The Great Gone With the Wind Readalong – Part 3 (Chapters 17-30)

And…we’re back. Welcome to The Great Gone With the Wind Readalong, Part 3!

Before We Get Started | Chapter 17 | Chapter 18 | Chapter 19 | Chapter 20 | Chapter 21 | Chapter 22 | Chapter 23 | Chapter 24 | Chapter 25 | Chapter 26 | Chapter 27 | Chapter 28 | Chapter 29 | Chapter 30 | Discussion Prompts

Before We Get Started…

A Civil War-era nurse (hopefully a bit more merciful than Scarlett!)

Huge question…are we going too slowly? When you respond, please let me know and I will weigh the options. Right now we are scheduled to discuss Part 4 (Chapters 31-47) on Monday, September 26, but if the consensus is that we are going too slowly, I will move it up a week. Let me know!

Secondly, thanks to the many people (too many to count) who have responded and participated thus far. What an amazing group! Congratulations to Sarah Williams, who won a copy of The Authentic South of Gone With the Wind! This week’s prize is a signed copy of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind: A Bestseller’s Odyssey, by the incomparable Ellen F. Brown and John Wiley. This book is as fascinating as GWTW itself and belongs on any fan’s bookshelf…thanks, Ellen and John, for donating a copy!  I’ll choose a random commenter before the next week’s installment. 

Part 3

Things really pick up in this section…and this time, just to change things up, I’m going to summarize each chapter with a notable quote.

Chapter 17

“I won’t go back to the hospital if they hang me! My goodness, I didn’t start this war and I don’t see any reason why I should be worked to death and–”

Scarlett ditches her hospital duties, sees slaves from Tara, and faces the idea of a siege in Atlanta.  Read more about The Atlanta Campaign.

Comment to win a signed copy of Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind!

 

Chapter 18

“Good heavens, Miss Pitty! This is war time. We can’t think of the proprieties now. We must think of Miss Melly.”

Pitty ditches Scarlett and Scarlett faces the idea of delivering Melly’s baby in Atlanta. More information about Civil War-era maternity and pregnancy.

Chapter 19

Dear,” he said quietly, “I am complimenting your intelligence by asking you to be my mistress without having first seduced you.”

Rhett makes Scarlett an indecent proposal in what has got to be one of the sexiest moments in non-explicit literature.  For an idea of just how inappropriate/unheard-of his proposal was, check out this description of courtship rituals in the antebellum South.

Chapter 20

“If I should die, will you take my baby?”

Melly enters labor pains in a hushed, humid Atlanta.

Chapter 21

“Fo’ Gawd, Miss Scarlett! We’s got ter have a doctah. Ah — Ah — Miss Scarlett, Ah doan know nuthin’ ’bout bringin’ babies.”

Scarlett visits the railroad depot to find Doctor Meade and must face the fact that Melly’s baby will be brought by her and Prissy’s inexpert hands.  Railroad depot, 1864.

Chapter 22

“Yes, Ma’am. You see, the Yankees are coming.”

The baby is brought, and it’s time to escape! The baby boy delivered, Scarlett sends Prissy to find Captain Butler.

Chapter 23

“I will go home!” she cried. “I will! I will!”

Scarlett ropes Captain Butler into escorting her, Melly, Wade, Prissy and the baby out of Atlanta…he obliges, to a point, and leaves her on the road to Rough and Ready after a breathtaking declaration.  What about the people who stayed in Atlanta?  Some of them camped out in “bombproofs” to escape bombardment.

Chapter 24

The Burning of Atlanta - Harper's Weekly

“Just a few more steps,” hummed her brain, over and over, “just a few more steps for to tote the weary load.”

Scarlett makes it to Tara…only to find utter devastation.  “Tote the weary load” is a lyric from My Old Kentucky Home, which Rhett sings with Scarlett, and was considered by MM as a potential book title.

Chapter 25

“If I have to steal or kill — as God is my witness, I’m never going to be hungry again.”

Scarlett awakens to assess the wreckage of Tara and her life and resolves that the family plantation is worth fighting for.

Chapter 26

She had killed a man, she who took care never to be in at the kill on a hunt, she who could not bear the squealing of a hog at slaughter or the squeak of a rabbit in a snare. Murder! she thought dully. I’ve done murder. Oh, this can’t be happening to me!

