Gone with the Wind | Study Guide

Margaret Mitchell

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Gone with the Wind | Part 5, Chapter 62 | Summary

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Summary

Scarlett is too upset to be patient with the mourners in Melanie's house, and she begins to walk home. She feels lost in the dark, just as in her dream. But she thinks of Rhett and home and begins to realize something: Rhett has loved her and supported her and she took his love for granted, just as she took Melanie for granted. Now Scarlett knows she loves Rhett and has loved Rhett for a long time, but her delusions about Ashley stood in her way. She rushes home to tell Rhett.

Analysis

Scarlett is reeling, and understandably so. The loss of Melanie is shocking enough, but now Scarlett, never given to self-reflection, realizes her entire adult life has been spent in pursuit of something that was only a dream. She has the responsibility for a whole new family: Ashley and Aunt Pitty will certainly need her support, and India too, although India probably won't want to accept it. Scarlett has shown little fondness for caring for others, but she does her duty. Now she must shoulder a whole new burden. No wonder she wants a little time alone.

Scarlett's dream has been a recurring element throughout the book, but the bad dream has now to life. This dream always reduced Scarlett to her most vulnerable, "little girl" state. It takes this "bad dream come true" for her to realize what the reader has suspected for some time now: Rhett is the man she needs and loves. Scarlett has almost a "life flashing before her eyes" moment as she finally recognizes all the times when Rhett supported her, challenged her in just the right way, or did what he could to make her happy. Scarlett is so amazed by her revelation that she can't wait to share it with Rhett. She believes they can finally be happy together. Her belief undermines the survival theme, however, which should tip readers off that it will not prove to be true.

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