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Notes on Gone with the Wind (3)

gonewind1War has ravaged the south and edged closer to Atlanta. After Atlanta has fallen, Scarlett harbors the hope that she will return to Tara to be with her parents were it not for the fact that Melanie, whom Ashley has entrusted to her care, is pregnant. meanwhile, the headbutting exchanges between Rhett Butler and Scarlett continue to entertain me. Her contradictory emotions, dictated by her pride, are the momentum of her wrestle with Rhett. He loves her being headstrong and independent, but she hates been seen through:

Scarlett was silent, embarrassed, for Melanie’s condition was not a subject she could discuss with a man. She was embarrassed, too, that Rhett should know it was dangerous for Melanie. Such knowledge sat ill upon a bachelor.
‘It’s quite ungallant of you not to think that I might get hurt, too,” she said tartly.
His eyes flickered with amusement.
‘I’d back you against the Yankees any day.’
‘I’m not sure that that’s a compliment,’ she said uncertainly.
‘It isn’t,’ he answered. ‘When will you stop looking for compliments in men’s lightest utterances?’
‘When I’m on my deathbed,’ she replied and smiled, thinking that there would always be men to compliment her, even if Rhett never did
‘Vanity, vanity,’ he said. ‘At least, you are frank about it.’ [325]

She might be snapping at Rhett but she is testing the water to see how far she can go and secretly entertains that this is what Rhett likes about her.

‘No? But then you lack the impersonal viewpoint. My impression has been for some time past that you could hardly endure Mrs. Wilkes [Melanie]. You think her silly and stupid and her patriotic notions bore you. You seldom pass by the opportunity to slip in some belittling remark about her, so naturally it seems strange to me that you should elect to do the unselfish thing and stay here with her during this shelling. Now, just why did you do it?’
‘Because she’s Charlie’s sister—and like a sister to me,’ answered Scarlett with as much dignity as possible though her cheeks were growing hot.
‘You mean because she’s Ashley Wilkes’ widow.’
Scarlett rose quickly, struggling with her anger. [325]

Secretly and desperately she longs for the note in man’s voices that presages a declaration of love. But that heightening anticipation never delivers because Rhett Butler would fling at her a sarcastic remark that annihilates the softening dynamics. Not to mention she will flare up and remember that awful humiliation of the day he witnessed her slapping Ashley.

War might have transformed Scarlett, or she is forced to conform to the cruel reality of sustaining not only her life but everyone who is dependent on her. Forgotten are all the luxuries and beaus who might pay courtship to the self-centered Scarlett. The true testimony of her “metamorphosis” comes when, at wit’s end and that the doctor has his hand full attending to wounded soldiers, that she and the salve girl Prissy are to deliver Melanie’s baby.

Although she finds grief in returning to Tara, it dawns on her that Tara is her fate, her fight, and she must conquer the battle. Until now, Scarlett has never occurred to me as heroic, although she is the heroine of the novel.

What was past was past. Those who were dead were dead. The lazy luxury of the old days was gone, never to return. And, as sarlett settled the heavy basket across her arm, she had settled her own mind and her own life. [407]

“They were all afraid of her sharp tongue, all afraid of the new person who walked in her body.” [411]

Recap:
Notes on Gone with the Wind, Part 1
Notes on Gone with the Wind, Part 2

Further Reading, Who’s Also reading GWTW:
Book Bath: Week 1
Kiss a Cloud: Gone with the Wind, Part 1
Kiss a Cloud: Gone with the Wind, Part 2
Life is a Patchwork Quilt: Gone with the Wind, Part 1
Life is a Patchwork Quilt: Gone with the Wind, Part 2
You’ve Gotta Read This: Gone with the Wind, Week 1
You’ve Gotta Read This: Gone with the Wind, Week 2

Please leave me a link to your posts on the novel. Don’t worry about falling behind in reading. I want you to enjoy what you’re reading.

5 Responses

  1. Even though I haven’t read this far, it is my favorite part of the movie. Scarlett’s strength of character, when she truly needs it, comes shining through in her no-nonsense character. I like this side of her the best. I also love the bantering between her and Rhett. He is probably the only person on earth that really has her number!

  2. I am just a litte past this point.

    Check my blog for a housewife kit picture.

    I am trying to find out what cornpone is. She will be eating that soon.

  3. I love the Rhett and Scarlett’s headbutting exchanges, too. But more than that, I really enjoyed Scarlett’s hilarious conversations with Prissy. And we both used the word metamorphosis for Scarlett here. 😀

    I’m really enjoying this and might continue on the next section immediately instead of reading something else in between this time. My post is here: http://kissacloud.blogspot.com/2009/03/something-that-was-youth-and-beauty.html

  4. […] Notes on Gone with the Wind Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Notes on Gone with the Wind (2)Gone with […]

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