Day 01: Chapters 01, 02
Scarlett O’Hara spends an afternoon with the Tarleton twins, who are both interested in our protagonist. Scarlett is quite enjoying the attention that the twins are giving her, but she is bored by their war talk. As she steers the conversation towards a barbecue to be held the next day, she learns from the Tarletons that Ashley Wilkes, the object of her desire, is going to announce his engagement to some girl.
Scarlett gets agitated. I was like, whoa, you already have twins fawning over you, and you still want another guy? But this other guy is too cerebral for Scarlett. Arts, poetry, books; that’s what Ashley is made of. And the people call that eccentric. Sheesh.
Since Scarlett could not find peace, she confirms the piece of rumor to her father. The latter confirms, so our protagonist’s heart is broken.
I find the first two chapters promising, which are filled with intrigue and yes, romance! And yes, there is war, there is going to be war.
Day 02: Chapters 03, 04, 05
Some background on the O’Haras, which is not unexpected for a novel of such length. More focus is given on the patriarch though, which only magnifies the gender roles that are prevalent in the era when the novel was written.
Which also makes me root for Scarlett. I also like the character of her mother Ellen, who is classy, dignified, and selfless regardless of her social standing. But isn’t she someone who’s playing the role that a woman of her times is expected to act out?
And Scarlett is not someone who is going to follow such expectations. Her plans of snatching Ashley away from Melanie is a proof of her stubborn character and her defiance against the gender roles. Never mind that her plan is not something that a morally upright person would do, but I think that adds a sense of reality to the novel.
Day 03: Chapters 06, 07
Scarlett O’Hara, meet Rhett Butler. We all know that these two are the ultimate love team, but she is not totally impressed with this contemptuous man, who is also a polar opposite of Ashley in all aspects. She has ambiguous feelings for this man, what with the shock and respect mingling inside her.
After Scarlett’s failed attempt to lure Ashley into her arms, her heart is filled with hatred and jealousy. She marries the timid Charles just to get even with Ashley. Desperate or extreme measures?
The long chapter on the barbecue at the Wilkeses reminds me so much of parties depicted at Tolstoy’s War and Peace. The clothes, the talk, the atmosphere, and of course the war talk: everything is familiar. Except that this is a Southern barbecue and not a Russian ball.
I think the author represented Ashley Wilkes and Rhett Butler very well. The North and the South. The Southerners versus the Yankees. The old and the new. The Civil War begins. End of Part I.
Day 04: Chapters 08, 09
After the disastrous marriage, Scarlett gets bored with her life. Being a widow at 17, she feels that her life is going to waste. But Scarlett, that is your own doing!
She’s hurled to and fro different cities, until finally, she is invited to live with her rival Melanie and Aunt Pittypat in Atlanta. The city revives her down spirits despite the nursing duties that she is forced to do.
And then a bazaar is organized for the soldiers of the South. Scarlett is dying to go and dance with all the beaux, but since she is a widow who is supposed to mourn, she takes the role of a wallflower. She sulks, of course, but here comes Rhett Butler. She gets to dance and show her true colors under the scrutiny of the scandalized women of Atlanta.
This feels like Rubi, right? The TV series of ABS-CBN? I also find myself laughing despite the long chapters, especially when Rhett mocks the beautiful but brainless Scarlett. I feel that the author has a tendency to be repetitive, like she would stress on and on that Scarlett is bored, Scarlett wants to flirt, et cetera.
And I like the good nature of Melanie. I am steeling my guts in the event of Scarlett’s adulterous intentions coming true. Will there be a hair-pulling moment?
Note: Notes are originally posted at GoodReads – The Filipino Group. I am currently reading this with one of my bookish friends, Atty. Monique. She blogs at Bookish Little Me.