Scarlett kills a Yankee deserter…and is helped by an unlikely ally. And on a visit to Grandma Fontaine, she learns that facing the worst that can happen can change a woman. Fascinating article on desertion in the Rebel and Yankee ranks.

Chapter 27

“Be a little man, Wade. They’re only a passel of damn Yankees.”

Yankees return to Tara and burn what they don’t take. Melanie saves Scarlett, who must admit that she’s good in a pinch.  Slave perspectives post-Civil War explained, briefly.

Chapter 28

“Daytime is enough like a nightmare without my dreaming things.”

Scarlett encounters a recurring dream about hunger, and entertains Frank Kennedy over Christmas.  First-hand accounts of the surrender at Appomattox.

Dead horse on Civil War battlefield. To give you an idea of the devastation, it is estimated that 50% of all horses in Arkansas died during the Civil War.

 

Chapter 29

“Melly,” she said, “What’s going to happen to Southern girls?”

The war is over, and the neighbors respond.  Fascinating portrait of Civil War widows.

Chapter 30

“After all, he’s her husband, ain’t he?”

Will Benteen comes to Tara…and Ashley returns to Melanie.

Discussion Prompts

Feel free to respond to some of these questions to get the discussion going. There’s no right or wrong answer!

Thoughts on Part 3? It is rumored that Margaret Mitchell wrote this entire section in one big chunk, and it certainly reads that way. I can very well remember looking up after reading this section for the first time and being amazed that it wasn’t a sultry summer’s evening.

Siege: The war finally in her backyard, Scarlett is forced to flee. What does the war do to Scarlett? What about her renewed love of Tara?

Trauma:This is probably one of the more traumatic sections of the book. How did the trauma affect you, the reader? What do you make of the nightmarish quality of this section? How does trauma affect the characters?

Slavery: MM’s portrayal of Prissy is controversial at best. What do you think of Prissy and the other slave characters in this section?

Sex: Talk about sexy…Rhett finally declares himself in infuriating fashion. What do you make of it? And what do you make of Scarlett’s terror of childbirth even though she herself has a child?

The little details: More details…which ones stood out?

Minor Characters: The neighbors and the slaves are back…which ones did you love/hate/wonder about?

Tags: , ,
  • Anonymous

    Well, I would personally like to go a little faster, the every 2 weeks seems to work well for me, but if other people prefer the 3 week pace for these longer sections, I can abide by that.

    I had totally forgotten about Will’s existence, I really like him. Too bad Scarlett could never end up with a nice, stable guy like him.

    This section of the book really picked up the pace big time. Between the burning of Atlanta and Yankee deserters, I think I read this almost straight through. Mitchell sure knew how to keep up a person’s interest!

    • http://www.theheroinesbookshelf.com Erin Blakemore

      I think it’s interesting that she respects Will in kind of the same pragmatic way she respects Rhett — for his good common sense. 

  • Katie

    I was going to particpate, but I’ve finished the book.  I’m a fast reader. 

    • http://www.theheroinesbookshelf.com Erin Blakemore

      Feel free to add to the discussion if you’d like, Katie! You’re always welcome.

  • Angela

    I was going to participate but I’m SUCH a slower reader! :-( Still trying to catch up….

    • http://www.theheroinesbookshelf.com Erin Blakemore

      You’re welcome whenever, Angela!  We’re happy to have you. 

  • Deborah

    I was amazed at how Scarlett had never done a thing for herself such as pick up her clothes off the floor or even tie her own shoes.  Then, at 19, she is responsible for a plantation, an addled father, and all the people on Tara.  She has to do some very quick growing up. 

    • http://www.theheroinesbookshelf.com Erin Blakemore

      It’s so hard to remember that she is just 19 after this section…life hits HARD. 

  • http://twitter.com/katiengibson Katie Noah Gibson

    I could do with a bit faster pace – I actually put the book down for a while so I wouldn’t get too far ahead. (Of course, this section in particular is tough to read slowly!)

    I think this section is where we start to see Scarlett’s toughness emerge – despite her stubborn will, she has previously been a spoiled, pampered Southern belle. But there’s nothing easy about delivering Melanie’s baby, escaping Atlanta as it burns, facing the devastation at Tara and killing a Yankee – and Scarlett triumphs in every situation. (I had forgotten about Grandma Fontaine’s wise words – I think she’s almost prophetic.)

