Gone with the Wind Ending Explained & Film Analysis

Why Rhett Butler abandoned Scarlett and other mysteries of the famous film “Gone with the Wind”. The essence of the film “Gone with the Wind”: the plot, the meaning, why it is called so

Country: USA

Genre: drama, adaptation, melodrama

Year of production: 1939

Director: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Sam Wood

Cast: Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, Leslie Howard

tagline: “The most magnificent picture ever!” (The most magnificent picture in the world!)

Awards and nominations: The film won eight Oscars in 1940.

Gone with the Wind is a beautiful tragic story by Scarlett O’Hara. There is no hidden meaning in the picture, but this does not make it lightweight. The film, like the original novel, contains a formidable warning: one should not live in the past, drowning in illusions and pleasant memories – this cannot lead to good. The essence of the film “Gone with the Wind” is that no matter what the world is, and no matter how much you want to hide from it, you need to face your fears.

What is Gone with the Wind about?

Gone with the Wind is based on the novel of the same name by Margaret Mitchell. At the time of the creation of the book, which was destined to enter the golden fund of world literature, Mitchell, a journalist and writer, was only 25 years old.

the main characters of the film

Clark Gable as Rhett Battler, Vivien Leigh as Scarlet O’Hara. Frame from the film.

Margaret Mitchell’s novel is a real poem, comparable to both War and Peace and Dead Souls. This is not only a tragic story about love and patriotism, but also (even in the first place) nostalgia for a beautiful, forever lost era …

Synopsis for “Gone with the Wind” 1861, America, Georgia – agricultural southern state. The eve of the war between the North and the South.

Sixteen-year-old Scarlett O’Hara, the daughter of Tara’s huge cotton plantation owner, leads an easy life filled with balls and flirtations.

In fact, the girl is not as frivolous as it seems at first glance – her heart burns with love for the son of the owner of a neighboring plantation, Ashley Wilkes. Accidentally learning that Ashley is going to propose to her cousin Melanie Hamilton, Scarlett falls into despair.

A little later, Scarlett meets the imposing cynic Rhett Butler, who does not share the patriotic frenzy of the southerners, who are confident in the inevitable victory over the northerners.

After an unsuccessful explanation with Ashley, who rejected her, Scarlett decides to “revenge” him, and accepts the proposal of his cousin Charles. After the wedding, the young man goes to war, and soon Scarlett receives a message about his death.

Leslie HowardLeslie Howard played the role of Ashley. Frame from the film.

Having become a widow, Scarlett, at the insistence of her mother, goes to Atlanta, where the house of the Hamiltons is located. There she meets again with Rhett, and he, after a little provocation, which, nevertheless, shocked the Atlantean society, stuns her with the message that he is going to win her love. Scarlett makes it clear to him that it will not work out for him – she still loves Ashley. But at the same time, she is pleased with his persistent attention …

This is how their difficult relationship begins, reminiscent of either a passionate dance or a bloody sword fight. War is raging in the country, and Scarlett will have to solve many serious issues – and grow up.

Ending explanation

Toward the end, the main character in Gone with the Wind finally realizes that all her crazy love for Ashley was just chasing a phantom.

She tries to explain herself to Rhett, whose feelings she played with all the time, but he rejects her. In the finale, Scarlett, mourning the departure of Rhett, utters her signature phrase: “I’ll think about it tomorrow.”

The explanation for the ending is pretty simple. Throughout her life, the heroine Vivien Leigh ran after the love of an inaccessible person. She was only interested in her own “want”, and she did not want to spend time thinking about how much she really needed Ashley.

By her behavior, she pushed away from herself the person whom, it seemed, she really loved. By the time she realized this, it was already too late.

The phrase “I’ll think about it tomorrow” was a real mantra for Scarlett – and indeed, this attitude helped her to endure in dark times. But her mistake was that she began to apply this attitude in all areas of life – and even when there was no need for it.

Hattie McDaniel

Hattie McDaniel as Mammy. Film frame

The meaning of Gone with the Wind’s ending is that Scarlett traded “today” for “tomorrow” and ended up missing something very important. However, Scarlett is a person with a strong will and a fighting spirit: she definitely did not accept the loss. Presumably, she will indeed do anything to get Rhett’s love back.

As for Mr. Butler himself, not everything is unambiguous in his attitude towards Scarlett. The most common interpretation says that Rhett will not return – “Who burned down, you will not set fire to.” Now he doesn’t give a damn about Scarlett’s love, her pleas and requests, which he directly says at the end. But many viewers in their analysis of Gone with the Wind believe that Rhett simply realized that now the ball is in his court. He will run away from her while she is chasing him, but he still has some feelings for her. It is possible that he will return to her, but by that time she will already “burn out” …

It is noteworthy that Mitchell did not love her heroine – she said more than once that she wrote a negative image. Apparently, after all, the finale of the work (both the book and the film) is not open, but unambiguous: its meaning lies in the fact that Scarlett is doomed to loneliness.

