1. Education
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

'Gone With the Wind' Summary

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating


Gone With the Wind

Gone With the Wind

Macmillan Publishers

The Bottom Line

Published in 1936, Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind has been banned on social grounds. The book has been called "offensive" and "vulgar" because of the language and characterization. Words like "damn" and "whore" were scandalous. Also, the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice disapproved of Scarlett's multiple marriages. The term used to describe slaves was also offensive to readers.

The book joins books like Joseph Conrad's The Nigger of Narcissus, Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird, Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin and Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.


  • Bestselling American literary classic
  • Chronicled the time during (and after) the Civil War
  • Timeless love story


  • Melodramatic
  • Banned and censored for offensive language


  • Title: Gone With the Wind
  • Author: Margaret Mitchell
  • Type of Work & Genre: bildungsroman; romance novel; historical fiction
  • Time & Place (Setting): 1861–1870s; Atlanta & Tara
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
  • Publication Date: 1936
  • Narrator: anonymous

Guide Review - 'Gone With the Wind' Summary

Gone With the Wind is the famous and controversial American novel by American writer, Margaret Mitchell. Here, she draws us into the lives and experiences of a myriad of colorful characters during (and after) the Civil War. Like William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Mitchell paints a romantic tale of star-crossed lovers, torn apart and brought back together--through the tragedies and comedies of human existence.

Margaret Mitchell wrote, "If Gone With the Wind has a theme it is that of survival. What makes some people come through catastrophes and others, apparently just as able, strong, and brave, go under? It happens in every upheaval. Some people survive; others don't. What qualities are in those who fight their way through triumphantly that are lacking in those that go under? I only know that survivors used to call that quality 'gumption.' So I wrote about people who had gumption and people who didn't."

The title of the novel is taken from Ernest Dowson's poem, "Non Sum Qualis eram Bonae Sub Regno Cynarae." In the poem, there's the line: "I have forgot much, Cynara! gone with the wind."

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.