It’s been perhaps two weeks since I have finished the fourth part of Gone With The Wind, however I have felt too annoyed to write my thoughts then. So, now, while my mind has been calming a bit after taking two other beautiful books, I will jot down my brief thoughts about events taking place throughout Part 4.
Reconstruction era followed the Civil War. Under the new government and new laws, the Southerner suffered just more. For Tara, it came as a much higher taxes. Jonas Wilkerson, the ex overseer at Tara came one day to collect the taxes, and threatened Scarlett to buy Tara if she could not get the money to pay it. Enraged, Scarlett made a vow that she would never—never have to release Tara and got hungry again. After thinking hard—and as usual put aside any consciences—Scarlett decided that her only chance to save Tara was marrying Rhett Butler—the only man who possessed money—or at least became his mistress. So went Miss Tara once again to Atlanta, only to find that Rhett was in prison after being accused of killing a black man.
One of the “best” moments in this part, for me, was the scene of Scarlett used her charm to seduce Rhett. Almost got trapped in Scarlett’s trick, Rhett finally found her true purpose, and ungallantly refused her proposition. Ha! This could be a good lesson for Scarlett. But…did she learn from it? Of course not! :) Unsuccessful with Rhett, Scarlett—who possesses a good sense towards money—found the smell of cash in Frank Kennedy’s new store. Despite the fact that Frank fell in love with Suellen—Scarlett’s sister—and have been engaged to her, Scarlett unashamedly seduced Frank although she has never attracted to him at all (the same case as she first married Charlie). Scarlett lied to Frank that Suellen has engaged to other man because she could not wait for Frank any longer, and finally, in his heartbreak, Frank agreed to marry Scarlett. And finally, Scarlett could get cash to save Tara.
From a plantation owner, Scarlett has transformed into a business woman. She manipulate Frank to build the iron business, something Frank had been dream on for quite a long time, but she took it over from Frank, and run the business by herself. And she ran it in a harsh and ruthless way, ignoring ethics and conscience. Atlanta at that time was not a safe place for white people, especially for women who travelled alone. This was the time when the Northerners freed black slaves and planted the idea that they have the right to do whatever they liked to white peoples, including raping white women. These situations persuaded white men to join in the Ku Klux Klan, to take avenge and to protect their women.
Between these times Gerald died, and Scarlett returned to Tara in her pregnant condition. Everyone imposed the guilt on Suellen, who they believed triggered Gerald’s heart attack. Everyone but Will Benteen, who finally decided to marry Suellen! Not that he loved her, he loved Tara more than anything else, and marrying Suellen gave him the right to live and manage Tara—which he has been proven to be very skilful during Scarlett’s absence. If I must choose one favorite man protagonist from this book, Will would be my pick. Not only he’s smart and kind hearted, Will was the only one who would make Scarlett ashamed of what she had done to Suellen. Will did not scolded her or mocked her in Rhett’s style, he did not pointed at her in his accusation, he just reminded her that ‘she knew how she had cruelly hurt Suellen and manipulated Frank’s true love.
While at Tara, Scarlett persuaded Ashley to come with her to Atlanta, to manage one of her lumber business. It was Scarlett’s way to keep being closed to Ashley. Here, once again, Mitchell emphasized Ashley’s incapability to adapt to the changing world. Ashley was the old times’ product, and it would be difficult for him to find his place in this new world, one thing that Ashley knew very well. Frankly—despite of his incapability, I admire Ashley for his frankness to recognize his own weakness. I think Ashley was Ashley, it’s not his fault that he had grown up in the old times. What he needed was to accept his weakness and what life has offered him. He should be thankful (and I believe he did) to Melly, because without her, he won’t be able to survive. Ashley was meant to be with Melly, they made a perfect couple in this story. Sometimes (or often) love is not the most essential element in a marriage, understanding and accepting each other are. Ashley and Scarlett loved each other, but just imagine what would happen when they marry each other. A catastrophe!...
So, Scarlett returned to Atlanta together with the Wilkes—after Melly convinced Ashley to move on. Unconcerned of all the danger—as Scarlett only focused her little mind to make money and money—she kept travelling alone to run the business, in spite of Frank’s and the others’ pledge for Scarlett to reduce her frequent outings. Then one day when Scarlett travelled alone, some black slaves attacked her and almost raped her, if one of Tara’s ex slave did not come to help her. Another good thing for her, something to open her eyes to the real world. You were not the only person worthy to live in this world, o Miss O’Hara! Grow up!!
Scarlett’s incident triggered a reaction from the guys in Ku Klux Klan to do some “action”. This was a blow for Scarlett, and made another huge change in her entire life. Rhett’s and Melly’s co-action in the rescue were superb. And to end the turbulence of Scarlett’s life, Rhett Butler came to propose her to marry him.
Part four is the longest and the most interesting of Gone With The Wind. Here Scarlett’s life has changed completely and abruptly. I could feel a little pity for her, things must have been tough for her, but still, I could not feel sorry for her. She was much more annoying here, knowing that she should have been more mature and learned a lot of lessons now, but she seems never learned at all. =__=