The meaning of the film

As in any good story, the meaning of the film “Gone with the Wind” cannot be defined in any unambiguous way.

Black-haired green-eyed Scarlett O’Hara is the daughter of a wealthy Irish landowner and planter and the first beauty of the region. This is not a secular lioness, but a butterfly who loves to flutter and have fun. And this girl finds herself in the epicenter of a typhoon whose name is civil war.

The southern troops in this conflict were defeated, slavery was abolished, the old world, based on the labor of black slaves, collapsed and crushed the survivors with its fragments. The O’Hara family, headed by the young Scarlett, like other families in the area, strove for one thing – to survive.

The first layer of Gone with the Wind is the tragedy of the southern states. It does not even consist in the fact that, due to the collapsed economy, many residents became impoverished and were put by circumstances on the brink of survival – but in the collapse of the notorious “lightness of being”.

The second (and most important) layer is the civil war itself. And this is not only about the fact that the ideological war between the North and the South has changed the way of life of absolutely everyone, but also about global politics.

war between south and northFrame from the film.

The bottom line is that the South decided to secede into a separate country – the Confederate States. The North strongly opposed this. Another cause of conflict was the slave system. The South was not ready to part with its wealth, built on the bloody sweat of black workers, while the North had long ago freed the slaves.

The confrontation between the North and the South, like any civil conflict, is not even a war of the “good” against the “bad” at all. If only because one of its sides were slaves working on plantations.

Many of them found themselves in a new world and gladly began to build a free life. However, many did not want any release and preferred to remain with their masters. There were those who advocated the abolition of slavery, but could not get used to a free life: they messed around, drank, robbed and raped. It was for this reason that the infamous Ku Klux Klan arose a little later …

The third layer is the story of Scarlett. We can say that Gone with the Wind is the story of the victory of the spirit over circumstances. Although, given the nature of the main character, we can talk about weed clinging to life.

Vivien LeighVivien Leigh as Scarlet O’Hara. Frame from the film.

It is believed that Scarlett in her life did not love anyone but herself. Life gave her a meeting with Rhett, who, like herself, cannot be called a positive character.

Scarlett has lived her whole life dreaming of Ashley. It was with a dream – he was a fictional image and the way she loved him never existed. Having lost the ideal, she, in fact, lost a part of herself. However, it can be assumed that, like a real weed, Scarlett will not give up and will now try to invent (and love) the lost, who has become inaccessible (like Ashley before) Rhett.

But Rhett Butler will never go back to her. The reason is clearly stated in the book: he “stopped watching her the way a cat watches a mouse.” That is, he initially wanted to conquer her, bind her to himself. But it didn’t work out. He betrayed her many times, and although he said that he liked her for who she is, in the end he began to torment her precisely for the very essence of her nature. Having received as his wife not the best person, but a uniquely strong personality, he tried to adjust it for himself. It didn’t work out.

As for Scarlett, she simply did not love him – she was not capable of that. Therefore, we can conclude that Gone with the Wind is not a romantic love story, but a tough and truthful movie (and book) about the ruined lives of two people.

The meaning of the name

The movie (and book) is called Gone with the wind. In English, this is a fixed expression. Its meaning is approximately the same as that of the simple phrase “Go to the grave.”

The idea of ​​Margaret Mitchell’s work was that the American South is a kind of colossus with feet of clay, that is, a civilization blown away by the wind.

american southFrame from the film.

The bottom line is that the South lived according to old traditions, corresponding to the 18th century. But the war broke out, and the North, symbolizing the new world, wiped out both the young cities and the “chivalric code” once tacitly adopted. Some adherents of the old values, such as Ashley, along with the loss of this “code”, have also lost the will to live. Some (Rhett and Scarlett), on the contrary, went to their goal, correcting their own principles.

The conscience and heart of the old South lived in people like Melanie. With her death came the final death of the great “southern civilization”, from which only fragments remained.

That is, the clue to the name lies in the fact that the old world turned into dust, which was carried away by the wind. Only people like Scarlett are able to survive in the new world, but even those lose themselves.

Similar films

Here are a few paintings that are similar in meaning to Gone with the Wind:

  • “Casablanca” (USA, 1942). Rick, the owner of a gambling club in Casablanca, meets an ex-lover, Ilsa. The girl asks him to help her husband, who is involved in anti-fascist activities;
  • “The Thorn Birds” (USA, 1983). The tragic story of the forbidden love of Maggie Cleary and the family’s confessor, Father Ralph de Bricassart;
  • “Cold Mountain” (USA, Italy, Romania, UK, 2003). Civil War. Inman, fighting in the Confederate forces, returns home, where his beloved Ada is waiting for him;
  • “Australia” (Australia, UK, USA, 2008). A dramatic epic about the love of an aristocrat and a cattle breeder against the background of the Second World War.

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