Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Great Gone With the Wind Readalong - Part 3

Here we are, through part 3! I'm actually a week late on this, but being a week late really isn't that bad, right?  Anyway, these are the discussion prompts and my thoughts on them.


Thoughts on Part 3
I felt like everything moved very rapidly through this section.  It was rumored that Mitchell wrote this section all at once and I can see why.  This was a section that I found very hard to put down when I did start it and I loved it.

This is where Scarlett really begin changing.  As she has to flee Atlanta with sick Melly, her son who is beyond terrified, and an all but useless servant girl, she's forced to really reevaluate things.  At the very beginning of the book, I went through a love/hate thing with Scarlett because she was young and so incredibly selfish that it killed me.  Now she's at Tara again and realizes that this is one of the only things that she has left.  She has a resolve that we've never seen before, but she's bitter, she's so bitter.  She's changed, and her struggles have made her different, but I don't think she's a better person, I think she's just ruthless.  Granted, that's what it takes, but her manner with everyone isn't pleasant at all.

This goes along with the siege section to me, really.  For me, as a reader, I didn't want to put it down, and I really felt myself transported into this section, the terror and all.  When Scarlett is about to deliver Melly's baby, I can't even imagine what that may have been like, knowing that she had a chance of dying with a doctor, and now having someone completely inexperienced, she really might die.  Now, Scarlett doesn't like Melly, but that doesn't change the trauma of that experience.  On their way to Tara, being in the dark, not knowing who they might run into next, knowing that all of them may be killed is traumatic as well.  And when Scarlett kills a man to save herself and her family, the trauma from that was one of the things that changed Scarlett the way that it did.
I think that above all, I felt the effects of the trauma most in little Wade.  Scarlett pretty much can't stand him, that much she has made clear.  But he is completely terrified and he receives no comfort even from his mother.  My heart breaks for the little boy.

Prissy is of course the person who sticks out from this section.  Prissy is lazy and she's a liar, too.  When she tells Scarlett that she knows all about delivering babies from her mother, we see what a liar she is later.  Another thing that sticks with me is when they get back to Tara, of course most of the slaves have gone.  The few that have stayed are the few that were house slaves and the few that had been with their family for many years.  Though it was funny to me that when they had to divide the tasks, Peter and even Mammy grumbled about how the were house slaves and they shouldn't have to do physical labor.  So they had been slaves and they knew they had been slaves but they still felt like they were above some tasks, which I thought was interesting to see.

That scene where Rhett asks Scarlett to be his mistress was one of my favorites.  I think my favorite part about it was Scarlett's reaction.  She wasn't concerned with the sex part of it, so much as she was concerned that she may have a bunch of illegitimate children from the arrangement.  Of course she hates herself for her reaction later, but I loved that whole exchange.
I can understand Scarlett being terrified of childbirth.  I think that going through it is one thing, but having to deliver someone else's is another.  Plus, given the circumstances, and the fact that Melly's pregnancy was so high risk, I think anyone would really be terrified.

Minor Characters
My favorite minor character is Will.  I love how simple he is, and I love that he has a good head on his shoulders.  Scarlett says that she could tell that he was nothing but a cracker, but I think he's a good man especially for saying that he was going to stay and work for the fact that they nursed him back to health.

So I know I was severely late writing this up and I'm actually a pretty good ways into Part 4, but better late than never!  If you want to join in the discussion, visit The Heroine's Bookshelf!

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