Study Guide

Gone With the Wind Part 3 / Chapter 17

By Margaret Mitchell

Part 3 / Chapter 17

  • There's some foreshadowing of the fact that Atlanta is going to come under siege.
  • Aunt Pittypat has a little party to entertain people and distract them from the war, and Rhett shows up, bringing his scandalous realism about the war with him.
  • More about the war: Confederates are holding, but it's only a matter of time.
  • Scarlett is doing a lot of nursing, which is really unpleasant.
  • She escapes from the hospital, finds Rhett, and he takes her riding in his carriage.
  • They run into Big Sam, who'd been a foreman on Scarlett's plantation.
  • He's singing "Go Down, Moses" as they head out to work on the fortifications around town.
  • This is especially ironic since "Go Down, Moses" is a song about freeing the Jews from enslavement in Egypt, but Mitchell has her slaves just cheerful and happy to be enslaved.
  • Scarlett realizes there's going to be a siege of Atlanta, and is justly freaked out.
  • Rhett says he's going to stay to see how things go, but he's probably lying—he's totally staying because he's sweet on Scarlett.
  • He teases her about Ashley Wilkes and figures out he kissed her and she is waiting for him helplessly.
  • But is he teasing her, or is his heart breaking?
  • And if it's the latter, why doesn't he tell her?