Scarlett puts on
her new green dress and goes to visit Rhett in jail. He is impressed by how
prosperous she looks when everyone else is dressed in rags. She tells him
falsely that everything at Tara is fine, that she has made money by selling
cotton, and that she has come to Atlanta to get some more dresses made so that
she can attend balls. She pretends to be distressed about his plight, claiming
that she would die if he were hanged. He is moved by her apparent care for him
and kisses her hands, but as he does so, he notices that they are rough and
calloused. He guesses that she has been lying about the true reason for her
visit, and that she is simply trying to get money from him. He asks her why she
did not openly tell him of her need for money, instead of trying to seduce him,
as a prostitute would. He reminds her that he is not the marrying type.
Rhett asks her
what she really wants. She admits that she wants to borrow three hundred
dollars for the taxes; Gerald is incapable and that no one at Tara has enough
to eat. Rhett asks what security she can offer him for the loan. She offers her
earrings or a mortgage on Tara, but he is not interested in either. Then she
offers herself as his mistress. He questions whether she is worth that much
money. Then he says that even if he wanted to give her the money, he could not.
If he wrote a draft, the Yankees would be able to trace it, revealing the
whereabouts of the Confederate money he has banked. Scarlett tells Rhett that
she hates him. He asks her if she plans to ask any more men for the money and
advises her to be more subtle and seductive, pointing out that when she offered
to be his mistress, her eyes looked "as hard as nails." He tells her that she
can cheer herself up by attending his hanging. Filled with anger and shame, she
home in the rain, full of hatred for Rhett. Frank Kennedy drives up in his
buggy, looking prosperous. Scarlett accepts his offer of a ride. He tells
Scarlett that he is running a store in Atlanta and is planning to buy a
sawmill, which should be very profitable because the Yankees have burned so
many houses in Atlanta that there is a high demand for timber to rebuild. He
wants to make money quickly so that he can ask Suellen to marry him.
that Frank will not lend her money when he is planning to marry Suellen, so she
realizes that she will have to marry Frank herself in order to get him to pay
her taxes. Recalling Rhett's advice, she puts on a demure act and tells Frank
that she went to the jail to try to sell embroidery to the Yankees, in order to
raise money to feed those at Tara. Then she falsely says that Suellen is going
to marry Tony Fontaine next month, as she got tired of waiting for Frank to ask
Scarlett goes to Fanny Elsing's wedding dance on Frank's arm. In the discussion
about the war, Hugh Elsing remarks that in spite of the fact that the
Confederate soldiers surrendered at Appomattox, their women have never
surrendered; they still hate the Yankees for bringing the Southern men so low.
looks around her at the faded grandeur of the ballroom and the familiar faces,
she feels that the security and glamour of the Old South has gone. She feels
like an alien in this environment, just as she does with Ashley. The men still
pretend to shelter the women from all that is harsh. Scarlett, who is blind to
the courage behind the fine manners, thinks this absurd in the light of the
suffering and horror that these women have witnessed. Scarlett feels that she
cannot ignore the harsh reality that the world has become hostile. Unlike those
around her, Scarlett believes that you cannot be a lady without money. Though
no depth of poverty would have made Ellen ashamed, Scarlett does not share her
view. She is determined to be rich again, whether it entails working or just grabbing
money, and recalls Rhett's words: "There's just as much money to be made in the
wreck of a civilization as in the upbuilding of one."
Two weeks later,
Scarlett marries Frank. He gives her the three hundred dollars for the taxes,
reluctantly, as it means he cannot now buy the sawmill. Scarlett receives a
venomous letter from Suellen, who has heard about the marriage. Scarlett
ignores it, as she ignores the hostile gossip of the townspeople, who knew of
Suellen's betrothal to Frank. Scarlett turns her attention to Frank's business,
which she thinks could be making more money. She wants Frank to buy the sawmill
before someone else snaps it up. She learns that many townspeople owe Frank
money but could not pay just now, and Frank is unwilling to press them because
they are friends and neighbors.
Frank comes to
realize, with discomfort, that Scarlett has a "good head for figures" and a
smart business brain. He probably also realizes the deception about Suellen
that Scarlett used to entrap him in marriage, but he is too much of a gentleman
to mention it. In any case, he finds Scarlett charming - as long as she gets
her own way.
Two weeks after
the marriage, Frank falls ill and is confined to bed. He frets about his store
and Scarlett seizes the opportunity to go there and look at the account books.
