Gone with the Wind
Margaret Mitchell
Contributed by Joslyn Justiniano
Chapter 23
Summary

Atlanta is ablaze as the Confederates burn their food as opposed to giving the Yankees an opportunity to take them. Rhett arrives, driving a wagon, which by all standards appears to be emaciated, and all he could find. When he endeavors to prevent Scarlett from going to Tara, she ends up going ballistic. Rhett solaces her so softly that she could not believe it is him. He, Scarlett, and Prissy get Melanie, Wade, and the new infant into the wagon, and set off towards Tara. They pass a little band of Confederate officers, where Rhett gets lost in thought after watching a depleted young man crumbling in the street, yet at the same time feels he can go on fighting.

After Rhett evacuates the rest to safety, he reports that he is ready to join the armed force. Scarlett is irate, but Rhett holds her in his arms, discloses that he has strong feelings for her, and starts kissing her. Nobody else’s kisses has ever provoked her like Rhett’s. At that point, Wade cries and causes Scarlett to drift back to the real world, and she slaps Rhett in the face. As he leaves, Scarlett leans on the wagon and cries.

Analysis

Rhett’s attitude toward Scarlett shocks her, yet it bodes well. Scarlett is still young, all things considered, while Rhett is mature enough to be her father. He comprehends her fears and respects her position, regardless of whether he feels she is insane to attempt to return home to Tara. Scarlett is appreciative of his strength since he makes her feel safe. Not long ago, Rhett, to a great extent, has been depicted as dangerous and careless. Now, he appears to be the hero of the likes of Scarlett, notwithstanding his earlier position on the war.

Rhett’s other startling decision in this chapter is more complex than previously imagined. Scarlett cannot comprehend why he needs to volunteer for the Confederate armed forces now, especially after the Confederates have lost a lot of soldiers, and where Rhett does not offer much clarification. The reader has to come up with an understanding of the possible factors that may have influenced Rhett.

At the point when the officers first cross their way, Rhett scoffs at them. However, when the youthful fighter falls but is still resolved to proceed with the fight, Rhett’s demeanor changes. The youthful army officer symbolizes the valor and strength of the South, even when on the losing side of the war. The South put itself on the wrong side of history by endeavoring to stick to the unpopular acts of slavery. However, numerous Southerners unquestionably battled to safeguard what they saw as their rights.

Rhett notices his “quixoticism”, a reference to the novel Don Quixote (distributed in two parts, in 1605 and 1615 respectively), by Miguel de Cervantes. Quixote is an elderly man who supposes a knight, riding off into the countryside and endeavoring to do great deeds — for example, assaulting “monsters”, which are, truth be told, windmills. The word “quixotic”, along these lines, signifies “unreasonably or stupidly optimistic”. It is not a word one would connect with Rhett up until this point.

Rhett’s choice indicates that — besides all his recommendations to Scarlett — he cannot altogether ignore his tradition. His sudden announcement to Scarlett demonstrates an emotional side, even in spite of the fact that he giggles at her and at himself for it. Until this point, Rhett was an intriguing character, yet, to some degree, one-dimensional. He presently demonstrates the unexpected profundities in his character, ensuring that he will keep on fascinating Scarlett — and generally rule the flow of the novel.

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