    I love Will – he’s so gentle and kind, but stronger and wiser than most folks give him credit for. He respects Scarlett, but he won’t kowtow to her – and he does his best not to let her come between Melanie and Ashley.

    I’d forgotten about the County neighbors and their wartime struggles, portrayed here – and my heart broke right along with Scarlett’s as she visited each family. What a horribly helpless feeling, and a helpless time for many Southern women.

    • http://www.theheroinesbookshelf.com Erin Blakemore

      Characteristically, Scarlett sees the County people through her own struggles and doesn’t take them as seriously as she ought, although you can see some sympathy emerging since their lot is her lot.  They’re really a coup in terms of characterization, aren’t they?  Kind of the Greek chorus/alternate view of things/counterpoint throughout the book.

  • Lady T

     Scarlett really has to grow up fast,between Melly’s baby and the war hot on their heels literally! I did wonder if Melanie would be given a C-section back in those days and according to what I found,the first successful one performed in the US was in 1794 in what is now West Virginia by a doctor on his own wife(the first “modern” C-section was done in 1881 over in Europe). I don’t know if Doctor Meade was that knowable of such new techniques-my guess would be that he would rely heavily on the use of forceps for poor Melanie’s  delivery.

     Back to Scarlett and Rhett;I did notice during these chapters that there were at least three or four times where she caught her skirt on a corner/pointed edge while trying to make a huffy exit and each time Rhett gladly turned her loose. Sort of a subtle hint that Scarlett can’t distance herself from him as much as she wants to and that Rhett enjoys being the one to bail her out of trouble,in my opinion.

     As to the speed of this read,I’m fine with it but willing to go either faster or slower to keep pace with everyone else,because these discussions are worth the wait.

    • http://www.theheroinesbookshelf.com Erin Blakemore

      Good eye, Lady T!  Yes, the caught skirt is a favorite device when it comes to Rhett and Scarlett…I can’t help but think the skirt part has some good sexual symbolism as well. 

      As for the C-section, it amazed me that though Scarlett knew that Melanie was too narrow for childbearing, she seemed innocent of many of the vital details of childbirth.  Though God knows I wouldn’t want to bring a baby with or without medical intervention…

  • Risa

    I must admit to be a very impatient reader. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve finished the book and written my thoughts on it.

    I think this section had me fluctuating a great deal on what I thought of Scarlet. I think we see her true self being put to the test. We see a strong woman emerging, but also a rather stern caricature of a spoilt child? I felt terrible for her, though, as she waited for Dr Meade to come. I can only imagine how helpless and frightened she must have felt. This scene reminded me of one I’d read in The Shadow of the Moon by M M Kaye – another novel along epic proportions. The heroine is having a baby, and the hero leaves her and her friends to get through the whole process. He waits an entire day, hearing her shrieks of pain, and wonders why the baby isn’t born yet. He goes up to see what’s taking so long only to find that the heroine and her two friends haven’t a clue what to do! All of these young ladies are products of a prude generation.

    I’m not sure why MM’s portrayal of Prissy should be controversial. I felt we saw many kinds of personalities in the slaves. The only thing they all definitely had in common was that they were so dependent on their masters/mistresses. They couldn’t think for themselves?…not all of them, but to many degrees. However, I suppose this is highly likely with a race that has had no eduction, especially in a land that was foreign to them over a generation or two ago. I could help thinking of whatever little I’d read from Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication on the Rights of Woman – that if women were educated their minds would be less occupied by trivial things, they would be able to think for themselves, and they would be companions, instead of mere child-bearing machines, to their husbands. The same concept works here, me thinks.

    Btw, I couldn’t help laughing over how Prissy makes her way back to the house. MM’s description of her loitering along the street, flirting with her skirts at make-believe observers. I kept re-read it twice or thrice and enjoyed the bit of comedy in those well chosen  words.

    I was fascinated by how the Fontaine women had survived. I also enjoyed the conversation between Grandma Fontaine and Scarlet. Speaking of which, I found that it always annoyed me that Scarlet was really quite stupid about many things mainly because they did not revolve around her. She is so completely literal that if she doesn’t see how something can concern her everything just goes over her head!

