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Literapedia Book Notes for

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell


Characters

  • Katie "Scarlett" O'Hara (ch 1)—the protagonist
  • Gerald O'Hara (ch 1)—Scarlett's Ireland-born, strong-willed father
  • Ellen O'Hara (ch 1)—Scarlett's Savannah-born, utterly ladylike mother
  • The Fontaines (ch 1)—neighbors of the O'Haras
  • The Calverts (ch 1)—neighbors of the O'Haras
  • The Tarletons (ch 1)—neighbors of the O'Haras
  • The Munroes (ch 1)—neighbors of the O'Haras
  • The Slatterys (ch 1)—lower-class neighbors of the O'Haras
  • Mammy (ch 1)—A slave who is second mother to both Ellen and Scarlett
  • Melanie Wilkes (neé Hamilton) (ch 1)—Ashley's wife
  • Ashley Wilkes (ch 1)—Scarlett's neighbor and enduring love interest
  • Dilcey (ch 1)—a slave in the O'Hara family
  • Pork (ch 1)—a slave in the O'Hara family
  • Prissy (ch 1)—a slave in the O'Hara family
  • Honey (ch 1)—Ashley's sister
  • India (ch 1)—Ashley's sister
  • Charles Hamilton (ch 1)—Melanie's brother, who becomes Scarlett's first husband
  • Aunt Pittypat (ch 1)—aunt to Charles and Melanie
  • Suellen O'Hara (ch 2)—Scarlett's bratty younger sister
  • Careen O'Hara (ch 2)—the youngest O'Hara girl
  • Frank Kennedy (ch 6)—Suellen's longtime beau, who becomes Scarlett's second husband
  • Rhett Butler (ch 6)—Scarlett's third husband
  • Wade (ch 7)—Scarlett's son (with Charlie Hamilton) and first child
  • Belle Watling (ch 8)—a woman who runs a whorehouse in Atlanta
  • Uncle Peter (ch 8)—a slave in the Hamilton family
  • The Merriwethers (ch 8)—an Atlanta family, alternately friendly to and at odds with Scarlett
  • The Bonells (ch 8)—an Atlanta family, alternately friendly to and at odds with Scarlett
  • The Meades (ch 8)—an Atlanta family, alternately friendly to and at odds with Scarlett
  • Beau (ch 21)—Melanie's son
  • Will Benteen (ch 30)—a former Confederate soldier who comes to stay at Tara; Suellen's husband
  • Archie (ch 42)—Melanie's houseguest and hired bodyguard to many Atlanta ladies
  • Ella (ch 42)—Scarlett's daughter (with Frank Kennedy) and second child
  • Bonnie (ch 50)—Scarlett's daughter (with Rhett Butler) and third child

