Gone with the Wind | Study Guide

Margaret Mitchell

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Gone with the Wind | Part 3, Chapters 28–29 | Summary

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Summary

Chapter 28

After the Yankees come through, everything is worse than before: less food, more houses destroyed. Scarlett struggles to keep everyone alive, but she is beginning to have nightmares from the strain.

Frank Kennedy, Suellen's beau, arrives with his army unit around Christmas. He warns Scarlett and the others the war will end soon and tells them Aunt Pittypat's house survived even when much of Atlanta burned. Frank asks Scarlett's permission to propose to Suellen, since Gerald is too mentally feeble to give his permission. Scarlett says yes.

Chapter 29

Pork goes on a trip to get supplies and brings back plenty. But the food can't brighten anyone's spirits when the news arrives: the Civil War is over, and the South has lost. Everyone except Scarlett grieves. Scarlett focuses on daily living. She visits the neighbors and sees everyone is suffering. One girl is marrying her father's Yankee employee because she needs a place to live. Former gentlemen are learning to be farmers. The Tarleton place feels eerie; all four sons were killed in the war. Scarlett misses them, but she is furious when she learns Mrs. Tarleton spent a lot of money on fancy gravestones for the boys.

Analysis

After focusing on Tara for the past several chapters, the story now broadens to include tales of suffering from around the region. The war is officially over, but the pain will go on, particularly for those who lost loved ones. Before he was imprisoned, Ashley worried their beloved Southern way of life was over; he was right. Scarlett can see the plantations will not survive as they once did. "Gentleman" farmers now must be plain farmers, working their own land to get enough food to survive. An entire generation of Southern women will have no one to marry, as thousands of Confederate boys will never come home—or will come home only to die.

Everyone sees the suffering and feels the grief, but Scarlett is all business. Suellen's engagement means one less mouth to feed. Scarlett has no patience with Carreen's mourning over Brent Tarleton, and Beatrice Tarleton's decision to spend money on elegant tombstones outrages her. Scarlett wants no eulogizing for the past; dead is dead, and the living need food. Most people won't share Scarlett's attitude. But then Scarlett never felt as excited about the Cause as her friends and family did. She will continue to be out of step with her society, but just now she is too busy to worry about it.

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