Chapter 1 Summary and Analysis

New Characters:
Scarlet O’Hara: the protagonist of the novel

Mammy: Scarlett’s mother’s body slave

Scarlett O’Hara is discussing with the twins Stuart and Brent Tarleton, her neighbors with whom she flirts despite not being interested in marrying either, their expulsion from the fourth college in two years. They insist it does not matter because the Civil War will soon start. They also tell Scarlett that Ashley plans to announce his engagement to Melanie at a ball the next night. Upon hearing this, Scarlett neglects to invite them to dinner, earning her a lecture on hospitality from Mammy, her mother’s body (or personal) slave. The boys leave accompanied by their own body slave, Jeems, but are afraid to face their mother. They go instead to see Abel Wynder, who is in charge of the cavalry troop that has been organized to prepare to fight for the Confederacy.

This chapter introduces the plantation lifestyle of pre-Civil War Georgia. Scarlett has been raised by her maternal grandmother’s body slave, Mammy, who instructs her in the art of womanhood and sees to her every need. While Scarlett is courted by all the acceptable young men, she secretly chooses Ashley and is stunned that he is to marry the sickly Melanie.