Study Guide

Gone With the Wind Chapter 6

By Margaret Mitchell

Chapter 6

  • They get to the barbecue.
  • Rhett Butler shows up. He checks Scarlett out. He is dangerous and manly. Also "swarthy," which means dark. Having a dark skin tone is a big deal in a novel as racist as this one.
  • Scarlett flirts with everyone, including a shy boy named Charles Hamilton; he's supposed to be semi-engaged to Honey Wilkes, but Scarlett completely turns his head.
  • Scarlett learns that Rhett refused to marry a girl he had gone out late with, causing a scandal. He is dangerous and bad… but oh so exciting.
  • Ashley is there with his cousin and fiancée Melanie, who is timid; Scarlett is jealous and hates her.
  • There's arguing about the war, which bores Scarlett. Charles proposes to her, which bores Scarlett—all she cares about is Ashley.
  • Rhett tells everyone that the North will beat the South, irritating everyone.
  • The women go upstairs to nap.
  • Scarlett sneaks away to find Ashley.
  • She finds Ashley and there's a big scene where she says she loves him and he says he cares for her but he's going to marry Melanie because he and Scarlett aren't enough alike, oh woe.
  • She slaps Ashley, he retreats.
  • Surprise: Rhett Butler was in the room the whole time. Scarlett is legit mortified and goes upstairs.
  • She hears Honey Wilkes and others gossiping about her; Honey seems to have figured out that Scarlett is sweet on Ashley.
  • Melanie intervenes and tells everyone to stop being mean, which makes Scarlett even angrier, since she's jealous of Melanie.
  • She runs into Charles, who tells her the war has started.
  • Charles proposes and she accepts out of spite and jealousy and bitterness, which isn't probably the best way to start a marriage.