Course Hero. "Gone with the Wind Study Guide." Course Hero. 13 July 2017. Web. 8 May 2021. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Gone-with-the-Wind/>.
Course Hero. (2017, July 13). Gone with the Wind Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved May 8, 2021, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Gone-with-the-Wind/
(Course Hero, 2017)
Course Hero. "Gone with the Wind Study Guide." July 13, 2017. Accessed May 8, 2021. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Gone-with-the-Wind/.
Course Hero, "Gone with the Wind Study Guide," July 13, 2017, accessed May 8, 2021, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Gone-with-the-Wind/.
After the ball Aunt Pittypat is horrified by Scarlett's behavior and tells Scarlett she must avoid Rhett. When Rhett purchases Melanie's wedding ring to return to her, Melanie comes to Rhett's defense. Scarlett suspects Rhett made this gesture just to get himself invited to Aunt Pittypat's house, and she notes he did not purchase Scarlett's ring to return to her. Scarlett gets a scolding letter from her mother, and her father pays her a visit to warn Rhett away and to bring Scarlett back to Tara. However, Rhett gets Gerald drunk, and Scarlett convinces her father to allow her to stay in Atlanta.
While Melanie and Aunt Pittypat go visiting, Scarlett sneaks into Melanie's room to read Ashley's letters to his wife; she wants to find out if they are filled with passion, and she is relieved to discover they are not. They are far from it. Ashley writes lengthy, complex explanations of his lack of enthusiasm for the war and says he fears the Southern way of life he treasured is gone forever, whether or not the South wins the war. Ashley refers to "a man named Butler" and what he said at the barbecue on that fateful day. Scarlett thinks the letters are silly.
Rhett manipulates others even more effectively than Scarlett. He knows just how to handle Melanie, Aunt Pittypat, Gerald, and Scarlett. It's no surprise when he tempts Scarlett out of mourning. Less expected, however, is Rhett's influence on Ashley. In one of Ashley's letters to Melanie, he recalls what Rhett said and deems it largely accurate.
Scarlett is having more fun now that she is breaking the "rules" for widows, but she still obsesses over Ashley. Her chaste love for him bears no resemblance to adult passion. Her love is also remarkably selfish; she loses interest in Ashley's rambling letters and can't understand why he writes such boring stuff. She's convinced it's a sign of his lack of interest in Melanie. It is, instead, a reflection of who Ashley is and what he and Melanie share: common interests and a desire to retreat from the world's harsh realities.