This is the kind of thing that makes this novel so rewarding to re-read. Most novels, I will read and enjoy once, and have no particular interest in ever re-reading them. It's so wonderful to find new depths and textures in a novel with every re-read. This is such an interesting thread, I really do feel like looking up my copy and doing yet one more re-read - don't know if I have my old copy in my apartment, but I could always check out a library copy.One little irony that I've never picked up on in previous readings.... in the early scene where the family is relaxing after supper, waiting for Ellen to return, Careen is crying over a romance she's reading about a young woman who threatens to take the veil after the death of her lover. She had no idea that was her own mother's story.
I think you're right, MLE, about the resilience theme. One of the reasons I could stick with Scarlett as a main character, despite her flaws, was the sense that she had potential to grow as a person. Even when her adaptability seems to take her in an unpleasant direction, the very fact that she is so adaptable makes one feel she could grow in the right direction, as well. And she does - it's just that her growth tends to come too late to avert some serious heartbreak.
I've heard that Margaret Mitchell did plan to write a sequel, but her early death intervened. The novel does cry out for a sequel, but really, only Margaret Mitchell could have done justice to one. And maybe one of the reasons GWTW lingers so in the memory is because the ending is not completely resolved. One keeps turning the story over in one's mind, and asking whether Scarlett has really changed enough to make a relationship work. Despite everything she has been through, she's still quite young at the end of the novel.