True Grit: Male Companionship vs. Female Companionship
In Charles Portis’ classic western novel, True Grit, Mattie Ross recounts her adventures as a young girl, seeking retribution for her father’s murder. Throughout the novel we see Mattie’s internal development from a young girl to a strong and wise woman. It is clear by Mattie’s habits, decisions, and personality that she is more masculine, and is more comfortable with the company of men to the company of women. It is evident from the beginning of the novel that Mattie is extremely fond of her father and looks up to him with the highest regards. As her father mounts his horse to set off to Fort Smith with Chaney to purchase ponies, Mattie proclaims that he “might have been a gallant knight of old” (14). Much like a knight, her father is courageous, thoughtful and kind-hearted, which is shown by his gesture to help Chaney. He is a man virtue, but his views of the world are ‘old’ and outdated and in the end, lead to his demise at the hands of Chaney himself. This would be the last time Mattie would see her father alive again. She was raised mostly by her father, having her morals and values instilled by him; he raised her to be strong-willed, intelligent and independent, much like the men of their time.
After the untimely death of her father, Mattie seeks revenge upon Chaney. In order to carry out her quest, she would need help. She sought out the aid of the toughest deputy in the district, U.S. Marshal Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn, as he is “a man with true grit” (59). The relationship between Mattie and Rooster starts off rocky, with neither of them truly trusting the other, and Rooster trying to escape her presents several times, they eventually grow a bond between them, though neither of them would ever admit to it. Rooster becomes fond of Mattie when she shows her toughness and determination, she reminds him a little of himself; she has grit. Her true grit is shown when she comments on the...
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