She finds the stock poorly displayed and dirty. She orders the counter boy to
hand over the account books and learns that Frank is owed over five hundred
dollars by the townspeople. Among them are the Elsings, who recently gave their
daughter an expensive wedding. Scarlett reflects that if Frank was tougher
about collecting debts, he could have paid Tara's taxes and bought the mill.
She realizes that she, a woman, could handle the business better than her
husband. The thought is startling because she has been brought up to believe
that a woman alone could accomplish nothing.
She is making a
list of debtors to present to Frank when Rhett walks in. He congratulates her
on her marriage and comments wryly that she could not even wait two weeks for
him to get out of jail. He has blackmailed a man in the federal government to
arrange his release. He admits that he has around half a million dollars in
Confederate gold in foreign banks. Scarlett feels a pang of bitterness that he
has so much while she only has a sick husband and a dirty little store. She
accuses Rhett of stealing Confederate money, but he replies that the
Confederacy no longer exists and he does not intend to give it to the Yankee
Rhett that she needs money now. He agrees to loan her the money on condition
that she does not use it to support Ashley. He criticizes Ashley for living off
Scarlett's charity and asks why he cannot go out and find work. He believes
that Ashley is not in the least interested in Scarlett's mind but only covets
her body. He challenges her to explain how, if Ashley loved her, he could have
allowed her to come to Atlanta to get the tax money. Rhett would never have
allowed a woman he loved to do that. Scarlett says that Ashley did not know
about her plan, but Rhett replies savagely that if he knew anything about her
mind, he would have guessed.
Rhett to come with her to buy the sawmill now, which he does. Later, she tells
Frank that she got the money by selling Rhett her earrings. She adds that she
will run the mill herself. Frank is horrified and ashamed that she should
engage in such an unwomanly activity when he can provide for her, but he is too
frightened of her to prevent her.
hard at her business and ignores the disapproving gossip. She soon makes a
profit and sends money to Tara, telling Will how it should be spent. She now
wants to build a saloon on the property where her warehouse had stood before
Sherman burned it. Frank is appalled at her plan. He is amazed at the change
that has come over Scarlett since their marriage: she is no longer sweet and
feminine, but a ruthless and decisive businesswoman who talks and acts like a
man. While Scarlett is fond of Frank, she is exasperated by the fact that he
"was neither a good business man nor did he want her to be a good business
man." He has only half-heartedly collected the debts owing to him, and she
knows that he will never be wealthy.
Frank hopes that
Scarlett will have a baby, so that she will be content to stay at home and will
have to sell the mill.
There is pathos in the scene between Rhett and Scarlett in the
jail. He is eager to seize upon any sign that Scarlett has real feelings for
him, especially when she claims, "I'd die if they hanged you!" He is about to
become convinced that she is sincere when he suddenly notices the calluses on
her hands and realizes that she has lied to him about her financial situation
and has only come to get money from him. He points out to her that she would
have done better to tell him openly what she needed, since he values frankness
in women; as it is, by trying to seduce him into submission, she has lowered
herself to the status of a prostitute.
two important lessons in these chapters. First, she learns that Rhett is the
only man who prefers her to tell the truth about what she wants; other men,
including Frank, prefer feminine wiles and roundabout methods.
Second, when Scarlett
marries Frank so that he will pay the taxes on Tara, she learns that she has an
excellent business brain: "A startling thought this, that a woman could handle
business matters as well or better than a man, a revolutionary thought to
Scarlett who had been reared in the tradition that men were omniscient and
women none too bright" (Chapter 36).
horrified by Scarlett's business activities, considering them unwomanly and an
insult to him as the 'provider' of his household. Too timid to oppose her
directly, he silently hopes that she will soon be pregnant and will have to
give up her work. The townspeople of Atlanta, representing the Old South, side
with Frank and are scandalized by Scarlett's going into trade. Rhett, in
contrast, is the only person who encourages Scarlett and talks to her about her
business as an equal. Most importantly, he lends her the money to buy the mill.
After a long history of uncomfortable sparring, Scarlett and Rhett are forming
an alliance based on their common interest in, and talent for, making money.
who feel frustrated by Scarlett's inability to see how unsuitable Ashley is for
her and how suitable Rhett is will delight in Rhett's incisive criticism of
Ashley (Chapter 36). While Scarlett sees Ashley as too fine and gentlemanly to
make a success of his life after the war, Rhett sees him as a freeloader living
off Scarlett's charity - and it is hard to counter this charge. Rhett also
cannot understand how any man who pretends to love a woman could allow her to
sell herself as Scarlett has done in order to pay the taxes on Tara. Here, we
recall Ashley's helplessness and inaction on seeing Scarlett depart for
Atlanta, and his unmanly giving over of the role of Scarlett's protector to the
female former slave, Mammy.
ruthlessness and amorality is shown in her attempted manipulation of Rhett.
