Gone with the Wind
Margaret Mitchell
Contributed by Joslyn Justiniano
Chapter 26-27
Summary

Chapter 26

Scarlett, Melanie, the children, and Scarlett’s two weak sisters are home alone one day when a Yankee deserter makes an attempt to loot the house. Scarlett executes him. Melanie sees what takes place and thanks Scarlett for her show of bravery, despite the fact that they hide the murdering. A specific pride is taken by Scarlett in her demonstration of valor — she takes the Yankee’s horse and utilizes it to visit different ranches. At the Fontaine manor, matriarch Fontaine appears to comprehend what Scarlett is experiencing, and says that ladies ought to be “timid, frightened creatures” and cautions Scarlett not to turn into a strong and confident woman. Naturally, Scarlett does not appreciate this.

Neighbors share food with Tara, and Scarlett makes the decision to pick the remaining small cotton. She compels the remaining slaves and her sisters into picking the cotton, but fails to do so. Mammy, Pork, and Suellen whine to such an extent that they are futile, while Melanie and Carreen are excessively weak for such troublesome work. This leaves just Dilcey and Scarlett; but Scarlett is embarrassed about doing such work.

Chapter 27

The Yankees return to Tara, where the greater part of the family and the slaves decide to run away and hide in the ranch with the animals. Scarlett remains in the house with Wade and Melanie’s child. She goes up against the Yankees, yet she is defenseless as she watches them take the family belongings. One of them sets the house ablaze as he leaves, and Scarlett — together with Melanie — can do nothing to spare it from being razed to the ground. Scarlett has come to rely upon Melanie and develops affection for her.

Analysis

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.

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