For soothing her mind, Aunt Pittypat and Melanie invited Scarlett to go to Atlanta. However, Scarlett wasn’t mourning for her late husband. She was just bored of her life as a widow, that took all her freedom. She hoped at Atlanta, she could have something interesting to do.
Atlanta was a busy town then, it became center of manufacturing and headquarters. The wounded soldiers was brought there too, so that the hospitals needed volunteers for nursing. Scarlett was asked to do that. Her enthusiasm of the town faded, she hated what she did. The worse thing, she missed her pleasure of being the center of attentions at parties.
When the hospital arranged a bazaar, every women in town took part doing what they could do. At the D-day, they were partying–especially girls–that made Scarlett felt envious. Then, Rhett Butler came and evoked the rebel side of that widow. All people, especially women, talked about how inappropriate attitude they behaved. But Rhett always provoked Scarlett for being herself, how immature and improper it was.
Rhett was a blockade runner, he brought goods and needs, since at the war time they were difficult to get. He had bad reputations at the past, but for what he did, people could forgetting it for a while. He could make people tolerate him, but when he was willing to, he could make them curse him at the same time.
At this part, we were introduced with Scarlett’s late husband’s family and hometown. The brief history of Atlanta, and the old customs. Rhett was introduced more deeply. Moreover, the war itself. How it impacted to people and society.
Scarlett hasn’t forgotten her feeling for Ashley yet. Her jealousy at Melanie hasn’t diminished, even worse. However, there was a wide gap between Scarlett and Melanie, as the lovers of the same guy. Melanie was ‘so Ashley’, something that Scarlett couldn’t and won’t understand. She was still spoiled and naive. When she finally understood Ashley’s thoughts–after Melanie uttered about it–she was amazed about how same, yet how different Ashley compared with Rhett.
It shocked her to realize that anyone as absolutely perfect as Ashley could have any thought in common with such a reprobate as Rhett Butler. She thought: “They both see the truth of this war, but Ashley is willing to die about it and Rhett isn’t. I think that shows Rhett’s good sense.” She paused a moment, horror struck that she could have such a thought about Ashley. “They both see the same unpleasant truth, but Rhett likes to look it in the face and enrage people by talking about it—and Ashley can hardly bear to face it.” It was very bewildering. (p.265 of Indonesian edition)
At the end of this part, Rhett gave Scarlett an answer:
“He’s a gentleman,”
Kinda more interesting.