In Gone with the Wind, discuss the significance of Scarlett's black servant, Mammy.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One of the most interesting elements of Mitchell's work is the large role that Mammy plays in the narrative.  The opening chapters shows the relationship between Scarlett and Mammy as not one of master and slave but rather of mother and daughter.  Scarlett demonstrates early on that color or ethnicity is not such a defining element for her with her interaction with Mammy.  For her part, Mammy also transcends race in trying to move Scarlett to a realm of "acting with class" and trying to convince her of the socially acceptable manner to act.  It is interesting to note that Mammy is trying to teach Scarlett about how to "act right" in a society that nothing but contempt for Mammy as a woman of color.  This might speak to Mammy's character as one loyal to the O'Hara family, willing to endure what is thrown at her by White society in order to meet her obligation and duty to Scarlett and her family.

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