truegrit.jpgAaron Maurer a.k.a. Coffeechug will type in the color blue
Tulletilsynet here. I reckon this is near enough the color of Dr Underwood's Bile Activator.
- Yes, I would agree that you are right on with the color for the Bile Activator. Good choice. I should have been more clever is my color scheme.
I will keep checking in. I think several readers are needed before substantive discussion of the book begins ... Meanwhile, autobiography. I read True Grit 21 years ago for the first time soon after reading Portis's Norwood, then a few years back I read True Grit aloud to my daughter as a just possibly not quite appropriate bedtime book for a nine-year-old girl (as I did not tell my wife), and my daughter was fixated; when the Coens let it be known they were filming the book and would be open-casting for Mattie on the internet, she sent in an audition tape (the passage requested was the great first meeting with Col. Stonehill). She was still a few years too young for the part but was pretty much convinced she would probably get it. Alas, she did not get it. -- Everybody in my family has now read the book at least once out of the same paperback I bought for 50 cents in 1990. My wife finally asked: Um, is this considered a children's book? A young adult book? -- Hope we can mostly discuss the book here rather than the movie ... But I have a thing or two to say about the movie versions if necessary ...

Thanks for sharing. The more I connect with people about this novel the more I realize that it has been a story shared throughout generations. I love your story. 50 cents for a novel seems crazy anymore. I agree that I think most of the discussion should be about the book and I think it will. However, the movie aspect is important because it has brought attention to the novel. Without the movie being released I would have never known this was even a book let alone that is was written by an author of some quality novels. I think you bring up a great question in terms of the audience for the novel. In 1968 there were not categories like today(I think the whole category issue is created to make money), but I think this novel could be read by both young adult and adults. I don't think I would have any problem reading this aloud to my kids when they get older.

Lastly, I think this site will really pick up once some of my colleagues start reading. I know there are quite a few who have the book on hold and/or are just starting to read. I am excited.
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Feel free to post parts of the story that you like, stood out to you, questions you have, etc. Choose a color and stick with that font color so we can separate the many voices.

Thes are page numbers based on the paperback edition. I am going to go back and re-read the novel again because I am realizing that I did not take proper notes while reading the first time.

p.62 "This tastes like blue john milk" which refers to milk without fat like skim milk. Apparently, it's because the lack of fat in the skim milk makes it so white that it looks almost blue.

p. 120 horsehair lariat to loop around bed to protect from snakes -- I chose to include this quote because I honestly have no idea what a horsehair lariat is and was rather intrigued when there was talk of protecting them from snakes.

p. 138 "Don't go to sleep and don't get the "jimjams".
I found out this means

P. 143 "I didn't know what I was doing. I was like a man fighting bees." -- I just love this quote for no other purpose than to see myself using this quote when coaching or teaching.

p. 144 "...I would give three dollars right now for a pickled buffalo tongue" -- This is just gross, but I know my grandparents ate cow tongue. I just cannot imagine eating tongue of any creature. I am off to the world of Google to find a picture of picked buffalo tongue.

Here is a list of Bible passages she references

Luke 8:26-33 when discussing the evils of cats and seeing Satan in their sly faces. page 32

Page 115 when discussing the differences in Cumberland Presbyterian and U.S./Souther Presbyterian(I don't know the difference myself)
I Corinthians 6:13
II Timothy 1:9,10
Peter 1: 2,19,20
Romans 11:7

People Referenced in the story

Judge Isaac Parker

Grover Cleveland - despite the Panic of 37 she admits that her family supported him.

Woodrow Wilson - page 70

President Hayes - page 84

Quantrill - page 92

Bloody Bill Anderson - page 92

Governor Al Smith

Joe Robinson

General Sterling Price (name of Rooster's cat)

John Wesley Hardin - page 118 when LaBoeuf was defending the Texas Rangers


Going Snake District(Cherokee Nation) - page 51

Going Snake Massacre

Fort Smith

Pfitzer Soap Works - page 82 - mentioned when Stonehill was going to sell the horses to be turned into soap.

San Bois Mountains - page 122

General Information Links for True Grit

Harrison Narcotic Law - page 69

Johnson County War - page 220 when describing the rumors of whatever happened to Rooster

TRUE GRIT General Talk

For general talk of the novel, I was thinking that we could break the book up in sections/chapters. This way we could have an active dialogue,but if you were not that far into the book you could just not read that portion of the novel until you were ready. What do you think?