However, this incident seems trivial compared with her subsequent snatching of
Frank from under her sister's nose through an outright lie (that Suellen intends
to marry another man) without a single qualm of conscience, in order to get the
taxes on Tara paid.
One night, Tony
Fontaine rides in from Jonesboro, arriving at Frank and Scarlett's house on a
horse half-dead from exhaustion. He is fleeing to Texas after having killed
Jonas Wilkerson and a black man. Tony had taken offense when Jonas had said
that freed black slaves had a right to have sex with white women, and a freed
slave had apparently propositioned Sally Fontaine. On the advice of Ashley,
Tony has come to ask Frank for food, money and a new horse. Frank supplies what
Tony needs, and Tony leaves.
that Reconstruction is going to be a dangerous period because "the negroes were
on top and behind them were the Yankee bayonets." Southern men have been
holding secretive conversations and she has been warned against driving to the
mill with only Uncle Peter to protect her. Scarlett cannot understand the men's
obsession with getting their vote back, as the only thing that will keep anyone
safe is money.
Frank that she is pregnant.
For weeks after
Tony's visit, which Frank and Scarlett mention to no one, Aunt Pittypat's house
is repeatedly searched by Yankee soldiers. Scarlett fears if the Yankees find
out that they helped Tony, their property will be confiscated. She resents Tony
for having implicated them.
men see free black men as a sexual threat to the large number of white Southern
women who have been living without male protection since the war. The Southern
men set up the Ku Klux Klan to counter this perceived threat. The North is
determined to eradicate the Klan. Scarlett lives in fear of how far the Yankees
settlers are pouring into Atlanta, including carpetbaggers, Southerners who can
no longer survive in rural areas, and former Yankee soldiers. Saloons spring up
overnight, and Belle Watling opens a grand new brothel. Gossip spreads that
Rhett is her backer. Most of Atlanta's "best families," however, are living in
poverty, and even suffering from starvation diseases.
It is the spring
of 1866. Scarlett thinks only of making the mill pay and staying out of trouble
with the Yankees. Though she hates the Yankees, she never says a bad word about
them, even within her family. She feels glad that Frank is not in the Ku Klux
Klan, as it would draw the Yankees' attention to them.
continues to drive about the town and trade even though she is pregnant. This
embarrasses Pittypat and Frank, who are conscious of the convention that no
lady ever showed herself when pregnant. Scarlett uses every sharp practice she
can think of to out-compete the other lumber dealers, including playing the
helpless female and lying. She takes advantage of the convention that no man
could call a lady a liar. She dismisses all consideration of how Ellen would
judge her with her usual excuse that she will think of it later.
undersells a rival mill owner so that he goes bankrupt; then she buys his mill
at a cheap price. She runs into a problem when she looks for a man to put in
charge of it, since all the capable men are taken up with their own businesses.
Tommy Wellburn suggests his brother-in-law, Hugh Elsing, who is not doing well
selling kindling wood. Despite her misgivings that Hugh cannot have "gumption"
if he is not making a success of his business, Scarlett hires him.
fears the Yankees might confiscate any money she puts in the bank, Scarlett
keeps the money she makes hidden in her clothes or about the house. She grows
more short-tempered, as the more she saves, the more she stands to lose if the
Yankees target her. She aims to be financially secure by the time she has to
stop work to have her baby.
hates the Yankees, she is happy to do business with them and even socialize
with them - a fact that outrages the patriotic Old Southern society of Atlanta.
One day, she is driving home with Uncle Peter when the wives of some of her
Yankee customers engage her in conversation and say that they would not trust a
black person to be a children's nurse. Scarlett, who is conscious that her
family has been brought up and looked after by slaves and trusts them better
than she trusts most white people, sarcastically asks why the Yankees freed
them if they feel that way. One of the women then insults Uncle Peter.
Scarlett, not wanting to upset the Yankees at this precarious time in her
fortunes, tells her coldly that Uncle Peter is "one of our family," and asks
him to drive on.
