Study Guide

Gone With the Wind Chapter 3

By Margaret Mitchell

Chapter 3

  • A bunch about how awesome Ellen is because she is so kind and self-abnegating and perfect.
  • Then we learn that Ellen wasn't always perfect, but had a great love with her cousin Philippe when she was fifteen.
  • Then it's on to the story of Gerald, who had to run out of Ireland after he killed a man; then he came to America to hang out with his brothers.
  • He made his fortune by being able to hold his liquor and beating people in gambling.
  • He won Pork, his slave, at cards, and also his plantation, Tara. Are we supposed to admire him for being a drunk, a gambler, and a slaveholder? Alas, we think we are (though for the record, we do not).
  • Gerald makes good, building his plantation with slave labor and calling himself a self-made man. You see the contradiction there? Margaret Mitchell doesn't.
  • More about how awesome and blustery and lovable Gerald is. He treats his slaves well! He only beat one for failing to tend to his horse correctly, and you can't blame him for that, right?
  • Gerald goes off to his brothers' in town to see if he can find a wife.
  • He manages to marry Ellen Robillard, because her first love died and her family was afraid she'd go into a convent.
  • Scarlett is born, and learns to be feminine in appearance, if not true gentleness—she's selfish and headstrong and wants to get her own way.
  • It's never clear whether Mitchell admires Scarlett for not being graceful like Ellen, or whether she sees it as a flaw. Scarlett seems conflicted about this herself.