True Grit in the Character of Mattie in True Grit by Charles Portis

Categories: FictionGritLiterature

What is true grit? Is it the stuff a dog tracks in after a playing outside all day? Or is it the sand brought into a car after a long day at the beach? Well, yes, grit can be those things, but for the purpose of this essay, grit is what a person has then they are determined and refuse to take ‘no’ for an answer. Charles Portis, author of True Grit, has attributed grit to most of his characters, but it becomes most apparent in his protagonist and narrator, fourteen-year-olcl Mattie Ross.

Mattie is a character that has true grit making her determined unafraid and unwilling to back down and this is apparent through her words and actions, True grit is what a person has when they are determined to reach their goals remain unafraid in the face of danger and refuse to back down in anv situation.

Being determined to reach ones goals is what gives a person a sense of purpose and lights a fire under their feet to achieve that goal in the quickest, most effective way possible The ability to remain unafraid in the face of danger is what really pushes the idea of grit.

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A plain and normal individual would shy away when in danger, and generally for good reason, but individuals with grit will seek danger out, stare it in the face and take action to defend themselves. The last telling sign of grit is the inability to back down in any situation. This makes it so the person who has grit is able to talk their way into or out of anything they put their mind to and in the end usually get what they want.

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Mattie Ross is a character in true grit that follows each of these characteristics very closely. Mattie disolavs her grit through her actions and speech throughout Portis‘s novel.

The first insight to Mattie‘s grit is her inability to back down or take no for an answer as she tries, and succeeds, to sell her fathers horses back to Stonehill towards the beginning of this novel. Stonehill and Mattie barter back and forth for a while about the worth of the ponies, but in the end her persistence and determination get her exactly what she wants. Throughout the novel the audience is shown just how determined Mattie is to avenge her fathers death and punish the man who killed him. Mattie repeatedly says things such as, “I aim to see him shot and hanged.” Those violent, passionate words coming out of the mouth of a founeen-year—old are strong proof of her determination and overall grit.However, the prime example in Portis‘s novel to prove Mattie’s grit is how calm and collected she stayed when she got trapped in a pit towards the end of the novel.

She, for the most part, was thinking logically and kept trying to figure out a way to better her ever-worsening situationt Any other fourteen-year—old girl would very likely have begun crying and screaming hysterically waiting for someone to come save them, but not Mattie, she did what she could with what she had and it very telling of her grit. Grit is what a person has when they are determined, unafraid, and unwilling to back down or take no for an answer. Mattie embodies each of those characteristics telling to grit and it is made obvious to the audience through her actions and her words. True Grit should be read by those with a strong sense ofjusLice or by anyone interested in reading about an adventure from an unlikely perspective. Regardless of who you are or what made you want to read Portis’s novel, True Grit is bound to give the reader a good shock at some point in the story.

Works Cited

  1. Millard, Kenneth. “History, fiction, and ethics: the Search for the True West in True Grit” Philologieal Quarterly 90.4 (2011): 463+.
  2. Literature Resource Center, Web 19 Sept. 2013 Portis, Charlest True Grit. New York: Overlook, 2012. Print,

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True Grit in the Character of Mattie in True Grit by Charles Portis. (2022, Jul 19). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/true-grit-in-the-character-of-mattie-in-true-grit-by-charles-portis-essay

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