Study Guide

Gone With the Wind Chapter 45

By Margaret Mitchell

Chapter 45

  • She gets back home and Frank goes off to a political meeting.
  • Scarlett is mad at him for leaving her; she also hasn't figured out what you all probably already know, which is that Frank is in the KKK.
  • At Melanie's, Archie and India and Melanie are very tense.
  • Scarlett doesn't know why, but they're all upset because the men-folk are out KKK-ing like heroes, and/or like evil terrorists, depending on your perspective (the second one is the right perspective, though).
  • India and Scarlett have a fight; India blames her for putting herself at risk and causing the attack and leading to men having to do what men do.
  • Because obviously if women go out by themselves they inevitably provoke attack and it's their fault.
  • India still hasn't managed to tell Scarlett about the KKK when Rhett shows up, saying he was with Yankees and they told him that they've set a trap for the KKK.
  • Rhett gets Melanie to tell him where the KKK meets, despite India thinking he's a traitor.
  • Rhett rides off heroically to save the racist violent vigilante thugs from the consequences of their actions. Hooray.
  • The women stay put and pretend to be sewing in case they're being spied upon.
  • Sure enough, Yankees show up.
  • Melanie starts reading Les Misérables, a famous book about the trials of poor people. Oh, the poor KKK, riding through the night to murder people.
  • Then they hear Rhett singing and Ashley and Hugh Elsing speaking in a drunken voice.
  • They all pretend they were drunk and at Belle Watling's house drinking and gambling and paying for prostitutes, effectively fooling the Yankees.
  • They go, and then they have to tend to Ashley, who was pretending to be drunk but was actually shot.
  • They'd escaped by sneaking into Belle Watling's for shelter.
  • Rhett has a key; apparently he does sleep with her.
  • Belle helped them all out because—like the black people in the story—she loves a society that treats her like dirt.
  • (In case you hadn't noticed yet, Gone with the Wind loves to believe that people who are treated like dirt adore their oppressors.)
  • Anyway, Rhett sends Archie off on an errand and it turns out that errand is to bury Frank, who has been killed.