequels) mostly being told from Scarlett's point of view, this is how she sees things. She's been brought up to think of slavery as natural and blacks inherently beneath her as the daughter of a plantation owner. Most slaves are brought up to think the same as well. This is exactly how Scarlett sees things: the South glorified and slavery barely an issue to complain about.
Poor Communication Kills: there are minor examples in the main novel where this crops up, although Scarlett's emotional compass is so distorted it is difficult to tell whether instances of her not telling important information is this trope, her scheming manipulation, or her fear of letting herself be hurt or vulnerable.
Scarlett also has a rather telling instance with this concerning her daughter Cat. Did no one think that telling Scarlett that every person in the entire town of Ballyhara thinks her daughter is a fairy changeling, fear and hate her, and the children have been routinelly trying to kill her? This isn't a secret, but somehow the topic never comes up in all the years of the girl's childhood until there is literally a mob with pitchforks at the doorstep.
Precision F-Strike: "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." This proved a problem for the movie as the last word was forbidden by The Hays Code, but the code was modified specifically so that the word could stay. There's a long-held rumor that the studio had to pay $5,000 in fines (in 1930s money), but in fact the fines were waived due to the line being straight from the novel.
Pretty in Mink: Scarlett wears a few furs after she marries Rhett, to show her new wealth, such as an ermine-trimmed jacket and ermine muff.
Oddly enough, Charles Hamilton could be a male example.
Protectorate: Scarlett will do anything up to and including murder to protect Tara.
Additionally, after Scarlett saves her from the Siege of Atlanta, Melanie becomes determined to do everything in her power to protect Scarlett.
Pyrrhic Victory: Essentially Scarlett's fate at the end of the book, as she always wanted money, social status, Ashley, and Melanie out of the way. She gets it all and the ending leaves her as a more unhappy woman than she was ever before.
Regal Ringlets: Scarlett sports these from time to time. America has never had proper "royalty" or "nobility" as such, but the antebellum Southern gentry came pretty damn close, and it wouldn't be surprising if she chose the hairstyle deliberately.
Scarlett is the G-rated, 1800s upper class lady version of this, due to the fact that she has "beaus in five counties." In the novel, some of her peers actually describe her as "fast."
Rose Tinted Narrative: Scarlett's love of the deep South, the way she was brought up to ignore the atrocities committed in the name of slavery, and the melodramatic style of narrative all lend to this in order to show Scarlett's world view. This then rather becomes an issue when the novel was made a movie.
Silk Hiding Steel: Briefly implied with Melanie, the most kind-hearted and frail of the family. Midway through the film a Union soldier breaks into the house to rape and steal. He encounters Scarlett, who shoots him with her pistol... and behind her is Melanie, still recovering from having given birth and brandishing a sword.
Single-Target Sexuality: Despite flirting with just about every man she meets for fun, and marrying a few for spite/profit, the only man Scarlett is really attracted to for the majority of the book/film is Ashley.
At the time it was written, only Melanie qualified, with Scarlett as a glaring, man-chasing, morally bereft subversion. However the trope now encompasses both characters, and Scarlett's liberation is viewed more positively.
Southern Gentleman: Ashley is the most prominent example, but seems a deconstruction of the trope. A lot of other male characters qualify.
Spoiled Brat: Scarlett is raised as one of these. When she is forced to fend for herself and take charge of her family after the war, she is rudely awakened.
Her daughter with Rhett, Bonnie, is a tragic example; she is spoiled to such a degree by Rhett (even Scarlett warns him about her lack of discipline) that she is utterly disobedient and he is unable to stop her from making a dangerous jump with her pony that ends with her falling and breaking her neck.
Suellen is thoroughly spoiled without any of Scarlett's redeeming toughness and intelligence.
Spoiled Sweet: Melanie and Carreen O'Hara. Both stay sweet when they lose their fortunes although in the novel Carreen retreats into a dreamworld to cope.
Stay in the Kitchen: Scarlett refuses to do this, running her own business, to the horror of her compatriots, with the exception of Rhett, and possibly Melanie.
Unreliable Narrator: If you ignore Scarlett's obstinate insistence throughout the book that she loves Ashley and that Rhett doesn't love her, you can actually see the evidence to the contrary very clearly.
Villain Protagonist: Scarlett, possibly. She's certainly morally dubious and if the story focused on any other character, she'd be extremely unsympathetic.
War Is Hell: As experienced by Scarlett, Melanie, Wade, Mammy and Gerald as civilians. Also experienced by Ashley and Rhett as soldiers.
Rhett, who actually experienced quite a creditable stint in the Army of Tennessee's artillery after he joined the army following the fall of Atlanta (he marched with Hood in the disastrous Franklin Campaign and was with Joe Johnston at his surrender), is extremely reluctant to talk about his wartime experiences and only speaks of them to Wade so that the boy won't get mocked anymore by schoolmates.
Wartime Wedding: The book has quite a lot of engagements and weddings going on before, during, and after the war. It averts all three above.
Ashley Wilkes and Melanie Hamilton are engaged during the very beginning of war. He ultimately survives the war, but refuses to be called a hero, depressed of the war horrors.
Angry and humiliated with this (she had confessed to Ashley after hearing of the engagement plans), Scarlett married young Charles Hamilton a little later. He dies an unheroic death from measles a few weeks later, leaving Scarlett pregnant.
Technically it's not even measles that killed him. It's pneumonia that developed from the measles.
Later on, Scarlett seduces her sister's fiancee Frank Kennedy for his money to be able to pay Tara's taxes. She gives birth to his daughter, and soon he's shot during a Ku Klux Klan raid.
Right after Frank's death, Scarlett meets Rhett, and due to his manly charms and her drunken state, she agrees to marry him.
What Is This Feeling?: Scarlett (in the novel) is described as undergoing various emotional sensations that are clearly indicative of her physical and later emotional attraction to Rhett, but fails to understand them, partially due to the way that women were emotionally repressed at the time, partially because Scarlett is perhaps the least introspective character ever.
When She Smiles: Scarlett herself acknowledges that Suellen looks pretty when her spirits are lifted by a visit from her beau Frank Kennedy.
Widow's Weeds: Scarlett, widowed twice, wears black dress and veil to both funerals.
Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Scarlett blackmailed Ashley into becoming her business partner by crying about it to Melanie.