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Interestingly enough, I think that a case can be made for lost love impacting Mitchell's work on both historical and personal levels. Scarlett pines for the potential of love lost with Ashley Wilkes. Her fundamental failure in character, especially in her relationship with Rhett, was that she continually felt trapped by her lost love with Ashley. She sincerely felt that this lost love was one that could be reclaimed and in this reclamation, one sees how the pursuit of lost love can have disastrous consequences in the construction of a present and future. In the same vein, Mitchell uses this to pivot to the failure of the South. Throughout Mitchell's work, she makes the case that the Southern failure in the Civil War resulted from a lost love, a nostalgia for something that might not have existed but was something that occupied the psyche of the South into believing that it did exist. The lost love in this sense was a reverie for the "Old South," something that was rapidly eroding with the growing industrialization of the nation as well as the emergence of the economic model of the North becoming more widely accepted throughout the nation. Mitchell suggests that the South's "lost love" of its culture plunged it into a Civil War it really had no chance of winning. In both instances, lost love and zealously pursuing that might not have existed but was perceived to have existed is where one sees how it becomes a recurring theme in Mitchell's work.
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