My Reading Life by Pat Conroy:
Both Scarlett and Rhett are perfect representatives of the type of Southerner who prospered amid the ruins of a conquered nation. They both collaborated with the occupying army, both survived by embracing pragmatism and eschewing honor. Rhett and Scarlett are the two characters who let you know what the South will become. Ashley Wilkes and Melanie Hamilton Wilkes let you know what the South was and will never be again. The practicality of both Rhett and Scarlett make them the spiritual parents of Atlanta. Born of fire, Atlanta was the first Southern city to fall in love with the party of hustle and progress. The burning of Atlanta increased the city’s lack of roots and made it even more like Dayton than Charleston. Rhett and Scarlett were masterful at cutting deals and playing the percentages and not looking back, and they bequeathed these gifts to the reborn city itself.