True Grit: Quotes That Didn’t Make the Movie

June 16, 2011

I loved the movie True Grit.  However, one thing about the movie made me curious: Was Mattie Ross motivated by revenge or justice? Or was her motive in seeking Tom Chaney’s death a conflicted mingling of both?  I read the book to see if I could get an answer.  Along the way, I came across some quotes that touched on matters of faith, especially Mattie’s faith.  I thought the quotes were too good not to pass along.

During the opening hanging scene in the movie, the Indian was not allowed to speak.  Here’s what the Indian said in the book:

I am ready.  I have repented my sins and soon I will be in heaven with Christ my savior.  Now I must die like a man.

Mattie was upset when she learned who had preached her father’s funeral:

I do not know to this day why they let a wool-hatted crank like Owen Hardy preach the service.  Knowing the Gospel and preaching it are two different things.  A Baptist or even a Campbellite would have been better than him.  If I had been home I would never have permitted it but I could not be in two places at once.

Mattie’s theology touched even on horses and pigs . . . and cats:

I have known some horses and a good many more pigs who I believe harbored evil intent in their hearts.  I will go further and say all cats are wicked, though often useful.  Who has not seen Satan in their sly faces?  Some preachers will say, well, that is superstitious “claptrap.”  My answer is this: Preacher, go to your Bible and read Luke 8:26-33.

While at Bagby’s store, Mattie conversed with Bagby’s wife, who was an Indian and a Presbyterian:

The Indian woman spoke good English and I learned to my surprise that she too was a Presbyterian.  She had been schooled by a missionary.  What preachers we had in those days!  Truly they took the word into “the highways and hedges.”  Mrs. Bagby was not a Cumberland Presbyterian but a member of the U. S. or Southern Presbyterian Church.  I too am now a member of the Southern Church.  I say nothing against the Cumberlands.  They broke with the Presbyterian Church because they did not believe a preacher needed a lot of formal education.  That is all right but they are not sound on Election.  They do not fully accept it.  I confess it is a hard doctrine, running contrary to our earthly ideas of fair play, but I can see no way around it.  Read I Corinthians 6:13 and II Timothy 1:9, 10. Also I Peter 1:2, 19, 20 and Romans 11:7.  There you have it.  It was good for Paul and Silas and it is good enough for me.  It is good enough for you too.

After Mattie had been pulled out of the pit by a rope tied to her scrub horse:

Then I saw the horse.  It was Little Blackie!  The scrub pony had saved us!  My thought was: The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner.

It was clear in the movie that Mattie possessed some type of faith.  It turns out that hers was a Christian faith of the Presbyterian variety, though I doubt all Southern Presbyterians were as unconsciously funny in their matter-of-factness as Mattie Ross.

So, all that being said, does the book clarify Mattie’s motive in seeking the death of Tom Chaney?  Yes, I believe it does.  And unless you’re a wool-hatted crank like Owen Hardy, you can read the book and see for yourself.

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