Winter’s Bone


Daniel Woodrell

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Ree’s Tapes Symbol Icon

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

The Winter’s Bone quotes below all refer to the symbol of Ree’s Tapes. 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
Chapter 3 Quotes

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.

Related Characters: Ree Dolly
Related Symbols: Ree’s Tapes
Page Number: 10
Explanation and Analysis:
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Ree’s Tapes Symbol Timeline in Winter’s Bone

The timeline below shows where the symbol Ree’s Tapes appears in Winter’s Bone. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Family, Destiny, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Isolation and Independence Theme Icon
Women and Matriarchy Theme Icon
...break and sits down. She pulls headphones out of her overcoat pocket and turns on a tape comprised of soothing ocean sounds that allow Ree to envision herself somewhere else; somewhere calm. (full context)
Chapter 8
Isolation and Independence Theme Icon
...down on a big rock and puts her headphones on. She plays one of her tapes—The Sounds of Tropical Dawn—and watches the snow fall. (full context)
Chapter 18
Family, Destiny, and Inheritance Theme Icon
Women and Matriarchy Theme Icon
Ree, back at home, falls asleep while listening to one of her nature tapes. She is awakened by the sound of the knock at the front door. Ree goes... (full context)