One more July Wicked Wednesday on grit. Today let’s discuss the novel and the movie (both versions), True Grit. The story is about loyalty, even if reluctant.
The novel, by Charles Portis (1968), portrays fourteen year-old Mattie Ross (no relation to Barb, that we know of), whose father was murdered, and bounty hunter Rooster Cogburn. The 1969 movie featured Kim Darby as Mattie and John Wayne as Cogburn. The Coen brothers’ 2010 remake gave us Hailee Steinfeld and Jeff Bridges, with Josh Brolin as the father’s killer. Talk about some star power.
From the New York Review of Books, I gleaned this: “So what do we learn about loyalty in True Grit? That it doesn’t prevent disagreement, or out-and-out fights, but it is often the coat love wears—a tattered and ragged coat, as in this fine movie—but maybe, just maybe, the best thing we have.”
Wickeds, let’s dish on the grit involved in loyalty. How do your characters show it, and what kind of grit does it take? When are they reluctantly loyal? Do your protagonists’ supporters consider them loyal? Have you watched either True Grit movie, and what did you think? Go!
Sherry: I haven’t ever read the novel or seen the movie. Loyalty drives Chloe Jackson to go to Florida to help her friend Boone’s grandmother, Vivi, run her bar. Even when Chloe realizes Vivi doesn’t want her there, Chloe stays because of a promise she made.
Liz: Sherry, I’m glad I’m not the only one because I haven’t either! Violet Mooney is extremely loyal to her family – some say too loyal. It’s this loyalty that drives her to give her long-lost mother a chance when she shows up out of the blue and drops a giant bombshell on her.
Jessie: I don’t think I’ve seen either movie either and I know I haven’t read the novel. I have read the non-fiction book Grit by Angela Duckworthy and found it a fascinating read! My characters tend to be loyal in the ways that make sense to them. In my Beryl and Edwina mysteries, Edwina displays a strong sense of loyalty to her community and also to the traditions she holds dear. Beryl is loyal to the true north that is her authentic self; she never betrays herself by contorting into a people pleaser to fit in or to win approval. Both of them are fiercely loyal to each other.
Barb: I saw the John Wayne movie but decades ago. I haven’t seen the remake, but I should. I like the Coen Brothers, the cast and westerns. I think of loyalty as being a defining trait of both of my sleuths. Julia Snowden in the Maine Clambake Mysteries is loyal to her family, the family business, the town of Busman’s Harbor and the island where they hold their clambakes. Jane Darrowfield is loyal to her great and good friends who have seen her through the ups and downs of thirty years.
Edith/Maddie: Like my blog sisters, loyalty also defines my protagonists (and I will watch anything the Coen Brothers make!). It takes grit to stay loyal when your aunt, brother, or fellow-churchgoer is suspected of murder – but the loyalty is well worth the price.
Readers: Any “True Grit” fans? Who is your exemplar of loyalty in books or films? Or who has negated the idea?