Winter’s Bone


Daniel Woodrell

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Winter’s Bone: Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis

The snow finally lets up near dusk. Harold and Sonny cough and sniffle, sick with colds. Ree reprimands them for not wearing their hats out in the snow. Connie, in a brief moment of lucidity, tells Ree that there is some whiskey in her bedroom closet; she tells her to mix it with honey and feed it to the boys. There is then a knock at the door, and Ree greets her cousin, Sonya, who is carrying a large box filled with venison, cans of food, and sundry goods. Sonya is Blond Milton’s wife, and he once cheated on her with Connie—together, they had Sonny. Sonya tells Ree that she “hasn’t forgot” her, her mother, and her brothers. She gives Ree the food, and offers to bring over some additional split wood as well.
Though Ree was careful to tell Harold that he should “never ask for what ought to be offered,” she certainly will not refuse assistance from Sonya once it has indeed been offered. Ree’s relationship with Sonya is one of the book’s more tender ones, despite the tension between Sonya and Connie. The fact that Blond Milton and Connie are cousins further emphasizes and serves as an underscoring metaphor for the incestuous nature of this insular community.
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Sonya asks Ree what the deputy was doing up at the house earlier, and Ree tells her that he was hunting for Jessup. Sonya tells Ree that she doesn’t know of Jessup’s whereabouts. Sonya leaves, and Ree and her brothers sort through the box of goods, which is full of groceries. Ree tells her brothers that she’ll be cooking deer stew, and that they should stay in the kitchen with her and start to learn how to make it themselves.
Sonya is curious as to the secretive nature of Baskin’s visit, but Ree is quick to share information with her and prove that she’s not hiding anything. Ree continues, once Sonya departs, to instruct her brothers in basic life skills. She wants for them to be able to feed and sustain themselves, and realizes that it’s her role to ensure that that happens.
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