Winter’s Bone

Sonny Dolly Character Analysis

Ree’s younger brother, a tough and hostile boy. He is ten years old, but already has a sense of responsibility and initiative, and is often shown to be itching to prove his maturity. He offers to get into fights on Ree’s behalf, and is eager to learn how to shoot and scrap. His true father is Blond Milton, one of Ree’s cousins.

Sonny Dolly Quotes in Winter’s Bone

The Winter’s Bone quotes below are all either spoken by Sonny Dolly or refer to Sonny Dolly. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Silence and Secrets Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Back Bay Books edition of Winter’s Bone published in 2007.
Chapter 2 Quotes

Ree’s grand hope was that these boys would not be dead to wonder by age twelve, dulled to life, empty of kindness, boiling with mean. So many Dolly kids were that way, ruined before they had chin hair, groomed to live outside square law and abide by the remorseless blood-soaked commandments that governed lives outside square law…The rough Dollys were scornful of town law and town ways, clinging to their own.

Related Characters: Ree Dolly, Sonny Dolly, Harold Dolly
Page Number: 8
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 3 Quotes

Ree nearly fell but would not let it happen in front of the law. She heard thunder clapping between her ears and Beelzebub scratchin’ a fiddle. The boys and her and mom would be dogs in the field without this house. They would be dogs in the field with Beelzebub scratchin’ out tunes and the boys’d have a hard hard shove toward unrelenting meanness and the roasting shed and she’d be stuck along side them ‘til steel doors clanged shut and the flames rose. She’d never have her own concerns.

Related Characters: Ree Dolly, Sonny Dolly, Harold Dolly, Connie Dolly, Jessup Dolly, Deputy Baskin
Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 4 Quotes

“Didn’t want you-all to fear we’d forgot you for good.”

Related Characters: Sonya (speaker), Ree Dolly, Sonny Dolly, Harold Dolly, Connie Dolly
Page Number: 17
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 10 Quotes

“Settin’ out food’ll draw em close—that’s likely how they’ll come too close and get shot, Harold. Don’t set no goddam food out. It looks like you’re doin’ nice, but you don’t. You’re just bringin’ ‘em into range, is all.”

Related Characters: Ree Dolly (speaker), Sonny Dolly, Harold Dolly
Page Number: 46
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 11 Quotes

To have but a few male names in use was a tactic held over from the olden knacker ways…Let any sheriff or similar nabob try to keep official accounts on the Dolly men when so many were named Milton, Haslam, Arthur or Jessup… Jessups, Arthurs, Haslams and Miltons were born to walk only the beaten Dolly path, live and die in keeping with those bloodline customs fiercest held.

Related Characters: Ree Dolly, Sonny Dolly, Harold Dolly, Jessup Dolly, Uncle Teardrop, Thump Milton
Page Number: 62
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 14 Quotes

“You son of a bitch. You go straight to hell’n fry in your own lard. Sonny’n Harold’ll die livin’ in a fuckin’ cave with me’n Mom before they’ll ever spend a single fuckin’ night with you. Goddam you, Blond Milton, you must think I’m a stupid idiot or somethin’—there’s horseweed standin’ chin-high inside that place!”

Related Characters: Ree Dolly (speaker), Sonny Dolly, Harold Dolly, Connie Dolly, Blond Milton
Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 25 Quotes

“I got two little brothers who can’t feed theirselves…My mom is sick and she is always goin’ to be sick. Pretty soon the laws’re takin’ our house away n’throwin’ us out…to live in the fields…like fuckin’ dogs. The only hope I got to keep our house is I gotta prove Dad’s dead. Whoever killed him, I don’t need to know that. I don’t never need to know that. If Dad did wrong, Dad has paid. But I can’t forever carry…them boys’n Mom…not…without that house to help.”

Related Characters: Ree Dolly (speaker), Sonny Dolly, Harold Dolly, Connie Dolly, Thump Milton
Page Number: 134
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 35 Quotes

Sonny said,“What’ll we do with all that money? Huh? What’s the first thing we’ll get?”
…Ree stood and stretched. Twilight dimmed the snow, but icicles overhead held that gleam. “Wheels.”