The question would be how to divide up the novel? I currently don't have a copy of the book as I returned it to the library and the one I purchased has not arrived yet. If you have the book, then maybe break the book down here in this section and we can go from there.

I love when we first meet Rooster on the witness stand. My favorite line is when he is being questioned on having his gun loaded and cocked and he replies, "If it ain't loaded and cocked it will not shoot." and later on when he is asked by

Mr. Goudy: You were backing away?

and he replies, "Yes sir. He had that ax raised."

Mr. Goudy: Which direction were you going?

Rooster: I always go backwards when I am backing up.



I am trying to find out what dr. underwood's bile activator is?

Peruvian bark


Found these questions from the website

TRUE GRIT Discussion Questions

Here are some questions to guide us on our reading journey through this novel. Feel free to answer them all or just the ones you want. Also, feel free to post your own questions for the rest of us to answer as well.

1. TRUE GRIT is set only a few years after the end of the Civil War. How does TRUE GRIT depict the society
and morals of postbellum America? How did Portis' portrayal of the 1870s South meet or defy your
expectations for the period? Where do you see traces of the war in the characters' actions?

2. Many of the characters in TRUE GRIT share a love of action and a desire to be out on the unsettled plains,
away from the confines of polite society. How does this wanderlust manifest itself in each character? Is Mattie
more comfortable away from civilized society?

3. The role of women in society has changed considerably since the original publication of TRUE GRIT. To
what extent is this foreshadowed in the role of Mattie? Or is it irrelevant that Mattie is a girl? Would the novel
have been different if “Mattie” was a nickname for Matthew? If so, how?

I think this story is so great because she is a girl. For her to stand her ground not only to adults which could be challenging coming from a male or female character, but considering the time period and the way she just spoke her mind makes her very strong. I need to go back and study women in this time period, but the fact that she is educated, headstrong, and not afraid of men makes her a very strong character. On page 76 when she stands her ground to LaBoeuf when he threatens to give her some whacks with his belt proves how she is challenging the status quo.

4. Mattie has a direct and unflinching perspective, but her upbringing has also left her somewhat sheltered
and naïve. What kind of girl is Mattie? How does Mattie's worldview influence the unfolding of events? What
about her voice and actions convinces you that she is fourteen years old? Is this a coming-of-age novel?

Her quote on page 79 captures Mattie perfectly when she says, "If you want anything done right you will have to see to it yourself every time.

A great line appears no page 98 when LaBoeuf tells her, "You are young. It is time you learned that you cannot have your way in every little particular. Other people have got their interests too."

I think this is an important line because it highlights the mindset of a teenager when they think everything revolves around them. As much as I don't like LaBoeuf he is a central character to showcase this side of the storyline because it would never develop from Rooster because that is just not who he is. Mattie does need to realize that she cannot always get what she wants.

5. Mattie has an absolute sense of right and wrong that is deeply influenced by her religious upbringing. Is
Mattie's "eye for an eye" approach to her revenge on Chaney justified? Are her methods sound? Does TRUE
GRIT treat Chaney’s death as a victory?
I agree with her mindset of an "eye for an eye" because she is living in a time of transition where sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands in order for anything to happen. The country was not quite stabilized yet, land territories were still a bit of a mess for the government as noted in the book when Tom got away. I think her methods reflect who she is as a person. She has the relentless stubborness where she will not stop until her goal is achieved and in that sense her methods are sound.

Her religious upbringing is quite strong as she cites several Bible passages. On page 40 of the paperback when she watches the prison wagon unload the convicts she makes the statement, "They had ridden teh "hoot-owl trail" and tasted the fruits of eveil and now justice had caught up with them to demand payments. You must pay for everything in this world one way or another. There is nothing free except the Grace of Gad. You cannot earn that or deserve it." This statement I believe is the essence of Mattie and her view of the world. It is why she is determined to bring down Tom.

I have to reread the book again to determine if the death was viewed as victorious because I don't remember.

6. Rooster first appears in the novel in the transcript of his witness testimony in the trial against Odus
Wharton. Did this form of introduction influence your perceptions of him? How so? What are the benefits and
drawbacks of presenting a character this way?