    • http://www.theheroinesbookshelf.com Erin Blakemore

      I’ll have to check out The Shadow of the Moon! 

      As for the portrayal of Prissy, I think it’s controversial because she is shown as so dim-witted (even though you can see that much of that is simply put on).  I remember reading about Butterfly McQueen’s struggles to portray the character on screen and her portrayal is still talked about to this day. 

      I agree re the “products of a prude generation”…yet another reason why I’m a huge proponent of sex education, and that’s still controversial today!  No use living in the dark ages where people have no idea where the baby comes from, even if they’ve given birth themselves.  *shakes head*

      • Risa

        True!…and that puts me in mind of how everyone (save Rhett) treats pregnancy as an embarrassment, rather than a natural and joyful state of being. I think I was more mad at the men than I was at the women!

        Shadow of the Moon is lovely, btw! It’s a favourite.:)

  • Colleen

    I’m a fairly fast reader and this isn’t my first time reading this book but I like the every three weeks pace.  With school back in session, I’m finding my time to read and respond even more limited.  I thought when my kids were older the need to drive them everywhere would lessen….But if everyone wants to pick up the pace, I’ll adjust or just contribute late.

    Anyway, back to the subject at hand:  Scarlett had to do some super fast growing up.  I admired the fact that even though she’d always been spoiled she realized what had to be done and started doing it.  Yes, she complained, and I wish she was a little less of a bully, but when it got right down to it, if they were going to have a hope of surviving, somebody was going to have to get it done.  I was glad when Will came on the scene, I’d forgotten about him.  I really liked the character of Grandma Fontaine, and thought her frank talk with Scarlett was just what she needed, even if she (Scarlett) didn’t appreciate all of it. 

    Rhett, I continue to love although he does have some less than admirable qualities, I was annoyed all over again at his indecent proposal (although I probably would have have taken him up on it, lol:), and although he got the girls on the road to Tara, I didn’t really like his desertion of them. 

    I felt bad for Gerald, and really admired Dilcey.  Pork, steps up in helping to provide food, and Mammy helps in caring for the girls but their reluctance and Prissy’s general worthlessness in helping in the fields just because they weren’t raised that way was, this read around, and eye rolling experience (I’ve been doing some much needed deep cleaning around the house and the resistance I’m encountering from my family probably contributed to this).  Really there was a lot to digest in this section and I’m sure there were more notable moments that I just can’t think of at this moment.

    • http://www.theheroinesbookshelf.com Erin Blakemore

      LOL – I would have taken Rhett up on his proposal, too!  I’m surprised Scarlett holds out for so long. 

    • Risa

      I admired Dilcey too! Mammy was something f let down in this section. I think she was for Scarlett too. I felt terrible for Scarlett at this point…no one to turn to for support and protection, but at such a young age having to be the supporter and protector to many.

      I was rather startled by Rhett’s proposal. But then it was only for a second, cause then I remember the kind of man he is.:D…. I also believe, Rhett so Scarlett as he did himself. He knew he could survive anything, and he knew the same of her….which is likely why he had no qualms about leaving her with the helpless to find her way home.

  • Diane (bookchickdi)

    This is my favorite part of the whole book, the part where Scarlett grows up and takes charge. What would have happened to Melly and everyone at Tara if Scarlett didn’t step up? All she wanted was her mother, and to find her dead devastated her. Scarlett should have been able to count on her father, but Gerald was no help. If they were all to survive, it was up to Scarlett. I admired her steely reserve and because of what she did here, I am able to forgive her later actions.
    I had always wished that Will Benteen was in the movie version; he is a fantastic character, and one of the few people Scarlett could truly count on.
    The details of the siege of Atlanta and the fallout of war are so real. It really made me think of how the survivors of war, the women and children left behind, live with the effects of war long after the fighting is over.
    I did find the portrayal of Prissy and the other slaves troubling, especially in this section. I find it interesting that the portrayal of African- Americans is topical again with the book and movie The Help. 
    I read Part Three in a few hours, so I would be willing to go to 2 weeks between parts if everyone is comfortable with that.