Uncle Peter is
overwhelmed with anger and grief. He says he is not interested in the Yankee
idea of freedom and wants to be buried with Aunt Pittypat, to whom he feels he
belongs. He accuses Scarlett of not defending him against the Yankee woman. He
says she should have nothing to do with the Yankees. Thereafter, Uncle Peter
refuses to drive Scarlett.ï¿½
Uncle Peter's criticism keenly. The Yankees approve of her, yet her friends and
neighbors do not. Some day, she thinks, when there is security in the world
again, she will be kind, like Ellen, and everyone will love her.
only person who shows understanding and sympathy is Rhett. Scarlett runs into
him almost every day. When she asks him why she is hated, he tells her that it
is because she dares to be different and because her success has shown up every
man who has not succeeded. Other businesswomen, like Mrs. Merriwether, have the
grace not to enjoy having to work and not to be too successful.
gentlemen are by convention not supposed to notice or remark upon a woman's
pregnancy, Rhett tells Scarlett that he knows she is pregnant. He is
disappointed by her shocked response to his mentioning this taboo subject. He
believes pregnancy is a normal state and that women should be proud of it. He
adds that he likes babies and is fond of Wade.
Scarlett that she should not drive alone as she may be raped by a black man and
then the Ku Klux Klan would take revenge, leading to a severe Yankee
punishments, perhaps even hangings. The danger to which she exposes the
Southern men explains why the Southern women do not like her. He advises her to
carry her pistol and offers to swap her horse, which is hard-mouthed and
dangerously unstoppable, for a better one. Scarlett feels a momentary rush of
gratitude towards him for his care, which quickly turns to anger as he teases
her about her feminine helplessness.
receives a message saying that Gerald is dead.
home to Tara for Gerald's funeral. At the station, she runs into Alex Fontaine,
who thanks her for helping Tony and tells her that everyone is angry with
Suellen, though Scarlett does not let him explain why. Will Benteen arrives to
collect her. He asks for her consent to marry Suellen. Scarlett asks why he does
not ask Carreen, as he always seemed to favor her. Will says that Carreen has
never got over Brent Tarleton and intends to join a convent in Charleston. Will
does not want to leave Tara, which he has grown to love as if it were his own.
If he remained at Tara with only Suellen, and did not marry her, people would
Will also says
that Ashley does not feel that Tara is his home and as he is not good at
farming, he does not feel that he is earning his keep, so he is likely to leave
soon and get work. Ashley has been offered a job in a bank by a Yankee friend
in New York. Scarlett is horrified by the prospect of Ashley's leaving. She
decides to offer him the job of running the first mill she bought, in order to
keep him near her in Atlanta.
Scarlett how Gerald died. Suellen had resented not having money and had found
out that the federal government was giving one hundred and fifty thousand
dollars in compensation to any Union sympathizer who had had their property
destroyed. Hilton had advised Suellen that Gerald had neither fought in the war
nor had sons who fought, nor he had never held office under the Confederacy, so
they could claim that he was a Union sympathizer. All he would have to do is to
swear an oath of allegiance to the Union. Suellen had got Gerald drunk and
nagged him until he was prepared to sign the oath. But at the last minute,
Suellen had made the mistake of mentioning that the Slatterys had signed the
oath, and Gerald had suddenly realized what was happening. He had furiously
torn the paper up, stormed out and ridden off on his horse. Later, he had
returned and tried to jump the fence, but the horse had refused. Gerald had
fallen off and broken his neck.
As soon as Will
mentions the one hundred and fifty thousand dollars in compensation, Scarlett
understands why Suellen acted as she did.
Southern (Northern-influenced) attitude to money is contrasted with the Old
Southern attitude. While the Old Southern families, including Melanie and
Carreen, are happy to live in genteel poverty and patriotically proud of their
old dresses, Scarlett only cares about making money, which she believes is the
only protection against any terrible Yankee retribution that may descend.
Scarlett unexpectedly feels some sympathy with Suellen over the issue of making
Gerald take the oath of allegiance to the Union, because Suellen was motivated
by money, and this Scarlett understands. But everyone else hates and resents
Suellen for betraying Gerald and the Confederate cause, and Scarlett too is
furious with her for her part in Gerald's death. There are, however, wider
reasons why Gerald died as he did: he wanted to join Ellen; and the reckless
spirit we saw when he jumped the fence in Chapter 2 has gained full possession
of him, prompted by drink and patriotic fury.
