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Gone With The Wind / Gone with the Wind - Tropes I to L

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This page is for tropes that have appeared in Gone with the Wind.

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  • 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.
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  • Immediate Sequel/Sequel Gap: "Scarlett" begins with Melanie's funeral, only a few days after the conclusion of Gone With the Wind, despite the 55-year space between the two works (both literature and film).
  • Instant Illness: In the movie, Melanie goes from healthy to lethally ill within minutes of screentime. It's never explained what struck her down.
  • Intermission
  • 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.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: And a lot of them do in this book:
    • Scarlett to Sueellen about having to root out the cotton because they need the money and there's no one else to do it. And part of the reason why Scarlett steals away Frank is because she correctly deduces that Suellen wouldn't let Frank lend the money to save Tara, wanting to be a Trophy Wife.
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    • Rhett's This Is Reality take on how the Civil War will go, as well as chewing out Scarlett late in the book for neglecting Wade and Ella.
    • India's accusations of Scarlett coveting Ashley are very true. She still is bitchy to make them in public, even if Melanie's not around to defend Scarlett.
  • Jive Turkey
  • 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 her children from her first two marriages.
      • Contracting prison labor for her sawmill and enabling an overseer she knows abuses the prisoners, and his only punishment being wage docking.
      • And then going straight against her beloved Ashley's expressed will and manipulating him into working for/with her.
      • 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.
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    • Rhett gives as good as he gets:
      • He's often downright verbally abusive to Scarlett. For someone who loves her, he doesn't seem to like her very much, as well as simultaneously resenting her for not returning his feelings.
      • Threatens her with physical violence on several occasions—in one instance, she is genuinely afraid that he's going to hit her—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 traumatized 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 Dog was 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.
    • India after Scarlett is assaulted reveals with scathing glee that Frank, Ashley and the boys are part of the Klan, even though Frank promised he wouldn't join, and says that if Scarlett hadn't ridden to shantytown alone, their men wouldn't be killed. Melanie calls India out for this on seeing how pale Scarlett becomes.
  • Karma Houdini: Despite Scarlett (rightfully) blaming the Slatterys for her mother's death, and both Jonas Wilkerson and Emmy Slattery for her father's, since Emmy married Jonas, she never seeks out retribution on either of them even when she has the means to do so. It becomes almost a What Happened to the Mouse? moment since Scarlett is otherwise shown to carrying grudges for years at a time for much lesser slights than the deaths of her beloved parents.
  • Kick the Morality Pet: For all the dog-kicking that Scarlett does, she drives her lover, Rhett, away from her. She's also guilty when she can't do this to Melanie after the night she and Ashley are caught hugging, because Melanie thinks too highly of her. As Rhett points out, Scarlett can't admit that she has unrequited love for Ashley without tarnishing Melanie's image of her, which would break Melanie's heart.
  • 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.
  • Land Poor: Scarlett, post-war.
  • Large Ham: "As God as my witness, I'll never be hungry again!" Admittedly, it's also a Moment of Awesome.
    • "Tomorrow- is another day!"
  • Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Melanie is the Light Feminine, while Scarlett is the Dark Feminine.
  • Literal-Minded: Scarlett to some extent; lampshaded by Ashley and Rhett many times throughout the book.
  • 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 polarizing 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 Alternative 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.
  • Lost Him in a Card Game: Gerald won Pork in poker game, as well as the deed to Tara.
  • 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.
    • Ellen herself becomes this to Gerald, given the way he loses his mind after her death.
    • Brent Tarleton to Carreen O'Hara. Carreen 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 has a platonic version with Melanie when 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: This seems to run in the family:
    • Ellen with her cousin Phillippe. Apparently, a sixteen year old whose crush has died will never love again.
    • Scarlett in regards to Ashley. She even describes her idea in the book as "a pretty set of clothes" that she forced Ashley to wear.
      • 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.
    • 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.
    • Gerald is so devastated by Ellen's death that he goes mad to the point where he frequently forgets that she's gone.
    • 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.


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