Study Guide

Gone With the Wind Part 1 / Chapter 1

By Margaret Mitchell

Part 1 / Chapter 1

  • Scarlett O'Hara enters with the first word. She's not super-pretty, but she has charmed a couple of boys named the Tarleton twins because she's that sort of girl.
  • It's 1861 in Georgia, and Stuart and Brent, the Tarleton twins, have been expelled from school, because they are both that sort of boy. You're supposed to be charmed by the fact that they're kind of useless.
  • The Tarleton boys want to talk about the fact that the Civil War is coming, but Scarlett doesn't because she's incredibly self-absorbed. It's not clear whether you're supposed to be charmed by that. The Tarleton boys are.
  • The Tarletons' mom is mad at them, and they're hiding out, because she'll beat them if she's angry, which is humiliating since they're grown up.
  • There is flirting. Flirt, flirt, flirt.
  • In the course of flirting, the Tarletons tell Scarlett that Ashley Wilkes is getting married to his cousin.
  • Scarlett is shocked and upset because she is in love with Ashley Wilkes, but she doesn't show it because she is tough.
  • The Tarleton twins eventually wander off home because Scarlett doesn't ask them to stay for dinner.
  • They remember the exact moment when Scarlett decided to charm their socks off, even though they didn't know that she had decided to charm their socks off. Now they are sockless, and charmed. Again, they appear to be as dumb as two twin doornails.
  • Scarlett took Stuart away from India Wilkes, which will matter later, and Brent away from someone else, who won't.
  • The Tarletons mention lots of folks in passing, so that you know right from the start that this is a big sweeping novel about communities, rather than just a little piddly novel about one or two people.