Study Guide

Gone With the Wind Perseverance

By Margaret Mitchell


For this theme, we will step aside and hand you over to a world-renowned expert on Gone With the Wind: Margaret Mitchell. Here's what she said about the novel and perseverance in 1936:

If the novel has a theme, it is that of survival. What makes some people come through catastrophes and others, apparently just as able, strong and brave, go under? It happens in every upheaval. Some people survive; others don't. What qualities are in those who fight their way through triumphantly that are lacking in those that go under? I only know that survivors used to call that quality "gumption." So I wrote about people who had gumption and people who didn't.

So yeah, insofar as gumption is perseverance, we've definitely got ourselves a theme for this book.

Questions About Perseverance

  1. Is perseverance a virtue in Gone With the Wind? Is Scarlett seen as better than others because she survives and thrives, or as worse than others?
  2. Which people other than Scarlett in Gone With the Wind have gumption? Provide evidence of their gumptionfulness. (No, gumptionfulness isn't a word, but we're thinking it should be.)
  3. Which people other than Ashley in Gone With the Wind lack gumption? Provide evidence of their gumptionlessness.

Chew on This

Black people in Gone With the Wind neither have gumption nor lack gumption, because they are not considered human.

Women in Gone With the Wind have more gumption than men.