“Most of the miseries of the world were caused by wars.
And, when the wars were over, no one ever knew what they were about.”
WHO: Ashley Wilkes
FROM: Gone With the Wind
BY: Margaret Mitchell
PROS: Handsome, honorable, sensitive, brave, intelligent. He’s everything as Southern Gentleman ought to be. He’s an idealist who longs for the bucolic, peaceful life he led before the war. He would have freed the slaves on Twelve Oaks once his father died (and he inherited them) if the War hadn’t done it for him.
CONS: Conflicted, weak and too easily manipulated by the women in his life. His romantic ideas of how the world ought to be are impractical in Reconstructionist Georgia.
Ashley Wilkes is representative of the Southern aristocrat who fights bravely in the war but finds himself confused and directionless in its aftermath. Ashley realizes that his absolutist convictions about honor and courage no longer have meaning in his world, but he is unable to take action. [Virginia.edu]