Give a brief summary of "Gone with the Wind."

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luannw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Scarlet O'Hara - spoiled and attractive oldest daughter of southern plantation owners on the eve of the Civil War.  Scarlet has decided that she loves a man she cannot have - Ashley Wilkes. He is betrothed to another woman, Melanie Hamilton.  In spite, Scarlet marries Melanie's brother, Charles, who dies from measles before going to war leaving Scarlet a young and bored widow.  She goes to Atlanta to live with an aunt.  There she encounters, for the second time, Rhett Butler, who seems to be the only man who sees Scarlet for the woman she is. The war continues and Atlanta is seiged while Melanie is giving birth.  Scarlet takes Melanie and baby, her own son, and one servant and sets out for her home, Tara.  She finds it still standing but devastated.  Her mother has died and her father is mentally unstable.  Slowly, through hard work, Scarlet makes Tara a working plantation again until taxes come due.  She goes to Atlanta to get help from Rhett but ends up marrying her sister's beau, Frank Kennedy, with whom she has a daughter. Frank is killed in a raid and Scarlet is again a widow.  She marries Rhett and has a daughter, Bonnie.  Rhett knows Scarlet still pines for Ashley, but for the sake of their daughter, he puts on a good face.  Bonnie is killed in an accident.  Melanie, who is pregnant again, dies.  Rhett says he's leaving. Scarlet begs him to stay because she loves him now.

bmadnick eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It can be difficult to compress this novel into a brief summary, especially because it's a long novel with many different characters and events. Whenever you write a summary, include only the main characters, the major events, and the main conflicts of any piece of literature. The link to the "One-Page Summary" divides the novel into time periods: before the Civil War, during the Civil War, Reconstruction after the Civil War, and the outcome of the conflicts developed during these time periods. You don't specify how brief your summary should be, but the link below will help you extract the most important details of the novel. Good luck!