The novel’s main character is the volatile and self-centered Scarlett O’Hara, the daughter of an Irish Catholic planter in Georgia. When the War for Southern Independence finally begins, with the hearty approval of all of Scarlett’s beaus and friends from adjoining plantations, the men all leave to fight the Yankees. She marries one of the local boys to spite her sister, but she remains in love with Ashley Wilkes, who marries Melanie, a virtuous woman. An outsider, another self-centered rogue and blockade-running realist, Rhett Butler, sees Scarlett for what she is—a grasping, insincere, trouble-maker, much like himself. Inevitably, Scarlett’s husband, Hamilton, dies during Reconstruction defending Southern honor, and she marries Rhett, though still scheming to acquire Ashley Wilkes. She never succeeds.