Literature Study GuidesGone With The WindPart 4 Chapters 35 36 Summary

Gone with the Wind | Study Guide

Margaret Mitchell

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Gone with the Wind | Part 4, Chapters 35–36 | Summary

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Summary

Chapter 35

Scarlett tries to make her way home in the pouring rain. Frank Kennedy spots her and offers her a ride. As he makes conversation, she learns he owns a store in town and has enough money to save Tara. Scarlett knows he will never lend it to her, so she decides to steal him away from Suellen and marry him herself. She lies to him, saying Suellen has found someone else to marry. When Frank brings Scarlett home, Mammy realizes what Scarlett is up to, but she has no qualms about it. She understands Scarlett is trying to save Tara, and she will do what she can to help.

Frank escorts Scarlett and Aunt Pittypat to a wedding that night. Scarlett sees all her old Atlanta friends and is struck by how different they seem. She feels removed from their world, in which they continue to go through the motions of their elegant former lives even though everything has changed. Scarlett dismisses such thoughts and focuses on winning Frank Kennedy.

Chapter 36

Scarlett and Frank are married two weeks later. She gets the money to save Tara and receives a vicious letter from Suellen in return. Everyone is shocked Frank and Scarlett married. Frank soon realizes Scarlett lied to him about Suellen; he also realizes she is smarter about business than he is, even though she feigned ignorance. When Frank becomes ill, Scarlett takes advantage of the opportunity to visit his store.

Rhett finds her at the store. He knows exactly why she married Frank, but he wants to be sure she has the money she needs for Tara—though he tries not to admit it. Scarlett convinces him to lend her money to buy a sawmill. Rhett makes some critical remarks about Ashley, accusing him of depending on Scarlett for things he should do himself, but he still lends her the money.

Frank is horrified at the idea of Scarlett running a business; many of their friends stop associating with them. Scarlett doesn't care; she's too busy trying to earn enough money to feel safe. Frank begins to realize Scarlett is not who he thought she was. But she can be a good wife—as long as she gets her way.

Analysis

Scarlett has been hardened by the difficulties she's faced, and she will stop at nothing to gain a sense of security. She cold-bloodedly steals her sister's fiancé, a man she can barely stand, to get money for Tara. In a way this seems more shocking than shooting the Yankee. The Yankee was an enemy of war and a potential source of physical danger; Scarlett shot him—she would claim—in self-defense. But she would surely claim she married Frank in self-defense, or Tara-defense, as well.

Scarlett's marriage to Frank further reveals societal expectations for men and women. Scarlett has never acted like a "proper lady," and she has had multiple conversations—often with Mammy—about her lapses in feminine behavior. Mammy and Ellen may have despaired of teaching Scarlett anything, but her pursuit of Frank shows she learned some of their lessons too well. In Chapter 5 Scarlett and Mammy discuss what men want in a wife. Scarlett complains of needing "to fool men who haven't got one-half the sense I've got" and she asks Mammy what happens when a man marries a woman and then discovers she has sense. Mammy responds, "too late den. Dey's already mahied." Sure enough, Scarlett pretends to be clueless and flighty until she has trapped Frank, and then she displays her real abilities. Her business skills are admirable, but she is upturning the standard order of things, which usually doesn't go over well but in her case enables her to achieve her goal.

At the wedding Scarlett feels like an outsider. Many of her old Atlanta friends have retained prewar graces like courtesy and dignity—niceties she long ago jettisoned—and she is not entirely at ease with them. She is more comfortable with Rhett, who never claimed to follow many of those old ideas in the first place.

Rhett understands Scarlett surprisingly well. When he is free from jail, he seeks her out to make sure she hasn't lost Tara. Rhett knows what Tara means to her. He has no illusions about her; he admires many of the qualities that shock others. There is "savagery" in his tone when he criticizes Ashley; Rhett seems to be angry for Scarlett's sake, implying Ashley let her down.

One of the more unexpected elements of this scene is Rhett's attitude toward Ashley. Rhett sneers at Ashley and at Scarlett's feelings for him, which surprises no one. But he suggests Ashley is behaving in an unmanly way by relying on Scarlett. Rhett seems to want to protect Scarlett in ways Ashley never does.

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