Scarlett is reeling, and justifiably so. The loss of Melanie is sufficiently stunning, yet now Scarlett, never given to self-reflection, understands how her life has been spent in the quest for something that was just a fantasy. She has the duty of taking care of the new family: Ashley and Aunt Pittypat will surely require her help, and India as well, in spite of the fact that India most likely will not have any desire to acknowledge it. Scarlett has demonstrated zero interest in thinking about others, despite having performed her obligations. Presently she must shoulder a radically new problem. It is not a surprise that she needs a brief period alone.
Scarlett’s dreams have been a repeating component all through the book, yet the terrible dream has now come to life. This dream has reduced Scarlett to her most defenseless “little girl” condition. It takes this “life flashing before the eyes” for her to acknowledge what the reader has suspected for some time: Rhett is the man she needs and adores. Scarlett has a “life flashing before her eyes” moment as she ultimately perceives every one of the occasions when Rhett upheld her, tested her in the correct way, or did what he could to make her happy. Scarlett is so stunned by her reality that she can hardly wait to pass it to Rhett. She hopes that they can at last be together happily.