Study Guide

True Grit Narrator Point of View

By Charles Portis

Narrator Point of View

True Grit is Mattie Ross's first person, written account of the events which will change her life forever: joining up with US Marshal Rooster Cogburn, and Texas Ranger LaBoeuf to track her father's killer into Indian Territory and make him pay for his crimes with his life.

And all this before she even gets her driver's license.

In the final paragraph of the novel, we learn that Mattie is writing in about 1923 and looking back on 1875. Now, we don't know about you, but we have trouble even remembering what we ate for breakfast. So how does Mattie manage to tell us such a detailed, vivid story?

One narrative strategy she tries out is things like reproducing the transcript of Rooster testifying in court and the letter from Lawyer Daggett. These transcripts back up her story and give it credibility. She also gives us a ton of detail, like the "blazed face" of the chestnut mare that her father rides off to Fork Smith (1.10); these details dump us right into her world, or at least the world of 1875 as she remembers it.

See, we can't help wondering how she is able to remember word-for-word the speeches of the condemned men at the triple hanging. Maybe she kept detailed notes—or maybe accuracy isn't the point as much as the bragging, haggling, peace-making, bible quoting, bloody, rough and tumble ride. Is Mattie taking some artistic license and embellishing for entertainment purposes? Yeah, probably. Still, we're pretty sure that the feelings are real, even if the facts are slightly embellished.