    • http://www.theheroinesbookshelf.com Erin Blakemore

      I LOVE Will Benteen! In my fantasy TV adaptation of Gone With the Wind that leaves in all of the children/characters/long detailed parts, there would be lavish time spent on Will.  :)

      Can you elaborate about your feelings re the treatment of Prissy and the slaves if you get a chance?  I would love to hear your perspective.

      • Diane (bookchickdi)

        I first read GWTW when I was in 8th grade, and the narrative in the voice of the slaves took a little getting used to, but I was not sophisticated enough to see the deeper issue. Now when I read it, I find myself cringing. (Especially the scene where Scarlett runs into the slaves from Tara who had been conscripted by the army.)
        The slaves in the novel are treated like children, but the reality of slavery was much different. Margaret Mitchell grew up hearing stories about the antebellum days from her ancestors, and so her perspective came from that. The reality of the horrors of war are dealt with so realistically, it’s hard to juxtapose that with the unrealistic treatment of the slaves in the novel. The issue of slavery is such a shameful one for our country, and one that certainly was not dealt with honestly in the 1930s, when this novel was written. Looking at it from a 21st century perspective, it is understandable why so many people  have a serious issue with the book.

        • http://www.theheroinesbookshelf.com Erin Blakemore

          Thank you for your in-depth reply.  I am of two minds about the slavery portrayal.  On the one hand I feel that it’s shameful, on the other hand I worry that people will get so upset about it that they will discount the other good qualities of the book.  I think it’s unconscionable NOT to discuss those issues and consider them when weighing the “greatness” or relevance of the book, and I think it gets really interesting when you consider the reaction of both  the white and African-American community to issues of slavery when the book was initially published and adapted in the 30s.  I’m going to try to dig up some further reading on this for the next section. 

      • Deborah

        I like Will, too.  He has good common sense and works hard.  Who would you cast as Will in a movie?

        • http://www.theheroinesbookshelf.com Erin Blakemore

          Wow, I would be a crappy casting director :)  You could do worse than Richard Brake, who was in Cold Mountain: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0104114/

    • http://www.pagesofjulia.wordpress.com Julia

      Diane, I’m so glad you brought up The Help… I’m troubled my our mass media’s (and general population’s) happy acceptance of old stereotypes. I’ve been watching Mammy (and Pork, and Prissy) and the reception of The Help, and seeing lots of tie-ins. There are some good articles out there questioning, and bringing to light, these old issues… but the mainstream seems unaware. Thanks for mentioning it.

  • Anonymous

    As to the speed of reading, I wouldn’t mind going faster as I had already finished Part 2 way before the deadline and then forgot about checking in for discussion. In Part 3 I feel so badly for the way little Wade is neglected. Scarlett’s treatment of him astonishes me and makes it really hard for me to sympathize with her, even though I know she is going through Hell. I’m glad he at least has Aunt Melly to give him some love and affection. The one redeeming thing Scarlett does is to save Charles’ sword for him, and then she ends up regretting that!

    • Risa

      Oh, yes! The only person that concerned me wholly at this point was Wade. (I’d forgotten!) I kept thinking of my little son, and it hurt that this little boy was so neglected. Goodness know what my boy thought every time I suddenly grabbed him and hugged him close while I was reading this section!!

      • http://www.theheroinesbookshelf.com Erin Blakemore

        Poor child.  I’m amazed he doesn’t have severe developmental problems stemming from his neglect…thank goodness for Melly.

        • Deborah

          I’m confused as to why he is called Wade Hampton.  Isn’t his last name Hamilton, or is his middle name Hampton?  Maybe I missed something. 

          • http://www.theheroinesbookshelf.com Erin Blakemore

            Apparently it was the fashion to name children after the commander of the regiment in which their father served.  Here’s a bit about the real Wade Hampton (and yes, the book Wade was Wade Hampton Hamilton): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wade_Hampton_III

  • Lauri

    I recently finished the book so it doesn’t matter to me how fast we go, but I’d consider what the people still reading would prefer.
    I find this section hard to read.  Things just keep getting worse and worse.
    I do love Will, “After all, he’s her husband, ain’t he?”  He may be poor and uneducated.  However, he has perception that Ashley greatly lacks, and he isn’t the mercenary that Rhett is.  I wish he and Carreen had gotten together.
    As for Prissy, she really bugs me.  As written, I believe she just truly is one of the annoying members of the human race, and there are those both black and white.  Why didn’t MM give her any redeeming qualities?  Of course, she lived in 1930s Atlanta – would she really have any experience in her social world to see the injustice?

