Free Study Guide - Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell|
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GONE WITH THE WIND FREE BOOKNOTES
During supper, Pork arrives with the new slave Dilcey and her daughter Prissy who will be given to Scarlett for her personal maid. Then Ellen arrives home with the news that the Slattery baby is dead. The family undertakes their usual ritual of evening prayers, directed by Ellen who is a devout Catholic. During the prayers, Scarlett’s mind wanders to Ashley. It occurs to her that the only reason Ashley has proposed to Melanie is because he doesn’t know that she is in love with him herself. She plots for some way to tell him during the upcoming barbecue. In her imagination, she convinces herself that if Ashley only knows of her love, he will abandon Melanie and beg her to run away with him.
After prayers, Scarlett overhears her mother tell Gerald that he must fire
Jonas Wilkerson, his overseer, as Jonas is the father of the dead Slattery
baby. Jonas is a "Yankee man."
Although religion has an important place in the O'Hara family, Scarlett basically
goes through the motions. Nor does the irony of thinking about stealing
someone else's beau while the family is engaged in prayers occur to her.
Scarlett begins the day of the party by searching for a dress. Her best dress has a stain on it which she fears Melanie may notice even if she pins a brooch over it. Thus she chooses a sleeveless dress with a low-cut neckline; this and her refusal to eat a tray of food brings about a confrontation with Mammy. It is inappropriate to show one’s arms and bosom before 3:00, and according to Mammy, girls are supposed to stuff themselves with food prior to going to a party so they will be unable to eat more than a mouthful or two at the party. The sentiment of the day is that only girls who eat like a bird will catch a husband.
On the way to the party we are introduced to Mrs. Tarleton and her daughters
as their carriage meets up with the O’Hara carriage. They engage in friendly
informal banter, the girls teasing their mother for flirting with Mr.
O’Hara. Scarlett is shocked at the freedom with which the Tarletons act;
yet it is obvious that they adore each other. She envies the assuredness
with which the Tarleton girls conduct themselves. Gerald and Mrs. Tarleton
discuss horses for a bit, then the conversations shifts to Ashley’s engagement
to Melanie. Mrs. Tarleton disapproves of marriage among cousins, as she
believes it "weakens the strain." Gerald begins to get embarrassed
as such frank conversation would be considered most improper if Ellen
were to hear about it. Finally Hetty Tarleton urges them to move on to
the party. Gerald manages to detain them long enough to ask Mrs. Tarleton
if she has reconsidered her unwillingness to sell her horses to the Troop
when they go to war. She says she will do no such thing, but then suggests
that perhaps there will be no war anyway.
The Tarletons are typical of southerners who conform to the expected traditions but are much more relaxed in their attitudes. As Mrs. Tarleton is involved with horses, she has no inhibitions in discussing such things as breeding whether it be animals or humans. She is also on more of a par with her own daughters. They treat her respectfully but she is not as aloof or saint like as Ellen. They are able to joke and have a good time with each other.
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Ruff, Dr. KSC. "TheBestNotes on Gone With the Wind".
. 09 May 2017