Rhett has more than once said God helps the Yankee who faces Scarlett; she confirms his point by shooting the Yankee betrayer to death. Scarlett is shocked by her own boldness, yet Melanie’s response may shock readers even more. Given Scarlett’s temper, besides her will, it is not astonishing for her to shoot a man who attempts to destroy Tara. In any case, Melanie’s satisfaction with the execution, and her willingness to disguise it by lying, are startling — it was completely unexpected.
The second time the Yankees show up, both Scarlett and Tara gets the brunt of their misdeeds. In this book, the Yankees are bad news. A decent one might appear anywhere; yet, by and large, they are the enemies, as they are shown at Tara. This is not exclusively Southern bias, as it may be found on Mitchell’s part. The Yankees, organized and led by General William Sherman, attempted to make the South hopeless. Sherman needed the war over, and he chose to make the province of Georgia bear the worst of the war so as to hit the Confederate spirit. His “Walk to the Sea” as it was called, included monstrous annihilation over the state, from Atlanta to Savannah. The Union troopers needed to hit at Georgia for seceding — and they did. They particularly aimed at the property of affluent slave masters, like the O’Hara’s, in light of the fact that the Northerners blamed them for the war. Georgia’s annihilation was the reason the war finished a year after the fall of Atlanta, against the expectations of many people.
Scarlett’s visit to the Fontaine’s offers her a potential source of psychological help in Grandma Fontaine. However, Scarlett is buried in thought about her life, past, and challenges to realize it. Grandmother Fontaine can see what Scarlett has experienced, and she endeavors to offer Scarlett a few words of wisdom on how she can pick up the pieces and move on with her life. Her thought that ladies ought to be “timid, frightened creatures” sounds absurd in today’s society, yet her warning about what happens when a lady has nothing to fear could not be more appropriate to Scarlett, who is gaining courage under the wave of what she has confronted. A troublesome character from the beginning, now, with nothing to lose, she may let outrage and anger destroy her completely.