    • http://www.theheroinesbookshelf.com Erin Blakemore

      It is a hard section, huh?  And I agree re Prissy…she really is a tough character to encounter (in life or in books). 

  • Baba1050

    I first read GWTW when I was 8 years old back in 1958 and have re-read it many,many,many times. Every time I read it I take something new away with me.  It is truly the most wonderful book ever written in my estimation.  I read a lot but, I always go back to my all time favorite character Scarlett. I love her passion and her courage…..what a great idea…I will try and read along with you!

    • http://www.theheroinesbookshelf.com Erin Blakemore

      Welcome!

  • http://MadelineMora-Summonte.blogspot.com Madeline

    Something that surprised me as I re-read this section (actually as I re-read the book) was how interested/moved/affected I was by so many of the secondary characters and their fates – Mr. Wilkes going to fight on Mrs. Tarleton’s favorite horse, Nellie, and neither of them returning, him never getting to see his grandchild. Scarlett’s mother dead (and calling for Phillipe at the end!). Grandma Fontaine, all the neighbors. Poor Cathleen Calvert! And I so wanted Will to marry Careen! So many of these stories broke my heart…

    • http://www.theheroinesbookshelf.com Erin Blakemore

      I found the Mr. Wilkes stuff very affecting this go round.  It showed me that even in her cluelessness, Scarlett really does love something about the Wilkses, whether it’s what they stand for or the childhood memories or whatever. 

  • JaneGS

    I love the pace and hope you stick to the original schedule. This is an umpteenth reread and I like being able to stop and notice the details and not feel compelled to rush ahead for plot points.

    I’m a Will fan too and enjoy seeing how integral he quietly becomes to Tara. The scenes with the neighbors are interesting–from Sally Munroe riding out to warn of the Yankees and Cathleen Calvert marrying a former overseer. When I read about Wade overcoming his fear to ask for his father’s saber,I felt sure that MM had incorporated a story that she had heard as a child.

    • Risa

      I couldn’t help think, as the story with Will progresses, that there was something of Scarlett’s ambition in him too. That’s probably why he understood so well. I think, now, that besides Rhett, Will knew her the best….and at such short acquaintance! Yes. He’s quiet, but he’s a fascinating character all together!

      • http://www.pagesofjulia.wordpress.com Julia

        I actually had hope for a minute that Will would be Scarlett’s mate… I guess she’s too big a character for him. But I was a big fan, too. :)

      • http://www.theheroinesbookshelf.com Erin Blakemore

        YES!  Will fans unite.  He’s one of the characters who is exactly what he appears to be.  Still waters run deep.

  • http://sawcat.blogspot.com/ Sarah Williams

    Thank you Erin!

    I like the current pace, since it allows me to get some other reading done at the same time, but I could go faster if that’s the consensus.

    I had completely forgotten about Will. I’m enjoying getting to know him again. He’d be a good match for Carreen.

    Rhett…he’s just lives up to the bad boy image.  I think he’s my favorite character in the novel, with his honorable streak, frankness, and playing the games of the wealthy families. Scarlet’s fear of childbirth is probably well founded for how many women died in childbirth, but for the actual process, some of it was her being kept in ignorance of the conditions. It might not have been seemly for someone of her station to know about those things, and having only the one, she probably was too preoccupied and didn’t even consider that she might need to know how to help someone give birth.

    I loved the scene between Mammy and Uncle Peter. They are both very alike, headstrong and vocal about it, and loyal to their positions, I just found it amusing when they butted heads.

    • http://www.theheroinesbookshelf.com Erin Blakemore

      Sigh…I am a total Will fangirl.  He’s such a great, underrated, forgotten character.  And I agree re Rhett.  It would have been easy to make him one-dimensional, but instead he is a tour de force.

  • Joanne

    The scenes that stood out for me in this section were those in which Melly is about to give birth and Prissy and Scarlett are rushing about looking for help. I think that Mitchell really shows how terrifying that situation must’ve been. But I suppose for poor women at that time giving birth without medical help was probably the norm. It was only women of Melanie and Scarlett’s class who could expect a doctor.