Related Characters: Ree Dolly (speaker), Sonny Dolly (speaker), Harold Dolly, Connie Dolly
Page Number: 193
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Sonny Dolly Character Timeline in Winter’s Bone

The timeline below shows where the character Sonny Dolly appears in Winter’s Bone. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Silence and Secrets Theme Icon
Family, Destiny, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Violence and Decay Theme Icon
Women and Matriarchy Theme Icon
...school. The two boys are eighteen months apart, and have different fathers; the older boy, Sonny, is a “scrapper,” while Harold is gentle, vulnerable, and often “in need of fixing.” (full context)
Chapter 4
Family, Destiny, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Isolation and Independence Theme Icon
Women and Matriarchy Theme Icon
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... (full context)
Chapter 9
Family, Destiny, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Women and Matriarchy Theme Icon
Ree washes Connie’s hair in the sink, showing Sonny and Harold how to properly care for her. While combing her mother’s hair dry by... (full context)
Chapter 10
Family, Destiny, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Violence and Decay Theme Icon
Ree, Sonny, and Harold wait for the school bus while coyotes howl in the hills. Harold wonders... (full context)
Family, Destiny, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Violence and Decay Theme Icon
Once the bus pulls up to the boys’ school, Ree warns Sonny and Harold not to get into any fights unless they do so in order to... (full context)
Chapter 14
Family, Destiny, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Violence and Decay Theme Icon
Isolation and Independence Theme Icon
Women and Matriarchy Theme Icon
...brothers cooked when she didn’t return home the day before. Ree decides to teach her Sonny and Harold how to cook potatoes, but before she can get started, Blond Milton flies... (full context)
Silence and Secrets Theme Icon
Family, Destiny, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Isolation and Independence Theme Icon
Women and Matriarchy Theme Icon
When they arrive at the house, Blond Milton offers to take Sonny—his biological son—off of her hands, and raise him as his own. Ree refuses. She tells... (full context)
Chapter 15
Family, Destiny, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Violence and Decay Theme Icon
Isolation and Independence Theme Icon
Women and Matriarchy Theme Icon
...boxes of shells, dropping the boxes in the pocket of her coat. She calls for Sonny and Harold to follow her out to the front porch, where she begins to load... (full context)
Isolation and Independence Theme Icon
Women and Matriarchy Theme Icon
Sonny and Harold love learning how to shoot, and once Ree is satisfied with their progress,... (full context)
Chapter 19
Family, Destiny, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Isolation and Independence Theme Icon
Ree, Harold, and Sonny shoot at squirrels in the woods. After they’ve gotten three, Ree tells the boys to... (full context)
Family, Destiny, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Isolation and Independence Theme Icon
Women and Matriarchy Theme Icon
...house, a cup of coffee in her hands. She watches while Ree tries to teach Sonny and Harold to skin and clean the squirrels, but the boys are squeamish. Ree tells... (full context)
Chapter 29
Family, Destiny, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Violence and Decay Theme Icon
...make a new home—just as their ancestors once did. Victoria leaves, and then Harold and Sonny come to comfort Ree. They ask her questions about her assailants, but Ree tells them... (full context)
Chapter 30
Family, Destiny, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Isolation and Independence Theme Icon
Women and Matriarchy Theme Icon
...driving, Gail asks Ree what her plans are. Ree tells Gail that she will send Sonny to live with Sonya and Blond Milton, and that she “guesses” she’ll “carry Mom to... (full context)
Chapter 31
Family, Destiny, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Violence and Decay Theme Icon
Isolation and Independence Theme Icon
...home, Ree takes two kinds of pills and spends the day in bed. Harold and Sonny return home from school and announce that they have “more snow days.” Ree watches as... (full context)
Chapter 33
Family, Destiny, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Violence and Decay Theme Icon
Women and Matriarchy Theme Icon
...hungover and jittery, cleans out one of the hall closets. She shows her Harold and Sonny old photographs of their mother. Ree cleans out closets and crawl spaces, and instructs her... (full context)
Chapter 35
Family, Destiny, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Women and Matriarchy Theme Icon
...out her father’s shed. She finds a pair of his old boxing gloves, and, when Sonny and Harold come home from school, she gives them the gloves and teaches them how... (full context)
Silence and Secrets Theme Icon
Family, Destiny, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Isolation and Independence Theme Icon
Women and Matriarchy Theme Icon
...Teardrop, and then he leaves. Ree sits down on the top step of the porch. Sonny and Harold come to sit by her, and ask her if the money means she... (full context)