Winter’s Bone


Daniel Woodrell

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Winter’s Bone: Chapter 26 Summary & Analysis

On the drive home, Teardrop gives Ree a shotgun to hold “for if they come.” He pulls a baby-bottle of crank from the glove box and snorts from it. He tells Ree that she “owns” him now—if she does anything wrong, Teardrop will have to answer for her. He explains that her father is dead because he “turned snitch.” Jessup couldn’t handle the blow of another busted lab, and so began talking to Sheriff Baskin, but refused to give up any Dollys, or anybody from Rathlin Valley. Teardrop tells Ree that even if she finds out, she should never tell Teardrop who killed Jessup—“knowin’ that,” he says, “[would] just mean [I’d] be toes-up myself purty soon.”
Ree is Teardrop’s responsibility now. He is sure to remind her of the gravity of the situation, and, as he doesn’t want her getting in any more trouble now that he must “answer” for her, he reveals to her the fact that Jessup snitched and gave up several people to the sheriff’s department. Teardrop knows that his rationality can only carry him so far, and warns Ree to never reveal to him who killed Jessup, lest his anger (and perhaps a sense of familial duty for revenge) force him to hunt that person down and wind up in trouble himself.
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