As she chops wood for her family’s hearth and takes long walks through the Ozark mountains, Ree Dolly listens to white noise tapes with titles like Alpine Dusk and The Sounds of Tropical Dawn. The tapes allow her to transport herself elsewhere and picture herself near a beach or a stream; while she’s listening to her tapes, her restless mind is somewhat quieted to the constant onslaught of worry as to how she’ll provide for her family and keep them safe. The tapes are symbolic both of Ree’s desire for escape and her inability to do just that. Throughout the course of the novel, Ree harbors hopes of joining the army and leaving Rathlin Valley behind, and flirts with the idea of allowing her younger brothers to be taken in and raised up by nearby relatives. She also eventually uses painkillers given to her by her aunt Sonya to dull the extreme pain she faces after a merciless assault by the Thump clan. Despite all of these little “escapes,” Ree eventually finds herself bound to her family, her home, and her land—though she dreams still, in the novel’s final lines, of procuring a set of wheels.
Ree’s Tapes Quotes in Winter’s Bone
Ree needed often to inject herself with pleasant sounds, stab those sounds past the constant screeching, squalling hubbub regular life raised inside her spirit, poke the soothing sounds past that racket and down deep where her jittering soul paced on a stone slab in a gray room, agitated and endlessly provoked but yearning to hear something that might bring a moment’s rest.