Chapter Summaries

Part One
  1. Scarlett O'Hara, sixteen, is introduced as she talks to Stuart and Brent Tarleton at her family's plantation (Tara) in Georgia in 1861. They deliver news that Ashley Wilkes is to marry Melanie Hamilton.
  2. Scarlett is shocked by this revelation, ruminates on her love for Ashley, and confides in her father.
  3. Ellen and Gerald are described in terms of their characters, histories, and relationship with each other.
  4. Scarlett broods about Ashley, is bored by talk of the impending war, says evening prayers with her family, and schemes about how to get Ashley to elope with her.
  5. Scarlett prepares for a barbecue that is to be held at Ashley's and heads impatiently to his home.
  6. Scarlett enjoys herself at the party as she flirts with her beaux and tries to capture Ashley's attention. She hears of the presence of a man named Rhett Butler, becomes engaged to Charles Hamilton, and is humiliated by Rhett Butler as she confronts Ashley about his upcoming marriage to Melanie.
  7. Charles and Scarlett marry, as do Ashley and Melanie. Charles is sent to Virginia and dies of pneumonia. Several months later, Scarlett gives birth to a son. Out of boredom, she decides to visit her aunts in Charleston.
Part Two
  1. Scarlett travels to Atlanta to see Melanie and Aunt Pittypat, is enlisted as hospital volunteer. The dynamics of the Hamilton family are explained.
  2. Melanie, Pittypat, and Scarlett are harangued out of their mourning for Charlie and asked to volunteer at a bazaar, much to Scarlett's delight. She again encounters Rhett Butler and, under his influence, scandalizes the assembly by breaking traditional mourning habits and dancing. The women contribute their wedding rings to the metal-collection that is held for the war effort; this is especially difficult for Melanie.
  3. Aunt Pitty bewails Scarlett's behavior of the previous night while Melanie defends Scarlett and Scarlett rebuffs Pitty. News of the episode spreads through town and to Tara, so Gerald goes to see Scarlett in Atlanta. Rhett Butler returns Melanie's wedding ring.
  4. Scarlett reads letters that Ashley has sent Melanie from Virginia.
  5. Scarlett is busy and enjoying the activity brought on by the war. Rhett calls on Scarlett at Pitty's house fairly frequently, and continues to make a stir in Atlanta.
  6. Despite Rhett's antagonistic ways, Melanie defends him against people's harsh words about his speculation. Rhett brings Scarlett a hat and declares that he is "not a marrying man". Melanie relates to Scarlett an encounter that she had with Belle Watling.
  7. The progress of the war is described; the news is bad for Atlanta-based troops, so the people of Atlanta congregate at the newspaper office so as to see the casualty lists. Many of Scarlett's friends are listed as dead, wounded, or missing, but Ashley is not among them.
  8. Ashley comes to Atlanta on leave for Christmas. He and Scarlett talk, and he asks her to take care of Melanie.
  9. The status of the Confederate army is described. Scarlett thinks about Ashley constantly, then Melanie tells her that she is going to have a baby. They receive news that Ashley is missing and presumed dead.
Part Three
  1. It is 1864, Atlanta is in danger of being attacked, and times are becoming harder than ever. Scarlett is tired of nursing the wounded. While out driving with Rhett, Scarlett meets Big Sam, the foreman from Tara.
  2. Fear for Atlanta's safety mounts as troops headed north pass through the town. Wounded soldiers from nearby battles wander into town searching for help. People begin evacuating; Aunt Pitty heads to Macon, leaving Scarlett to accompany Melanie through childbirth.
  3. The residents of Atlanta endure weeks of Yankee siege and wait for news while Scarlett and Melanie wait for the baby. Rhett visits Scarlett.
  4. Scarlett receives news from home that her mother and sisters have typhoid, so she wants to go back to Tara, but because Melanie is confined to her bed, Scarlett stays with her so as to fulfill her own promise to Ashley.
  5. Prissy tells Scarlett that she is capable of being a midwife but in reality knows nothing about childbirth. Scarlett is frantic because Melanie is now in labor. The baby is born; it is a boy.
  6. As Atlanta beings to burn, Scarlett sends Prissy to ask Rhett to provide them with a horse and carriage in which they can evacuate to Tara. She returns with Rhett.
  7. Rhett, Scarlett, Melanie, the children, and the slaves head to Tara. When they are halfway there, Rhett leaves them and goes to join the Confederate army.
  8. The party continues to Tara, Melanie extremely ill from the difficult birth and Scarlett terrified that she will find Tara burned, as many of her neighbors' houses are. Upon reaching Tara, they meet Gerald, who reveals that Ellen has died. He tells Scarlett what has happened since the Yankees came through the county. Gerald is losing his mind because of Ellen's death, so Scarlett takes over the household.
  9. The residents of Tara search for food and come to the realization that hard work is ahead. Suellen and Careen are convalescing.
  10. A Yankee comes to Tara and attempts to steal food and valuables. Scarlett shoots him, and she and Melanie bury him. Scarlett goes calling on her remaining neighbors and becomes quite distressed by the state of the county. However, she plans for Tara's revival and her longterm future.
  11. Yankees descend upon Tara; the residents drive the livestock into the swamp and hide other assets from the oncoming menace. They fight off the Yankees, who do all they can to destroy the house.
  12. Winter arrives, making matters worse for the already hungry residents of Tara and the soldiers who pass by in hopes of finding hospitality there. Frank Kennedy asks Scarlett for permission to marry Suellen.
