Winter's Bone

To Hear that Mournful Melody 11th Grade

In his book Winter’s Bone, Daniel Woodrell follows sixteen-year-old Ree Dolly in her struggle to help her family survive in the bleak Ozarks. The protagonist must constantly maintain a crucial balance between caring for her mentally incapacitated mother and younger siblings while hunting the hardscrabble hills surrounding her dilapidated home for her jailbird father who used their house to guarantee his bail bond. Since the idea of the strength of family bonds is central to the text, the passage in which Ree prepares her brothers for school is key to the novel assince it establishes her as the mother figure to the boys. In this passage, Woodrell uses indirect characterization, shown through the lens of Ree’s thoughts and actions, to both magnify the predominant idea of the duties of the archetypal mother and underscore that those who choose to take on the role of mother are responsible not only for providing the basics of survival for their children, but also for their mental and emotional well-being. Director Debra Granik carefully selects a poignant song to accompany Ree’s interactions with her siblings in the movie’s opening scene, a device that effectively translates Woodrell’s idea of maternal love and responsibility from...

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