Welcome to the third installment in my Thoughts While Reading Gone with the Wind series! As you can probably tell from the title, I’ll be sharing my thoughts as I read this classic American tome by Margaret Mitchell. Since the novel is divided into five parts, there will be five installments in this series. Be sure to check out my thoughts on Part 1 and Part 2!
Be aware that the “Thoughts” section may contain spoilers, but the “Overall” section will be spoiler-free!
- p. 297: Too many people are in denial, refusing to acknowledge that the Confederacy is doing poorly in the war. I admire Rhett for challenging this notion and being frank when discussing the war.
- p. 308: The portrayal of slavery is romanticized thus far: no outright cruelty shown, Scarlett is always happy to see the slaves from Tara and treats them with respect and kindness… Come to think of it, slaves haven’t been mentioned nearly as often as I thought they would be in a novel set in the South during the Civil War.
- p. 335: Contrary to what you may expect, wartime brought Scarlett farther away from religion. Not that she really believed in God to begin with– now, though, she doesn’t even pretend.
- p. 337: Rhett observantly points out that Scarlett is motivated by Ashley, or at least the thought of him. For example, she stays with Melanie in Atlanta primarily due to her promise to Ashley that she would take care of his wife, not necessarily because she is selfless and cares deeply for Melanie.
- p. 341: Rhett wants Scarlett to be his MISTRESS?!?! That’s disappointing.
- p. 366: One of the first displays of actual cruelty/outright violence towards a slave: Scarlett slapped Prissy because she lied about knowing about midwifery. Also, a very negative portrayal of slaves as incompetent liars.
- p. 370: Thank goodness Melanie and the baby are okay after all of that! I was getting really worried!
- p. 373: Wow, Scarlett treats Prissy really harshly! Especially her threat to sell her as a field hand so she won’t ever see her mom again– so cruel!
- p. 392: Oh, what a mess! Why did Scarlett insist on going to Tara when it’s so dangerous to travel outside of Atlanta? Why did Rhett have to leave Scarlett to join the army in the middle of the night, knowing what a desperate situation the women are in? I hope Melanie makes it through the night, and Rhett better not die in the war!
- p. 406: NOOOOOOOOO!!!!! NOT ELLEN!!!!
- p. 416: What a tragic turn of events: Ellen passed away, Scarlett’s sisters are sick, all but three slaves ran away, Gerald is clearly shocked and heartbroken, and there are almost no supplies or food left at Tara. Certainly not the state you hope to find your childhood home in!
- p. 421: Scarlett’s family has a long history of rising up and overcoming challenges. YOU CAN DO THIS, GIRL!
- p. 487: THE WAR IS OVER!!!
- p. 516: ASHLEY IS ALIVE AND HOME AT LAST!!! Here comes the drama!
“Never pass up new experiences, Scarlett. They enrich the mind.” (p. 309)
I simply love this quote. Despite his faults, I’m beginning to like Rhett more and more!
“Once she looked sharply at the pain-twisted face and wondered why it should be that she, of all people in the world, should be here with Melanie at this particular time– she who had nothing in common with her, who hated her, who would gladly have seen her dead.” (p. 356)
Honestly, what has Melanie ever done to Scarlett to warrant such horrible thoughts? It’s not Melanie’s fault that Ashley married her instead, that Scarlett just can’t get over a crush. Poor Melanie– if only she knew how Scarlett really felt!
“She was seeing things with new eyes for, somewhere along the road to Tara, she had left her girlhood behind her. She was no longer plastic clay, yielding imprint to each new experience. The clay had hardened, some time in this indeterminate day which had lasted a thousand years. Tonight was the last time she would ever be ministered to as a child. She was a woman now and youth was gone.” (p.420)
This quote describes such an important turning point in Scarlett’s life. It’s also just incredibly well written. I love the clay metaphor! *applauds Margaret Mitchell for writing brilliant character development*
Part 3 is by far the most depressing one yet. Even though it has a (somewhat) happy ending, the majority of this section felt like an endless slog of horrible events, one right after the other. However, something good did come of this awful domino effect: incredible character development. We witness Scarlett’s sharp transition from girlhood to womanhood, Melanie’s bursts of unexpected courage and strength, and the revelation of a rather unpleasant side of Rhett Butler. While Scarlett’s personality may not change for the better in every aspect– the cruel way she treats the slaves and even her family at Tara, for example– it is nevertheless refreshing to see her finally maturing.
The Civil War definitely becomes a more prominent character in this section. Not only do we get to see the progress (or lack thereof) of the Confederate Army unfold before us, but we are also exposed to the horrors of everyday civilian life. From extreme poverty and food scarcity to the constant threat of Yankee invasion, the reader finishes this section with a more comprehensive understanding of how a war can impact every single citizen, even if he or she is not fighting on the front lines.
Overall, I’m still loving Gone with the Wind and I can’t wait to keep reading. Bring on Part 4!
What are your thoughts on Gone with the Wind? Let me know in the comments section below!