Winter’s Bone


Daniel Woodrell

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Winter’s Bone: Chapter 20 Summary & Analysis

After dinner, full and happy, Ree relaxes on the couch. She falls asleep and has strange, unsettling dreams, though, and when she awakens, Uncle Teardrop is standing over her. He tells her that the authorities found Jessup’s car; it was set on fire and “burnt down to nothin’,” though Jessup was not in the car at the time of its destruction.
Teardrop’s arrival with another piece of information is both welcome and foreboding. The violent destruction of Jessup’s car signals that whoever was driving it by Reid’s Gap is aware that Ree is onto them and is willing to do anything to avoid being discovered.
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Teardrop gives Ree money, and advises her to sell off the timber acres “while [she] can.” he tells her that as soon as the land is repossessed, the trees will be the first thing to go, and that Ree might as well have the money from the sale of the land to herself. Teardrop offers Ree crank, asking if she has “the taste” for it yet. Ree refuses, and Teardrop leaves, remembering aloud how “the floor [of Ree’s house] used to get to jumpin’ from all the dancing. Everybody dancin’ around, stoned out of their minds—and it always was the happy kind of stoned back then.”
Teardrop tells Ree to betray the inheritance of the timberwoods for the sake of being able to live and provide. Teardrop’s offering of practical wisdom, though, is mitigated by the reminder of his nonstop drug use. His longing for a time that is not only gone by, but impossible to return to, illustrates that he does care for Ree and her family, though, and that he’s spurred by hope for happiness.
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