Did Melanie secretly know about Ashley's emotional affair with Scarlett?Deep down, Melanie knew; but it's part of the reason she was so protective toward Scarlett, viewing her as a surrogate sister and surrogate wife for Ashley. This has got to be true, because she appears to be a Horrible Judge of Character for Scarlett and only Scarlett. Even for someone who carries Incorruptible Pure Pureness, that is ridiculous; this is more plausible. (Hey, it's not like that emotional affair went very deep...)
Scarlett has Histrionic Personality Disorder.People on the Internet like to diagnose her with this, so I thought I'd throw it in here. If so, she is probably a Theatrical Histrionic, who are "especially dramatic, romantic, and attention seeking".
Scarlett has sociopathic tendencies.She's probably not a full-blown sociopath, but she's a lot farther in that direction than a healthy person. She demonstrates zero real grasp of morality, has no qualms about lying, cheating, etc., to get her way, and it takes her until age 28 to grasp the concept that other human beings matter. Even her own children are mere annoyances to her, and she's furious when Ashley refuses to abandon his ailing wife and their baby to run off with her. In this incident, she never even considers how her sick sisters or mentally disabled father (Gerald is anywhere from senile to psychotic by this point as a result of Ellen's death) or the slaves who have no knowledge of how to fend for themselves would survive if she did abandon them in pursuit of her self-centered wants. She just does not care how much pain and damage she causes in the course of getting what she wants.
When Rhett was insane with grief, Melanie was able to calm him down by sleeping with him, and that was how she became pregnant the last time.
Rhett is part black.The book often refers to Rhett's dark looks and brown face. He has the "dark sexuality" that is associated with black men in the book. He doesn't fit in with white southern society. He says that his father has always hated him. He's one of the more racially tolerant characters most of the time but he kills a black man for coming on to a white woman. Maybe that's because it reminds him of his conception (consenual or not) that made him an outcast.
The entire story is in another alternate historical Reality/Universe/TimelineThis troper has a personal theory: since countless literary and cinematic critics and also the Novel's writer herself had many times stated that Gone with the Wind is a "Romanticized" version of the Southern United States of the early 1800's (or Old South as it was commonly known) which both the The Novel and Movie narrates the stories backdrop and characters as epic European nobility. Even the stories most virulent critics call the story a "White washing" of history and a grossly inaccurate depiction of the Pre-American Civil War era especially towards its African-American characters. In Fairness most other more historically accurate films of the same era (Roots, and its sequels, Queen, Amistad..the list goes on) are all Docu Dramas based solely on real people and events while Gone with the Wind is completely fictional and not based (except for a few events in the book) on anything in Real Life. This makes it a possibility that Gone with the Wind (and its decades later sequel Scarlett) take place within a separate Timeline or parallel universe from our own where the events and its central motivations of the abolishment of Slavery for the Civil War and its eras harsh and brutal treatment of African descendants in America either didn't exist or just wasn't nearly as harsh. As to reason why there would still be black slaves/servants in this alternate USA is simple. Shortly after the abolishment of slavery in Europe in the mid 1700s many African freemen had either no where to go or still may had severe debts with their former masters so many former slaves still had to serve them in the system of indentured servitude (which still had existed for lower class whites as well). So many of the stories black house and field servants either traveled along with them from Europe or were the descendants of Africans who had willingly traveled to America (vaguely similar to Mexican immigrants of the current era) to find better lives for themselves and had ended up in this indentured status. Another possibility is that the brutal industrial-scale latifundia system of slavery, from which plantation slavery was largely derived, never really developed, and that slavery in the GWTW universe remained much closer to the classical Graeco-Roman model (which provided much greater latitude for the development of quasi-familial relationships and for manumission, which is frequently mentioned in the books). Note that, in one incident, Scarlett is enraged when several Northern women she is insulted to make insulting remarks about "Uncle Peter", a longtime household slave of her relative-by-marriage Aunt Pittypat, within his hearing. When Aunt Pittypat hears of the insults, she is equally outraged and excuses Peter immediately from ever having to expose himself to such slights again. The whole displays a delicacy of concern for the feelings of supposed social inferiors that is quite at variance with the callousness of our own timeline, and is another data point in support of the proposition that GWTW occurs in an Alternate Universe. However this also doesnt explain why the elite Old South Families never had poorer "white trash" slaves as well. (Then again, maybe they did and we just didn't see them.) One also must account for the fact that in the GWTW timeline, "poor whites" seem to be held in far greater contempt than blacks. The overall attitude of whites toward blacks, particuarly among the well-to-do, is one of kindly paternalism, and whites of Scarlett's class are often heard praising blacks for various attributes or actions. They NEVER appear to speak well of "white trash". Slaves - certainly "house" slaves or slaves with a particular trade or skill - do appear to rank distinctly higher in the social scale than poor whites. Oddly enough it also appears that Native Americans dont seem to exist (were they all killed off? (although technically that would be worse then what is/was being done to the stories African-Americans) was this version/realities America just empty? with only animals for a native population?) their never mentioned or even referred to as if they simply don't exist. (although many of the works of Mark Twain taking place in the South in the same era frequently have or mentions American Indian characters).