Please summarize Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell is a novel first published in 1936 that has been a major bestseller, with over 30 million copies sold worldwide, and that was adapted into an equally successful film in 1939 which won eight Academy Awards.

The novel is set in Georgia, in two main locations, Clayton County and Atlanta. In terms of period, it is set during the Civil War and Reconstruction. The protagonist of the novel is a young woman, Scarlett O'Hara, daughter of wealthy, aristocratic plantation owners. 

The story opens in April 1861. On a national scale, the Civil War has begun. On a local level, we see antebellum life at the Tara plantation, with the teenage girl Scarlett upset that one of her beaux,  Ashley Wilkes, has proposed to her cousin. In this scene we are also introduced to Rhett Butler, who will eventually become Scarlett's third husband. 

Scarlet marries Charles Hamilton who is killed in the war. Scarlet moves to Atlanta, bears George's child, and to escape the devastation of the war, returns to Tara, the family plantation. The subsequent plot mainly concerns Scarlett's struggles to survive financially during the Civil War and Reconstruction, as well as her loveless and pragmatic marriage to Frank Kennedy and her ongoing relationship with Rhett Butler, culminating in their marriage after Frank's death.

For chapter summaries, see the full eNotes summary.

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Gone with the Wind

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