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Chapter L

Summary

Scarlet has a baby girl with Rhett. When she first realizes she is pregnant, she wants to have an abortion via some method shared with her by Mamie Bart, the madam of a whorehouse. The idea alarms Rhett who immediately takes Scarlett in his arms and holds her as if he is afraid of losing her. He agrees that he didnít want children either, but he doesnít want her to die. The methods proposed by Mamie can result in a horrible death for the girl. He says she will have her baby if he has to chain her to his wrist for nine months.

Little Wade spends the day of his sisterís birth in terror. No one understands his fears or even knows about them, but he is genuinely afraid that his mother is dying. When the anxiety is over, Wade asks Rhett if he would have preferred to have a little boy. Rhett immediately understands the childís thoughts and tells him that he doesnít need a boy because he already has Wade. He waters down some wine and toasts the birth of the baby with the child.


After the baby is born, Rhett is so enchanted by her and behaves so gentlemanly himself that mammy reconsiders her opinion of him and even wears the red taffeta petty coat he had brought back from his honeymoon for her. Rhett is unexpectedly proud of his baby daughter and stops everyone he can to brag about her. Scarlett does not completely understand his attitude toward fatherhood, but he says it is because Bonnie Blue-a nickname accidentally contributed by Melanie-is the first person in his life who is entirely his. He tells her that she has two other children. Bonnie, whose real name is Euginie Victoria-is entirely his. Scarlett reminds him that she herself belongs to him, but that remark almost triggers an argument.

Notes

This chapter adds some depth to both Rhett and Mammy. We have seen Rhett holding little Wade as a baby, but now we see that he is quick to understand and alleviate childish worries. His reactions to both Wade and to his own baby daughter convince Mammy that she was mistaken. She is open minded and honest with both herself and others, so she is quick to forgive and forget if given a reason to do so. Mammy is one of the few people in the story-along with Melanie-who belongs to the old south, but does not behave with artificial polish. Yet, she has as much class as any of the whites; Rhett recognizes this and would rather have her good opinion than that of any of the Old Guard.

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