I rather enjoyed this approach to introducing Rooster. It helps to solidify his stereotype character from the way he was described previously in the book when Mattie was looking for some help to track down Tom. The transcript provides his dry wit and no nonsense approach to life and law that he upholds. You get the sense that he does things his way and nothing is going to change that until he dies and that he does not have much respect for the people in charge who don't venture out into the vast lands.

I was trying to think of drawbacks, but not sure there are any. It gives sense and purpose to who he is as a person and helps the reader to understand why Mattie takes heed to him. He is the perfect candidate in her eyes to accomplish her goal.

7. Rooster, Mattie, and Chaney are quite the unlikely team. Why does Mattie choose to trust Rooster, and vice
versa? How does their dynamic help and/or hurt her quest to avenge her father’s death?
Rooster and Mattie both have that no nonsense attitude. They just want to get the job done and move on with life. She understands that he wants to be paid and also that he has no problem in killing Tom. She doesn't want to deal with someone who is unsure about killing Tom. Her mind is made up. They have that bond. I think there is also the father figure type as he is different from her father. I think there are hints in the story that even though she respected and loved her father, part of her wished he were more straight forward and did not put up with everyone. Part of this is a result from her losing her father based on his good faith and spirit.

8. In Mattie's world, what is the meaning of "true grit?" Does "grit" refer to courage, to dirt, to having a
slightly rougher side? Who in the novel has this trait? Who lacks it? Is having "true grit" necessarily positive?
I found this blog post on what it means and found it interesting.

9. Money is a recurring element throughout TRUE GRIT and a motivating factor for almost all the characters.
Mattie in particular has a fixation on money; she takes note of all her expenditures, even shipping costs. What
role does money play in the novel? How do Mattie's allies and enemies agree and differ in their attitudes
about money?

10. TRUE GRIT is, in many ways, a classic adventure story of outlaws, justice, and a quest for revenge. How
does Portis portray the journey? Is it a romantic vision of a girl out for justice? How does Mattie resemble an
archetypal adventure heroine? How does she differ? How do Rooster and LaBoeuf resemble adventure
heroes, and how do they differ?

11. There is a great deal of fighting and bloodshed in TRUE GRIT. Did Mattie's reaction to the violence
surprise you? How does the prevalence of violence in the book reflect the time period and attitudes of the

12. Mattie is telling her story from a much older perspective. How does she feel about her younger self? Did
Mattie's future turn out as you expected it would? How is she changed from her fourteen-year-old self? How
is she the same?
Mattie achieves her goal. The story is a monologue and told from Mattie when she is much older. She is single, missing an arm, taking care of her sick mother, and loves her money and church. She is such a stone faced type character that you don't get much emotion from her on any level. It is hard to determine if this is the life she wants. She mentions she could marry, but why do it when they only want her money? The positive to her demeanor is that she has no self pity for her circumstances so I don't really think she views her life in terms of where she wants to be or not, but rather it is what it is.

I don't think she has changed much. She is still her same old self in terms of her outlook and behavior. She has settled into one location. Probably like most people she takes things one day at a time. She knows people talk, but it does not bother her.

13. TRUE GRIT has often been compared to Huckleberry Finn. Both books are set in a westward expanding
America, and the protagonists of both represent the opposite of established and establishment thinking. Does
this raise issues or provide a jumping-off point to discuss adolescents and a coming of age in America? How
This question has forced me to dig deep into my brain to remember the story of Huckleberry Finn. I do not remember much so I must go add it to my TBR list so I can answer this question because it intrigues me. Without reading Huck in a loooonnng time, I have to go with Mattie as being my favorite because I really liked her as the protagonists. She quickly became one of my more memorable main characters in the hundreds of books I have read lately. I think it does provide a and coming of age jumping off point because I think today more than ever females have a strong voice and are being heard. Mattie had such a strong personality in the novel and just did not take no for an answer to where she almost intimidated one of the most ruthless characters in that time period. It goes again mainstream of the time as women were not usually given the right to be outspoken and defiant like she was at the turn of the century. I will have to go back to a book I read in college about women's rights and find out more about this time period. Man, I have just added a massive To Do List to get done this weekend, but I love it.

TRUE GRIT Movie Talk

Down here is where you can discuss the movie. Compare it to the book, what you liked, did not like, etc.

I have not had a chance to watch this movie yet, but hopefully will get a chance soon to view it.