I think this is a day late, I thought the check-in was on Sunday…
No matter how hard I try, I cannot bring all of my thoughts into a cohesive narrative. I always aim for essay form, but it’s more fun to throw out observation. So here are some of my notes:
The first few chapters of this section were startling. Mitchell’s storytelling was at its best, and I felt surrounded by the atmosphere she created — cannons thundering in the distance, china clinking in its glass stand, the flies buzzing around and getting more daring with each rotation (almost perching in hair, on the shoulder), the smothering heat, sticky clothes and sweat everywhere. And Scarlet! I felt so proud of her and so SO happy about the way Mitchell presented that scenario! I think it’s so real that Scarlett thinks so selfishly in those moments of anxiety and danger, that is what any human would do. She wishes that Melanie would die or the baby would come later, & cetera. But at the same time she cares so much (at least that is how I perceived it). Being afraid and still staying with Melanie is gritty and honorable and somehow very real. Yes, she is stressed and preoccupied with her own fears but all the while staying incredibly brave and managing the situation incredibly well. I would probably break down. I think these chapters made me finally love Scarlett.
Rhett is still such a curious character. When he shows up amidst the dust and the echoes of battle dressed in white and silk and ruffle, I could not understand why! Why does Mitchell continue portraying him like that? When the whole world goes to hell, Rhett is still there, still caustic, always well-dressed. I’d like to put this out for discussion. Part of me thinks it’s because Rhett is like Scarlett’s bulwark (both emotionally and physically – muscular arms, mhm? 😉 ), so he always appears sturdy and like nothing’s changed. But I also think here he might be representing the last bulwark of the Southern tradition? I’m not sure and would love to hear other thoughts.
The moment when the young soldier falls down, and the bearded man just returns for him and carries him forward seemed to impress Rhett very much. I think this is the moment that made him decide to go to war at such an inopportune moment. Of course, see above, I am still very confused by Rhett. Why does he decide to go after Scarlett tells him she is glad he isn’t in the army? Does he feel less of a man/a patriot? Ashamed? What is it about the scene with the boy and the older soldier?!
Purely hedonistic observation: the romance that Mitchell injects into these crazy scenes is quite appealing. That kiss, anyone?
On page 380 (of the purple+gold edition) we get the title of the book. It refers to the war and the desolation that it brings, change, losing home, & cetera.
“Was Tara still standing? Or was Tara also gone with the wind which had swept through Georgia?”
And all of the Melanie-Scarlett bonding moments! I promised I’d save all those observations for a separate post about the female friendship in the novel (and why I think it stands above the romance), but let’s just say a lot of exclamation marks were written in the margins of this section… Especially when Scarlett shoots the Yankee, and Melly is there with Charles’ sword — I loved that passage so much!
I’ll wrap it up here. For other readalongers out there: I’m going to continue with the check-ins and discussion because I am really enjoying it, but also out of respect for what Corinne has started. My best wishes go out to her.♥