Gone with the Wind
Margaret Mitchell
Contributed by Joslyn Justiniano
Chapter 31-32

Chapter 31

Will cautions Scarlett about carpetbaggers and scallawags who are plotting to snatch Tara from her. These parties now run the government and have raised Tara’s taxes to their highest so Scarlett will be compelled to offer her farm. She goes to Ashley for advice, but he has none to give. Rather, he discusses how ill-suited he is for this new post-war world and considers himself a quitter, which Scarlett questions. When he discusses fleeing, she trusts him and offers to flee with him. They kiss tenderly. However Ashley withdraws from it. He will never succeed in love with Melanie, and Ashley supposes he and Melanie ought to take opposite directions in social life. Scarlett guarantees Ashley she will never entice him again, albeit lonely. Ashley then indicates to her that she has Tara.

Chapter 32

Scarlett comes back to the house as a luxurious car pulls up. Inside are Jonas Wilkerson, their previous manager, and his partner, Emmie Slattery Wilkerson; both are intricately overdressed. They plan to purchase Tara after Scarlett neglects to pay her soaring debts. Scarlett orders them out of the house, and resolves to raze Tara to the ground before she lets them live there. In addition to other things, she is appalled by the possibility of the Wilkersons bringing liberated slaves to eat at Tara.

Scarlett chooses to return to Atlanta and look for Rhett. He is very well off, individuals say; she chooses to get married to him or be his mistress, in the event he will not marry her. She supposes she is not pretty or sharp-looking enough to win Rhett, which leads her to make another dress that she believes will assist her in winning Rhett. Mammy gets her and quickly becomes suspicious, and reports that she will go with Scarlett to Atlanta. Scarlett makes everybody aware that she is going to Atlanta to get cash to pay Tara’s expenses, where they all contribute to send her. Just Ashley, Will, and Mammy believe she might come up with something they will not approve, just to spare Tara.


Scarlett has been so concerned with life at Tara that she missed the more noteworthy changes occurring in her environment. Reconstruction has tremendously affected the South. For every advantage gained, it gives an additional reason for corrupt individuals a chance to improve themselves, and this poses a potential threat to Scarlett’s thinking. Scarlett's bias shows up in these chapters, as she is sickened by the idea that Wilkerson may engage liberated slaves at Tara. There is a significant disconnect in her thinking: she is fine with Mammy and the other house slaves, now workers, living and eating in the house; but the liberated slaves Wilkerson wants to bring is another story. These alarming animals will contaminate Tara’s virtue.

The scene between Ashley and Scarlett makes two things clear: Ashley is exceptionally attracted to Scarlett; but Ashley and Scarlett are a horribly mis-matched couple. Their minds work in varying circles: Ashley makes references to literary works; while Scarlett thinks about how to get food on the table and meet her tax obligations. Ashley’s respect is what prevents him from leaving Melanie for Scarlett; but Scarlett’s affection for Tara trumps all else. In the event that she has no desire for keeping Tara, nothing else matters — not even Ashley.

Scarlett has gone too far and Grandma Fontaine cautioned her about it. However, she will do everything possible to keep up, as her survival instincts are commendable, to a point — yet, she stresses herself to be Rhett’s mistress so that she can spare Tara.

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