...jumping fences and keeping it a secret from his wife gave him a boyish pride and guilty glee that matched her own pleasure in outwitting Mammy. (19)
Perhaps Scarlett just inherited her scheming little mind, and her insistence to do just as she pleases, no matter what Mammy or her mother says!
I had rather forgotten just how much Scarlett and Mammy tried to manipulate each other! So funny! And all the customs of dress and manners in those days and times! They seem so ridiculous to me now in so many ways! Men were rude and outspoken, women were always kind, gracious and forgiving. (41) (Yep! I would have never made it as a Southern Belle!) I so enjoy Mitchell's writing--it really is superb. I was shocked at just how fast the story moves, yet I feel the characterization and detailed settings are so thorough and well defined! I feel as if I'm right there beside Scarlett...and Mammy...and Melanie...down in the Deep South! Oh, and especially Rhett!! I love me some Rhett!! ;)
Observing Scarlett and the twins:
Drills always ended in the saloons of
Jonesboro, and by nightfall so many
fights had broken out that the officers
were hard put to ward off casualties
until the Yankees could inflict them. (12)
That had me laughing out loud--literally! :)
And of course, Scarlett has all the young men waiting on her hand and foot. And she is such a conniving little wench! She's constantly monitoring Ashley and Melanie since their engagement is to be announced--certain that if only she can get Ashley alone and confess her unbridled love for him, he will forsake Melanie and run off with her that very night! Good grief! What conceit! That extends way beyond self-confident!
"...Ashley was born of a line of men who used their leisure for thinking, not doing, for spinning brightly colored dreams that had in them no touch of reality. He moved in an inner world that was more beautiful than Georgia and came back to reality with reluctance. He looked on people, and he neither liked nor disliked them. He looked on life and was neither heartened nor saddened. He accepted the universe and his place in it for what they were, and, shrugging, turned to his music and books and his better world.
Why he should have captivated Scarlett when his mind was a stranger to hers she did not know. (18)
And that, my friends, pretty much says it all as to how differently these two approach and live life. Although the phrase "opposites attract" is often used, I wonder just how often that really works?
Scarlett finally manages to speak with Ashley "alone"...or so she thinks... Enter Rhett! That handsome devil! He hears every word of Scarlett's profession of adoration and love to Ashley and then rises up from the sofa where he was lying down to let her know he knows... I secretly always loved Rhett for doing that...putting Scarlett in her place, more or less, and guaranteeing a hold over her, which she took very seriously! Even her usual "I won't think of that now...If I think of it now, it will upset me." (51) can't quite dispel her disappointment, anger, and embarrassment to realize Rhett, alone, knows her true feelings.
And then poor Charles Hamilton, Melanie's brother. That poor soul! He never even saw it coming or knew what had hit him, did he? ;) As Scarlett admitted to herself within a day of her marriage,
...she regretted it all. She had often heard of people cutting off their noses to spit their faces but heretofore it had been only a figure of speech. Now she knew just what it meant. (92)
As soon as the men started leaving the Wilkes' plantation to plan for going to war, the cold calculating Scarlett re-emerged long enough to figure she could do worse than marry Charles.
"He has a lot of money,"..."And he hasn't any parents to bother me and he lives in Atlanta. And if I married him right away it would show Ashley that I didn't care a rap--that I was only flirting with him. And it would just kill Honey." (89)
Within two weeks Scarlett became Mrs. Charles Hamilton (The day before Ashley and Melanie's wedding!) and within two months she was a widow, pregnant with her dead husband's child. And poor Charles? As did many thousands of other "volunteers," he died of disease as a result of unsanitary crowded living conditions with insufficient shelter. He never even got close to war. Scarlett arrives in Atlanta to stay with Melanie and Aunt Pittypat and
The difference between the two girls lay in the fact that Melanie spoke kind and flattering words from a desire to make people happy, if only temporarily, and Scarlett never did it except to further her own aims. (109)
In the process of helping to nurse soldiers and work to raise funds for the various hospitals, Rhett re-enters Scarlett's life and scandalously bids the highest amount to dance with her (A newly widowed mother of an infant, for goodness sakes!) at the major fundraiser. Needless to say, this thrilled 17-year-old Scarlett and prompted her father, Gerald, to come for her. Do you think Scarlett returned to Tara with him? Let's just say it is rather uncanny how seamlessly Scarlett and Rhett work together and scheme their way to getting what they want... They seem to have forged an unspoken unconscious formidable partnership!
I realize I am more than a month behind with this initial posting, but I love love love this book, and I will catch up!! Promise! Are you joining in the Read-Along? It is interesting that the URL for the pursuit of happiness now leads to a message that the authors have deleted the site...hmmm... Well, I guess that means we're on our own! But so be it! I will still catch up and bravely continue onward! I have found at least one other blogger participating and posting: Bryn at Gleaningful. Who knows? Perhaps there are more out there! :)