    • http://www.theheroinesbookshelf.com Erin Blakemore

      You’re so right.  At the same time, only women of Melly and Scarlett’s class would have been so sheltered from the realities of life.

  • Buried In Print

    I did pick this up as a re-read some weeks ago, but I’ve been lagging the whole way along; I’m only reading Chapter XX now, so if you do pick up the pace, my contribution will likely amount to “not finished yet”! But I’ll happily follow along with the comments, and gradually I’ll catch up. 

     ::laughs in the direction of the “current reads” pile:: 

    When I first read this, I was about 16, and I know it was a very different reading experience from the one that I’m having now. I haven’t read the comments yet, because I’ve forgotten some major plot developments and want to re-discover them for myself, but I’m making some notes, so I’ll kick in when I can!

    • http://www.theheroinesbookshelf.com Erin Blakemore

      Love it!  You’re welcome anytime.  And yeah, reading this as a more than 16-year-old is quite a bit different, and least for me…

  • Amy D

    I don’t think you’re going too fast; I actually really like the pace. It gives me time to finish the section as well as get some other reading done.

    I think that this section read a bit slower than the last, but that’s not a bad thing. I think it’s more because I felt that Atlanta was such a busy, exciting time and it was written as such, and Scarlett’s time at Tara moved slower than her life in Atlanta. Really, I think MM is amazing to have captured the pace of the city vs. the county in how her book reads.

    I think once Scarlett sees just how quickly land can be taken from you, she understands what Gerald meant back at the beginning – it’s worth fighting for. And when you have no other place to call home, what else can you do but try to preserve it?

    The war definitely hardened Scarlett; it had to. If she hadn’t hardened her resolve, she wouldn’t have lived through it.

    Was it you who had said MM’s alleged favorite character was Prissy? I think that puts a unique twist on the way readers feel about her (Prissy). Having not lived in that era, I don’t feel I can judge how accurate MM’s portrayal of slavery was. Taking a composite look at her work and others I’ve read about or from that era, I’d say she’s probably got it right, and not liking or wanting to acknowledge it now isn’t going to change the past. If anything, it lessens what the slaves went through and overcame.

    I love Rhett’s indecency! It’s so nice to have a character that’s “no gentleman.” He really gets under Scarlett’s skin and pushes away her thin layer of Southern hospitality. And he’s a great juxtaposition to Ashley.

    I can only imagine how different it would be to suddenly be the one in charge of not one, but two human lives. When Scarlett was giving birth she knew she was in experienced hands and just did as she was told. With Melly, she has to be the one to give orders and if she gets it wrong, she could lose both of them. Talk about pressure!

    • http://www.theheroinesbookshelf.com Erin Blakemore

      Interesting note on pacing.  Now that you point it out, I do see the contrast you’re talking about. 

      It wasn’t me who said that about Prissy, but I’ll do some poking around to see if that’s actually true.

  • Pingback: Gone with the Wind part 3 (ch. 17-30) « Pagesofjulia's Blog

  • http://www.pagesofjulia.wordpress.com Julia

    Hello! I’m late! I wrote my responses up here, and thanks so much Erin for hosting. You’re doing a fab job and I can’t wait for part 4…

    • http://www.theheroinesbookshelf.com Erin Blakemore

      Thank you!  Love your writeup. 

  • Anonymous

    While I haven’t been reading the book, I have enjoyed your write-ups on it.  I did manage to read half the book and watch the whole film, and Scarlett is a complex character and someone I had a hard time getting behind in the book.  All of the main ones are pretty complex if you ask me though.

    • http://www.theheroinesbookshelf.com Erin Blakemore

      Thanks, Stef! I agree, MM’s characterization is really sublime. 

  • Pingback: Rereading Gone with the Wind, Part 3 « cakes, tea and dreams

  • Zainarox

    sorry plz can u help me I am new here and I love gone with the wind and I want to discuss it too but how does this site works.

    • http://www.theheroinesbookshelf.com Erin Blakemore

      We’re discussing Part 3 now.  Just read this post and respond in the comments on the bottom of the page.  You can check back in on September 26 to talk about Part 4!