Margaret Mitchell’s classic novel, Gone With the Wind, was published eighty-five years ago today. Set during the Civil War, the story follows Scarlett O’Hara, the “spoiled” and “manipulative” daughter of a plantation owner. As she arrives into her womanhood, her life is forever changed by the Civil War. Scarlett’s romance with Rhett Butler is one of the most iconic relationships in all literature.
The novel spans the antebellum period, the Civil War itself, and the Reconstruction era. Aside from its historical themes, Mitchell successfully explores the “depth of human passions” through her iconic and complex characters. The novel was adapted into the beloved 1939 film starring Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable.
To celebrate Gone With the Wind on its eighty-fifth publication anniversary, enjoy these fifteen quotes from the novel!
1. “A startling thought this, that a woman could handle business matters as well as or better than a man, a revolutionary thought to Scarlett who had been reared in the tradition that men were omniscient and women none too bright.”
2. “The people who have brains and courage come through and the ones who haven’t are winnowed out.”
3. “Burdens are for shoulders strong enough to carry them.”
4. “It was better to know the worst than to wonder.”
5. “Until you’ve lost your reputation, you never realize what a burden it was or what freedom really is.”
6. “Death, taxes and childbirth! There’s never any convenient time for any of them.”
7. “Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect. We take what we get and are thankful it’s no worse than it is.”
8. “That is the one unforgivable sin in any society. Be different and be damned!”
9. “Vanity was stronger than love at sixteen and there was no room in her hot heart now for anything but hate.”
10. “Now you are beginning to think for yourself instead of letting others think for you. That’s the beginning of wisdom.”
11. She could not ignore life. She had to live it and it was too brutal, too hostile, for her even to try to gloss over its harshness with a smile.”
12. “[T]he merciful adjustment which nature makes when what cannot be cured must be endured.”
13. “A frost lay over all her emotions and she thought that she would never feel anything warmly again.”
14. “After all, tomorrow is another day.”
15. “I wish I could care what you do or where you go but I can’t…My dear, I don’t give a damn.”