  13. The war ends, but Scarlett chafes at the having to put up with Suellen and the neighbors.
  14. Melanie receives a letter from Ashley, who is alive and heading back to Georgia from a Yankee prison camp. Will Benteen, a former Confederate soldier, arrives at Tara to recuperate from the war. He ends up staying at Tara and being a great help and comfort to everyone, especially Scarlett. Ashley returns.
Part Four
  1. Will Benteen informs Scarlett that the property taxes on Tara will be far too high for her to pay. Scarlett and Ashley engage in a long talk and some other activity in the orchard.
  2. Scarlett decides to go to Atlanta with a new dress for help from Rhett.
  3. Scarlett and Mammy go to Atlanta and find out that Rhett Butler is in jail.
  4. Scarlett goes to visit Rhett in jail and asks him for money, which he does not give her.
  5. Scarlett meets Frank Kennedy on her way back from the jail and, desperate for money so that she can keep Tara, woos him away from his plans to marry Suellen.
  6. Frank Kennedy and Scarlett get married. Scarlett begins to take over her husband's store. Rhett comes to the store to see her and she tells him of her monetary ambitions. With Rhett's financial backing, she buys a lumber mill.
  7. Tony Fontaine seeks help from the Kennedys as he flees Georgia under suspicion of violence against free blacks. Scarlett tells Frank that she is going to have a baby. The South's anger about Reconstruction is described.
  8. Scarlett works to advance her business while feeling the pressure of the oncoming baby and Atlanta's disapproval of her unwomanly behavior. Only the Yankees with whom she does business are remotely friendly to her, which only deepens the scorn that Southerners have for her. Will sends a message to Scarlett about her father's death.
  9. Scarlett immediately returns to Tara. Will tells her how Suellen caused Gerald's death.
  10. Will ensures that Gerald's funeral runs smoothly and Scarlett has a talk with Grandma Fontaine.
  11. Scarlett circumvents Ashley's plan to go north by offering him a position at one of her mills. Careen goes to a convent in Charleston and Suellen and Will get married. Back in Atlanta, Scarlett decides to use convict labor for one of her mills.
  12. Scarlett has a girl and names her Ella Lorena. The Ku Klux Klan is becoming active and Frank forbids Scarlett to leave the house out of fear for her safety. Melanie is sheltering the needy in her new home and asks a man named Archie to work as Scarlett's driver and bodyguard so that Scarlett can attend to the store and the mills, but Archie stops working for Scarlett when she leases convicts.
  13. Rhett and Scarlett talk about Ashley. Rhett subtly warns Scarlett about Frank's involvement with the Klan.
  14. Scarlett meets Big Sam, the O'Haras' former foreman, as she passes through Shantytown. She promises to help him escape the Yankees and agrees to meet him again later that night. As she enters Shantytown that night, she is attacked by two men.
  15. When Scarlett gets home, Frank and Ashley go to a "political meeting". The women stay in Melanie's house and eventually let it slip to Scarlett that Frank and Ashley are in the Klan and are out trying to find the men who attacked her. The Yankees come to question them, the men return home, and Rhett lies to the Yankee officers to save the dozen men who are in danger of being hung by the Yankees because of their Klan activity. Frank is killed.
  16. The town discusses Rhett Butler. Melanie thanks Belle Watling for her role in keeping the Klan members safe.
  17. Rhett asks Scarlett to marry him, leaves for England, and returns to Atlanta. He and Scarlettget married and then honeymoon in New Orleans.
Part Five
  1. Sarlett enjoys her honeymoon.
  2. Melanie overhears her friends trashtalking Scarlett and becomes livid. Scarlett hosts a party at her newly built home on Peachtree Street.
  3. Scarlett finds out that she is to have a baby and tells Rhett. The baby girl is born and nicknamed Bonnie. Wade and Rhett have a talk.
  4. After having a conversation with Ashley, Scarlett decides that she will be true to her love for him by no longer sharing a bed with Rhett.
  5. Rhett reforms his Scallawag ways so that Bonnie will have a future among Atlanta's high society. Bonnie is afraid of the dark.
  6. Melanie throws a surprise birthday party for Ashley and asks Scarlett to detain Ashley at work, where Scarlett and Ashley are soon discovered embracing by the suspicious India. Rhett forces Scarlett to attend the party even in face of the scandal.
  7. Rhett and Scarlett talk and then go to bed together for the first time in months. He takes Bonnie with him on a visit to his family in Charleston.
  8. Melanie refuses to hear Scarlett's confession about her love for Ashley. The scandal causes a schism to form in the town.
  9. Rhett and Bonnie return home and Scarlett revelas to Rhett that she is again pregnant. She falls down the stairs; Rhett is distraught and seeks comfort in Melanie.
  10. Scarlet returns from Tara, where she was recovering from her fall. Rhett makes a deal with Melanie for Ashley to buy out Scarlett's business.
  11. Scarlett is jealous of Bonnie's command of Rhett's attention. The Republican governor of Georgia resigns, and the Georgians rejoice.
  12. Bonnie dies in a riding accident and Rhett loses his mind with grief.
  13. Scarlett and Rhett drift even farther apart, Rhett drinking more and more heavily all the time.
  14. Melanie miscarries and, as she dies, asks Scarlett to look after Beau and Ashley. Scarlett promises to do so. She realizes that she loves Melanie deeply but never really did love Ashley.
  15. Scarlett realizes that she loves Rhett and that he must love her.
  16. Scarlett talks to Rhett about her newfound love for him, but he says that he no longer loves her. Rhett leaves Scarlett.

Book Note Creator


Olivia Manion, '08