Melanie’s perspective on Scarlett is shaped through subjective experiences with her, which Melanie saw as being helpful, protective, and supportive, despite that many of them were done under duress. Melanie has strongly patriotic ties to the Old South, and is so much respected in social circles that if she says something is permissible rather than scandalous, such as bidding on dances to raise money for the war effort, the others accept it without question. Melanie has a somewhat romanticized view of the past, and is a down to earth and practical woman. She also finds it hard to let go of the past (“But Scarlett, how can you do business with these people?”). Change is somewhat difficult for Melanie, and she does not have much interest in romanticism or exploring greater possibilities; but I find it hard to believe that she isn’t aware of the romantic tension between Scarlett and her husband. It’s just that Melanie loves Ashley so much, and understands him on a level that he cannot explain, that she knows there is no real threat to their relationship, at least on his part. Melanie often offers enormously helpful and true emotional insights into Rhett based on his behavior that she has discerned from reading between the lines (“That isn’t true; he loves you a great deal”). She has such an open, warm, and loving heart lacking in any kind of malicious judgment that she accepts and warmly responds to everyone, regardless of social station, earning their undying admiration in return. Melanie offers unwavering support wherever it is needed, from comforting Scarlett and defending her against various accusations, to wanting to give her husband another child at the risk of her own life. She justifies all Rhett’s decisions by giving him the benefit of the doubt, and accepts Belle’s help in supporting the war effort. Though others see her as naïve, Melanie comes up with creative and rational reasons for everyone else’s behavior; they may be based on her admiration and love for them, which makes it hard for her to see them in a negative light, but are also tied to logic and common sense (knowing why Scarlett makes the decisions she does, suggesting they get rid of all the evidence of murder, and talking Rhett into burying his daughter).

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Melanie gets under Scarlett’s skin because she is obliging, mild-mannered, always above reproach, and kind. She thinks of herself as a burden on Scarlett and feels sorry for her, when Scarlett is stuck helping her deliver the baby when she could flee Atlanta. She makes “everything all right,” even things that are not all right… she must be aware of Scarlett’s feelings for her husband and is choosing to ignore them. She re-frames them into something pleasant and good, because she cannot stand to think ill of those she cares about (something that endears her to Rhett). Scarlett deserves a telling off for her behavior with Ashley at the mill, but instead Melanie invites her in, honors her, and does not judge her. When Rhett is so upset about losing Bonnie, Melanie is able to soothe over his feelings, reassure him, and talk him down into being reasonable and allowing for a burial. Her ability to be open-minded with others makes her a good mediator.