Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Mattie Ross

Picked up 'True Grit' a few days ago on a whim.  I liked the movie well enough, but novel is simply outstanding and I am better for having read it.

Donna Tartt explains Mattie Ross, in the afterword to the movie tie-in novel thus;

.. this deadpan flatness serves a double purpose in the novel, for if Mattie is humorless, she is also completely lacking in qualities like pity and self-doubt, and her implacable stoniness - while very, very funny - is formidable, too, in a manner reminiscent of old tintypes and cartes des visites of Confederate soldier boys: dead-eye killers with rumpled hair and serious angel faces.  Mattie ... is the perfect soldier, despite her sex.  She is as tireless as a gun dog; and while we laugh at her single-mindedness, we also stand in awe of it.  In her Old Testament morality, in her legalistic and exacting turn of mind, in the thunderous blackness of her wrath "What a waste! ... I would not rest easy until that Louisiana cur was roasting  and screaming in hell!" she is less Huck Finn's little sister than Captain Ahab's.

Anyone who is being pushed around, who needs to accomplish much at long odds, who has miles to travel before dark, would do well to look to Mattie Ross.

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