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Free Study Guide - Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

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The Yankees come once again to Tara. This time they tear up the bedding and steal everything they can get their hands on, but Scarlett has had enough warning to get the family, some of their food and most of the livestock to the swamp. The Yankees burn the cotton shacks with the summer harvest and demand the jewels Scarlett wears. They fail to get the money, however, as Scarlett hides the wallet in the baby’s diaper. One of the soldier’s takes the Mexican sword that belonged to Melanie’s grandfather-a sword that now belongs to little Wade. Wade cries out when he sees it taken from the wall, and one of the commanders takes a looks at it to verify that it really is Mexican. He returns it to Scarlett in spite of his subordinate’s objections. In retaliation the soldier goes into the kitchen, and unbeknownst to Scarlett, sets it on fire.

Scarlett sees the fire soon after the soldiers are gone. Together she and Melanie beat it out, and she develops an even greater sense of respect and comradeship for her sister-in-law. It amazes her that Melanie always seems to show up when she is needed.


Scarlett exhibits some humorous creativity in hiding the wallet in the baby's diaper. The Yankees are again portrayed with mixed characteristics. The General shows a touch of humanity in allowing them to keep the sword, but at the same time the subordinate tries to vent his anger by starting a fire in the kitchen. This last invasion by the Yankees is a part of Sherman's army. Sherman marched through Georgia and South Carolina, looting what was left of the old homes and burning whatever could not be taken away.

Although Wade is never developed fully as a character, he is shown with at least an awareness of things that belong to him. Nor in spite of her own need for money later on does Scarlett ever part with the grandfather's sword.



The second swath of Sherman’s troops through Jonesboro had brought about the destruction of the Tarleton home and the Monroe house. The families are reduced to near starvation as the yams are gone and there is no food to buy even with what money they have. Pork roams in the night, stealing chickens and other food wherever he can.

At Christmas time they are visited by Frank Kennedy and a small troop of confederate soldiers who have all been discharged for injuries. The group has been in charge of the commissary. They add their small store of supplies-some parched corn and meat to the family’s meager rations of peas, stewed apples and peanuts and proclaim it the best meal they have had in some time. Everyone enjoys the evening except Scarlett who worries for fear they will find the pigs or the horse or cow and take them for the army.

Frank Kennedy is better than a newspaper as he has contacts all over the south. He tells the girls that when Sherman was finished with Atlanta, he gave the city back to the Confederates, but it was a worthless prize as the Yankees had burnt most of the city. Frank remembers but does not tell the girls about the acres of standing blackened chimneys, looted cemeteries, and thousands of abandoned cats and dogs that roamed the city, attacking and feeding off each other. He does tell them that Pittypat’s house is still standing thanks to its brick walls and slate roof. Furthermore, the people have returned and are trying to rebuild.

As the company leaves the supper table, Frank pulls Scarlett aside and tells her that he wants to marry Suellen but won’t do it until he knows he is able to support her. Nevertheless he seeks Scarlett’s permission to propose to her.


It seems ironic that Scarlett is regarded as the head of the family but will later be condemned for taking full responsibility and action in that role. Also, the appearance of Frank is a subtle foreshadowing. Scarlett's best known talent was for stealing men who belonged to other women. She sees Frank as a wimp and an old one at that, but would have no qualms about letting him take Suellen with or without money. She never recognizes strength or manliness unless it is bold and flashy-except, of course, in Ashley. Frank is a far better man than Scarlett gives him credit for being.

Pittypat's house is a symbol of the best of the old ways and suggests that not everything is lost in spite of the proclamation of death that permeates the rest of the city. The brick wall and slate roof that would not submit to the fires symbolize a purifying or removal of the artificiality that had become so much a part of the southern life style. The dignity and traditions that will survive will be without pretensions.

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Ruff, Dr. KSC. "TheBestNotes on Gone With the Wind". . 09 May 2017