Michy said: Mitchell created characters so complex and multi-faceted that they can be interpreted different ways by different people.
That, and for the sake of criticism it's easy to focus on one aspect of a character and not do justice to another.
About Ellen losing her baby sons...
I always felt this was one of the reasons that Ellen extended herself so much to provide medical care to others in need. By the time we meet her, she's been spreading herself too thin. In some ways, I think Gerald O'Hara was her Frank Kennedy. He saved her from a life she was desparately ready to escape after feeling so heartbroken (and unforgiving, probably) about Philippe. Remember when Scarlett says to herself she's going to be good to Frank (but of course she can't deny her own nature so she isn't), but Ellen, being so different, was good to Gerald in her own quiet way. She may not have loved him, but partnered with him in all the ways a wife was expected to for a successful marriage. And Gerald worshipped her and was so very grateful. That was my impression of them.
LoveHistory said: Somebody mentioned Rhett being more people smart than Scarlett was. I think the reasons for that are two-fold: 1) different, more analytical temperament; 2) 17 years older than Scarlett--no matter how bright she was she could never match his life experience.
I thought it very telling toward the end when we get inside Rhett's head and he's musing about their age difference. He's 45, not a young man anymore, and grief and alcohol are beginning show on him. Scarlett is only 26 or 27, and he realizes that she's just reached her prime and it would be years yet before age will mellow her into someone who has settled and reached her potential. He'd be an old man if he waited that long for Scarlett.
I think there will always be those of us who must take a longer, more difficult road in the maturing process. The lessons Scarlett has to learn about love aren't easy even for most people. The book tells us she decided she loved Ashley at age 14. She's 16 at the picnic.
Michy said: my guess would be that Mitchell chose not to probe the issue of slavery more deeply simply because that was not the type of story she wanted to tell.
This is how I've always felt about the book. I can't fault an author for not delving deeply into something that is outside the scope of her story. It was afterall from the viewpoint of white landowners. I was surprised to find that some of the more prejudicial scenes in the novel were very uncomfortable to read now. I think that just shows how far our society has come since Mitchell wrote her story.