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Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Revenge

Hamlet. Carrie. The Wrath of Khan. Mean Girls. The Avengers. Some of the greatest works of literature slash film are revenge narratives—just like True Grit. For Mattie Ross, revenge is a matter o...

Violence

Mattie Ross's arm, Rooster Cogburn's missing eye, Lucky Ned Pepper's lip (shot by Rooster), and LaBoeuf's busted skull—True Grit has more injuries than the trauma ward at your local hospital. Add...

Mortality

Murder sets True Grit in motion and murder closes it out. (Well, killing, at least—whether or not it's murder is up for debate.) Mattie Ross wants Tom Chaney dead, but the question is: will he di...

Visions of America

You can't get much more American than the Wild West. For generations of people, the west has symbolized America: the frontier, the wide open prairie, the lack of government oversight or rule of law...

Gender

True Grit may have a female narrator, but Mattie doesn't seem to find women very interesting, have any female role models, or be very interested in following a typical female path. (The novel gets...

Criminality

There is a fine line between cops and robbers in True Grit. U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn isn't all that different from the men he hunts down and often kills. Oh, sure, he's robbed a bank and some g...

Justice and Judgment

For Mattie, justice is simple: you do the crime, you do the time. (Or you hang.) She judges criminals harshly, and only looks past Rooster's criminal tendencies because he'll make sure her justice...

Drugs and Alcohol

True Grit takes place at a time when there weren't laws prohibiting the use of drugs or alcohol in the U.S. Not so in 1923 when Mattie is actually writing her story, and we bet she's all about Proh...

Religion

Okay, true. Nobody's exactly going to church in True Grit, and they're not exactly spending a lot of time debating the theological implications of their actions. But, religion is an essential eleme...
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