I read Gone with the Wind several years ago. If I remember right, the first time was in the mid-90s. I read it again 3-4 years ago, to re-confirm that my take on it remains the same.
My sympathies are with Scarlett O’Hara. I could relate to many of her feelings, reactions and thoughts (even some of the nastiest ones!). Not every one (except us – the readers) understood her, how she struggled, what she endured for the family and in return, never got anything. Margaret Mitchell claims in several places that Rhett alone understood Scarlett, and I have heard other fans of the novel repeating those words. Rhett probably loved her for what he saw in her but he could never be there for her when she wanted, the way she wanted. His mocking attitude always put her off and kept her away from him, and more than once he dropped her and went his way when she needed him the most. When she lay unwell after her accident, he locked himself up in his room and never went to her. She lay there expecting him every moment, wanting him near her, nevertheless knowing that he would not come. Had he known her well, he would have been at her side through her tragedy.
But we should not forget the fact that he too was human, and could not behave like the perfect (ideal) man. Any man or woman who finds themselves unwanted by those they love would probably react just the way Rhett did.
Whatever feeling it evokes in the reader, the book keeps you entertained throughout its endless pages, and ensures you read till the end to form your own judgment, and sometimes leaves you eager for more. Which is why, despite my belief that sequels generally are not as interesting as the original, I went for Scarlett, the sequel to Gone with the Wind. It was a disappointment, to say the least. The author wanted a reconciliation between Scarlett and Rhett, and ended up making Margaret Mitchell’s characters not truly themselves. There was no way in which I could relate the well-defined, powerful characters of the original with the loose, flexible ones of the sequel. And the author of the sequel failed miserably in her attempts to recreate an age that she knew nothing of.