Gone With the Wind is often thought of as one of the greatest love stories of all time. Which is kind of odd, since mostly love crashes and burns in the novel, or just crawls off into a corner to smother pitifully. Everybody loves the wrong person, and then, when they love the right person, the right person stops loving them, suddenly making them the wrong person instead.
Scarlett marries someone she doesn't love not once, not twice, but three times, and the more we think about it, the more we aren't sure that there's a single marriage in the book that is a love match—remember, Ellen doesn't even love Gerald and dies with another man's name on her lips. Love in Gone With the Wind is always at least a little bit tragic. Maybe that's what folks want in a great novel about love, though.
Questions About Love
- Does Scarlett's love for Ashley sustain her through the novel? Why or why not?
- Does non-romantic love—love of parent for children, for example—work out better than romantic love in the novel? Why or why not?
- Is Melly happy in her love for Ashley? Why or why not?
Chew on This
Scarlett's love life is messed up because the Civil War uproots Southern society.
Scarlett is right to blame Ashley at the end of the novel; her failures in love are all his fault.