In Part II of Gone with the Wind:
Scarlet makes a long trip to Atlanta to stay with Melanie and Melanie’s aunt, Pittypat. The busy city agrees with Scarlett’s temperament, and she begins to see a great deal of Rhett. Rhett infuriates Scarlett with his bluntness and mockery, but he also encourages her to flout the severely restrictive social requirements for mourning Southern widows. As the war progresses, food and clothing run scarce in Atlanta. Scarlett and Melanie fear for Ashley’s safety. After the bloody battle of Gettysburg, Ashley is captured and sent to prison, and the Yankee army begins bearing down on Atlanta. Scarlett desperately wants to return home to Tara, but she has promised Ashley she will stay with the pregnant Melanie, who could give birth at any time.
This brief summary of Gone with the Wind was taken from Sparknotes.com
And now for my thoughts on Part II
In Part I I felt that Scarlet was being really stupid, spiting herself just to get back at Ashley for not wanting to marry her. In Part II we see how Scarlet has grown, and I love that she realises how foolish she was in her marriage to Charlie. She sees how she only succeeded in spiting herself by taking away everything she enjoyed - dancing, dances, beaux - by marrying Charlie. Through this foolish marriage she made herself wife to someone she did not even love, then became a widow restricting her even more and then the worst cherry on top - making her a mother long before she was ready for it.
I admire Scarlet's self control - being so nice to Melanie when all she really wants to do is rip her head off because she despises her so. Rhett Butler's character is developed more in Part II - and we see how despicable he is; despicable to those in the South with his boorishness, but I think that if Rhett Butler were to be put in a modern setting, no one would think as poorly of him as they did in the 1860s. I must say that I admire Rhett for helping Scarlet to come out of the shell that she has been forced into by her early widowhood. His dancing with her at the bazaar is something that raises my opinion of him.
And now for my general thoughts on Part II:
I find it amazing how the army from the South was able to fight so valiantly for as long as they did considering that their army had a limited supply. Whilst the Yankee's could and did get reinforcements from overseas. Had this not been the case then the South would not have been in such a terrible state as we see in Part II. I love how Margaret Mitchell has written this book - including historically relevant descriptions of how Atlanta changed from the start of the war in a way that you would not realise that you are not reading a story of the people in the book but are rather getting a more graphic picture painted in your mind's eye. If you were just reading and not paying attention you would not pick up the historical way in which she sets the scene - this is marvellous!
That is all I have to say about Part II of Gone with the Wind - Part III should be up some time next week.