Winter’s Bone

Crystal Meth / Crank Symbol Analysis

Crystal Meth / Crank Symbol Icon

Just as the Dolly clan’s ancestors worked as moonshine makers and runners, its current members are cooks and dealers of crystal meth, or crank, as it’s referred to throughout the novel. The street name, crank, represents the wired state of mind it induces in its users; every time a character in the novel uses crank, the tension and sense of imminent danger ramps up immediately. Ree is constantly surrounded not just by manufacturers of the drug but users of it, and her refusal to become a user differentiates her from the vast majority of her friends and relatives. Throughout the novel, crystal meth represents a few different things: a sign of both the physical and moral decay of the community Ree and her family are a part of, a narrative shorthand for or indicator of impending violence, and a symbol of the ways in which the heart of the trades and secrets of the Ozarks remain unchangeable.

Crystal Meth / Crank Quotes in Winter’s Bone

The Winter’s Bone quotes below all refer to the symbol of Crystal Meth / Crank. 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 10 Quotes

“He cooks crank.”
“Honey, They all do now. You don’t even need to say it out loud.”

Related Characters: Ree Dolly (speaker), Megan (speaker), Jessup Dolly, Little Arthur
Related Symbols: Crystal Meth / Crank
Page Number: 51
Explanation and Analysis:
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Crystal Meth / Crank Symbol Timeline in Winter’s Bone

The timeline below shows where the symbol Crystal Meth / Crank appears in Winter’s Bone. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Silence and Secrets Theme Icon
Family, Destiny, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Violence and Decay Theme Icon
Isolation and Independence Theme Icon
...tells Ree that her father is out of jail on bond. “You know he cooks crank, don’t you,” Baskin asks, and Ree responds by telling the officer that those are only... (full context)
Chapter 5
Family, Destiny, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Violence and Decay Theme Icon
Women and Matriarchy Theme Icon
...a “nightmare” to look at, according to Ree, and a frightening figure as well. A crank chef and the victim of a blown meth lab, Teardrop is intimidating and disfigured, with... (full context)
Silence and Secrets Theme Icon
Family, Destiny, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Violence and Decay Theme Icon
Isolation and Independence Theme Icon
...the kitchen table, there is a pistol, a bag of marijuana, and a bag of crank. Ree explains her dire situation to Victoria, and tells her that they need to “run... (full context)
Silence and Secrets Theme Icon
Family, Destiny, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Violence and Decay Theme Icon
Isolation and Independence Theme Icon
Women and Matriarchy Theme Icon
...grabs her by the hair and shakes her. He releases her, takes the bag of crank from the kitchen table, and retreats to his room. Victoria follows. After a few minutes,... (full context)
Chapter 6
Family, Destiny, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Violence and Decay Theme Icon
...and that in the past he often got himself into serious trouble. Once, high on crank, he’d gotten shot in the chest. Rather than driving to the hospital, he’d driven to... (full context)
Chapter 10
Silence and Secrets Theme Icon
Family, Destiny, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Isolation and Independence Theme Icon
Women and Matriarchy Theme Icon
...father is, but has never spoken with him. Ree tells Megan that Jessup is a crank chef; Megan replies that “they all [are] now.” (full context)
Silence and Secrets Theme Icon
Family, Destiny, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Violence and Decay Theme Icon
Women and Matriarchy Theme Icon
As they approach Little Arthur’s house, Megan warns Ree: “if he’s been runnin’ on crank for a day or two, you should just leave.” Little Arthur opens the door, and... (full context)
Chapter 14
Silence and Secrets Theme Icon
Family, Destiny, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Violence and Decay Theme Icon
...that her father was known for never blowing up labs or cooking bad batches of crank. Milton insists that accidents happen. (full context)
Silence and Secrets Theme Icon
Family, Destiny, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Isolation and Independence Theme Icon
Women and Matriarchy Theme Icon
...of them to live with Blond Milton. Ree tells him that she knows the blown meth lab was a distraction, meant to shut her up and throw her off the trail... (full context)
Chapter 20
Family, Destiny, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Isolation and Independence Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Chapter 26
Silence and Secrets Theme Icon
Family, Destiny, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Violence and Decay Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Chapter 32
Silence and Secrets Theme Icon
Family, Destiny, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Violence and Decay Theme Icon
Isolation and Independence Theme Icon
Women and Matriarchy Theme Icon
...Teardrop helps Ree into his truck and together they drive off. Teardrop is high on crank and agitated; he’s tired, he says, of waiting around for something to happen. Ree takes... (full context)
Chapter 35
Silence and Secrets Theme Icon
Family, Destiny, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Violence and Decay Theme Icon
Isolation and Independence Theme Icon
...money, he can help her earn some. Ree tells Teardrop that she will never touch crank. “There’s other stuff to do, too, if you’ll do it,” Teardrop says. (full context)