Scarlett, shows a New Southern ability to compromise in order to get what he
wants. Though he has more feelings for Carreen than for Suellen, he
pragmatically accepts that Carreen is unavailable and is prepared to marry
Suellen so that he can stay at Tara. Though Will shares this opportunistic
flexibility with Scarlett (who married Frank so that she could keep Tara), he
does not share her hardness of heart, and genuinely seems to appreciate
Suellen's good points.
between Will and Suellen is a sign of how much the old social structures have
broken down because of the war. Before the war, someone from a poor family like
Will would never have thought of marrying a landed aristocrat like Suellen. But
the shortage of men of marriageable age due to the losses in the war means that
no girl can afford to insist on marrying within her class. In addition, Tara
badly needs someone with good farming skills to put it back in order after it
was laid waste by the Yankees. Will has those skills, prompting Scarlett to
think of him not as a poor white but as "something the Lord had provided."
up the theme of the strained race relations after the war. Mitchell describes
the freed slaves' lives as "a never-ending picnic, a barbecue every day of the
week, a carnival of idleness and theft and insolence," and the freed slaves
themselves as "lazy and dangerous as a result of the new doctrines being taught
them." The term she uses to describe freed slaves is the derogatory "free issue
niggers." They are seen by Mitchell and by Atlanta society as a sexual threat
to white women, as expressed by Rhett in his warnings to Scarlett not to drive
out alone. In this context, the Ku Klux Klan is represented as a natural
response by white Southern men to counter this threat and reassert their
masculine dominance. Mitchell's only reservations about the Klan seem to be
that it is dangerous to be involved in and politically counterproductive, since
it provides the perfect excuse for the Yankees to crush the South utterly.
Characters such as Ashley do not approve of the violence of the Klan, but he
still supports it, and it can be argued that the Klan can afford a few
non-violent supporters like Ashley because it has many who are willing to kill.
positive black characters are the loyal family slaves like Uncle Peter and
Mammy, who see no future for themselves among the "free issue niggers" they
despise, and whose only wish is to stay with their white former owners.
As far as all
the above is concerned, Mitchell's portrayal of race relations is both reliant
on stereotypes and racist, reflecting not only the racism of Scarlett's time
but also the racism of Mitchell's time. Mitchell entirely ignores the appalling
conditions into which freed slaves were catapulted after the war's end. Far
from enjoying a "never-ending picnic," most freed slaves had to live in
shantytowns. They had no property, money, education, or training beyond their
slave status. Idleness and theft, where they existed, were not so much choices
as forced upon them.
Mitchell's prejudices, however, there are qualifications and unexpected
subtleties to be found in the picture she draws. Though Scarlett and other
Southerners of her class see nothing wrong with slavery, they have been brought
up from an early age with black people as their nurses, playmates and helpers.
This breeds a mutual affection, dependence and respect, as is revealed in the
conversation between Scarlett and the Yankee women. Scarlett, remembering the
caring hands of Mammy, has no hesitation in recommending a black nurse for the
baby of one of the women. But the Yankee women, even though their government
fought the war to end slavery, have had little contact with black people and
neither like nor trust them. They reject Scarlett's idea out of hand,
assaulting the feelings of Uncle Peter and betraying a fundamental racism. Most
significant is Scarlett's reaction to Uncle Peter's mortified anger that she
did not defend him more determinedly and that she should do business with the
hated Yankees. Scarlett, who cares for nobody's opinion, feels hurt and
humiliated by Peter's criticism. It is as if she recognizes that it comes from
a place of truth and that therefore she must take note of it.
Of course, it
would be easy to conclude that Mitchell is merely giving another biased
picture, this time of Yankee hypocrisy and racism and white Southern goodwill
towards slaves. But it is hard to counter Mitchell's picture of an Old South in
which strong bonds must have been formed between many whites and blacks due to
the close family structure in which they lived together.
is no doubt that there is truth in Mitchell's portrayal of white Yankees like
Jonas Wilkerson manipulating freed slaves for political gain. Mitchell says, "The South had been tilted as by a giant
malicious hand, and those who had once ruled were now more helpless than their
former slaves had ever been." The white former ruling class of the South now
was denied the vote, and the former slave class was given the vote. This led to
anger and frustration among the whites. It is in such climates that
vigilante and terrorist groups spring up, and the post-war South was no
exception, giving birth to the Ku Klux Klan. The Klan in turn gave the Yankees
an excuse to crack down even harder on the South, hence perpetuating a vicious
cycle. Thus the former slaves were in some ways used as political pawns by the