29 March 2014
Strength in Character Winter’s Bone, examines how the hardships in life are often important for character development. This story taking place in the Ozark’s, is filled with many characters who do drugs and commit crimes on a daily basis. Nonetheless, the main focus of this novel is Ree Dolly, a young girl who must take a dangerous stand for the survival of her family. She receives countless warnings and threats for her actions, and although it may lead to her death, she fearlessly continues her journey for the sake of her family. This selflessness and sense of responsibility is something that is not seen in the other characters of this novel and proves to be her greatest strength. Throughout the book, Ree finds the courage to confront the social norms of her community, and although she may not be able to change her surroundings, she finds the strength to prevent them from changing her.
The town that Ree lives in, in the Ozark’s, is very isolated and has been made up of the same families for generations. Some of these families were previously known for their production of moonshine during Prohibition and now most of them make their money by producing meth and other various drugs. Woodrell, the author, describes the setting as a neighborhood where the houses are surrounded by heaps of trash and rundown cars, but the children play happily in the yard. The children in this community grow up with low expectations and no real hopes of being able to leave the Ozarks. The boys are expected to continue the family business of producing meth. Enforcing this social code is a “council” of men that will not tolerate any challenge to their way of life.
After Ree’s father is arrested for producing meth, she is now responsible for caring for her two younger brothers and her mother, who has become mentally ill from abusing pills and Jessup’s, Ree’s father, constant absence and infidelity “Mom’s mind didn’t break loose and scatter…