In any story, setting is important. In Gone With the Wind, the entire story is based around the setting. The story takes place in Georgia just as it has succeeded from the Union.
The civil war is impending on the southern states. There is constant talk about the war. The mindset of the characters is affected this. They are all ready for war and do not want any northern control. They are almost excited for the war, which we now know goes poorly for them. In most cases, I feel that people are not typically excited to start a war, but it was top of most of the towns peoples minds.
Scarlett is sixteen and believes that she should be married by this point in her life. She believes that she is behind where she should be. She is in love with her cousin, which was also acceptable because of the place and time period. Also, she is somewhat uneducated. The author made a point to say that she has not picked up a book since her formal schooling was over. In her family it was not deemed as important as it should have been. I believe that it is because there was less of a “need” for women of the time to be educated.
Scarlett has to keep in mind the social norms of the time period. There are certain clothes that she is allowed to wear at certain times of the day, and her eating habits reflect her image of needing to be a proper young woman. She is going to a party and she wants to wear a dress, but their norms say that she cannot wear a dress that shows cleavage before three in the afternoon. Scarlett is also forced to eat until she cannot eat anymore before she goes to any party, because it would be impolite or unladylike to eat more than a bird in front of the men that she is trying to impress. She complains that she has to entertain men that she has no interest in, and again, she does it because she is expected to. Scarlett does not want to follow any of the social norms and wants to have control over seemingly small things. The setting is important to the problems that she has with norms, because it was the proper way to behave during the mid 1800’s. The norms are now irrelevant in our society.