Free Study Guide - Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell|
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ONLINE NOTES FOR GONE WITH THE WIND
Ashley thinks Scarlett has changed. She has, but so has he. He has virtually
given up on life and is just plodding through, taking whatever fate hands
him. She has always been determined to live to the fullest regardless
of what people thought, but she also ignores problems she can't handle.
One example is the convicts she has leased. She could not influence or
control Johnny Gallagher, so she pretends the problem doesn't exist. He
makes money for her, so she is able to ignore the way he gets it. Ashley
is unable to drive the convicts, so his mill is less successful. Her advice
to make them work harder shows a change in her feelings regarding the
way they are treated. The hard shell that she has built around herself
is partly her own doing, but is also a defense mechanism against the superficial
manners and haughty judgment dished out by the people of Atlanta.
Rhett undergoes a dramatic self-imposed personality change. It begins one day when they are all together and eight-year old Wade is irritating Scarlett by making noises. He is bored and frustrated because all the other little boys are at the Picard birthday party. Under Rhett’s questioning, he complains that he is never invited to the parties, and the parties he does attend are no fun because Mammy says the people are "trashy." Scarlet objects to the criticism, but Rhett realizes that Mammy and the boy are speaking the truth. He and Scarlett have conducted themselves in such a way that no decent people will associate with them or their children. He doesn’t want Bonnie to be ostracized or rejected because of her parents’ foolishness.
Rhett begins turning over a new leaf. He forbids Scarlett from having
Governor Bullock in their home ever again. He begins taking the children
to church and cuts his association with Yankees, cutthroats and scalawags.
He makes donations to charitable institutions led by the Elsings, Merriwether
and others. The men accept him easily as he had saved all their lives.
The women are slower to come around, but once they find proof that he
did serve in the Confederate army, they begin to reconsider their opinions
of him. Scarlett considers it all a "tempest in a teapot," but
Rhett and the children are gradually restored to the good graces of the
old Atlanta society.
Rhett is a double-sided coin who knows which side to turn up at any given
time. It is difficult to know whether he is a noble character behaving
like a rogue or a rogue putting on a good act. He performs such chivalrous
deeds that one wants to believe that beneath a facade of opportunism,
he is as fine a character as we could want. In any case, he definitely
adores the children, especially Bonnie and is not ashamed to let the entire
town know about it. Scarlett, however, does not have the good sense even
to put on an act when it would be to her benefit. If she were to follow
Rhett's lead, they could both be restored to the good graces of the community,
but that is not her way.
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Ruff, Dr. KSC. "TheBestNotes on Gone With the Wind".
. 09 May 2017