I'm going to have to reach back in my mind a little bit on this week's post. I ended up reading the chapters in three-chapter sections, and I read the first section on Monday. Whew. A long time ago!
The story really has started to get moving. It was a bit slow in the first nine chapters, mainly because we had to receive our introductions to all the characters and the setting. But, in this section, the story starts to take off.
I love how we get to see Rhett so much more often in this section. He's absolutely my favorite character thus far. He is a blockade buster and speculator, and makes no bones about the fact that he's in his job for nothing other than the money. He doesn't agree with the "noble" reasons everyone gives for the war, and speaks out against the Confederacy's chances to win at every chance he gets. I admire his ability to have his own opinions and principles and stick to them, regardless of what anyone else says.
Once again, I was not terribly fond of Scarlett. She continually ignores the fact that Ashley is married to her sister-in-law, yet she still thinks of him as being in love with her. She dreams incessantly about him returning from the war and the two of them running off together. I guess I could chalk this mindset up to the fact that Scarlett is still very young in both age and emotional maturity, but her constant talk of Ashley as "hers" just rubs me the wrong way.
Two of my favorite scenes in this section of the book take place surrounding significant military events.
The first great scene is when all the women in town are gathered at the newspaper office, waiting to hear of the casualties at Gettysburg. Despite the fact that there are dozens of women around, the scene is eerily quiet. Then, when the casualty lists come out, Mitchell does a great job of showing the devastation of women who lost loved ones and the relief of those whose loved ones were not on the list.
My second favorite scene comes as the state militia is riding/marching out to assist the army against Sherman's march toward Atlanta. It's a heartbreaking scene to read, as the group is just one long parade of young boys and old men who should not be going to war. Scarlett's horror at seeing some of the men, especially Mr. Wilkes, setting off to the battlefield is obvious.
So far, I am really enjoying this book (Still!). I can't wait to see what happens next.