Winter’s Bone Chapter 16 Summary & Analysis from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes

Winter’s Bone

Winter’s Bone Chapter 16 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Gail tells Ree that her husband has been cheating on her; he has been visiting his high school sweetheart, she says, at least twice a week. “It’s her he wants. I’m just what he’s got,” Gail says. She then asks Ree if she still needs to get down to Reid’s Gap; Ree says that she does. Gail pulls a key ring out of her pocket, and tells Ree that she’s taken her in-laws’ truck.
Gail and Floyd’s marriage perpetuates a cycle of deception and disloyalty; if unrepaired, it will lead to bad blood and potential violence between their families. Gail’s turn toward independence excites Ree, though, and gives her hope that Gail’s fate is not set in stone.
Themes
Silence and Secrets Theme Icon
Family, Destiny, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Isolation and Independence Theme Icon
Women and Matriarchy Theme Icon
Gail and Ree, with baby Ned in tow, begin their drive to Reid’s Gap. Gail tells Ree that she asked her father if he knew where Ree’s father was, and that he wouldn’t answer her.
Though not a part of the Dolly clan proper, it’s clear that Gail’s family has some sort of knowledge as to Jessup’s disappearance.
Themes
Silence and Secrets Theme Icon
Family, Destiny, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Women and Matriarchy Theme Icon
As Gail drives, Ree reminisces about how she and Gail used to practice kissing with each other when they were younger, and how the first time Ree kissed a boy, he paled in comparison to Gail. The girls approach Reid’s Gap, and Ree directs Gail to April’s house.
In the face of male incompetence at each and every turn, Gail and Ree have had to depend on each other all their lives for strength, companionship, and education.
Themes
Isolation and Independence Theme Icon
Women and Matriarchy Theme Icon
April is glad to see Ree. Ree tells April that she is looking for her father, and April tells Ree that though she “quit keepin’ company” with Jessup “a good while ago,” she “might know a thing or two” as to his whereabouts. She reveals to Ree that a few weeks back, she ran into Jessup at a bar—“he was with three fellas who looked a little rough,” she says, and notes that “they didn’t look to be havin’ no fun, nor wantin’ to.” April got a bad feeling, she says, when Jessup looked right at her but pretended not to recognize her—she thinks that Jessup was protecting her by acting as if he didn’t know her, and April has not been able to stop wondering what exactly he was trying to protect her from.
Though April contributed to the destruction of Ree’s parents’ marriage—and her mother’s sanity—Ree still feels a tenderness toward her, and April’s ability to give Ree information about her father’s whereabouts is a saving grace after so many dead ends. Ree, Gail, and April share the bond of womanhood in a male-dominated society, and April’s intuition as to Jessup’s endangerment shows that she cares for him still. The ominous nature of her observations, though, is worrisome, and spurs Ree on.
Themes
Silence and Secrets Theme Icon
Isolation and Independence Theme Icon
Women and Matriarchy Theme Icon
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