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Quest Novel Heros Essay

1184 words - 5 pages

What is a quest? A trip to a mystical land to kill some large beast or find a magical sword? An odyssey to a remote island in search of buried gold? Or maybe a manhunt; stalking a target around the world in constant pursuit of revenge. Any of these things could be considered a quest and usually, these things aren’t accomplished by one individual. A prime example of this consistency can be found in the novel True Grit by Charles Portis. In the novel, there are three prime instances of the three protagonists usually found in quest stories. Mattie Ross is the novel’s heroine, Rooster Cogburn is the novel’s Wise Old Man and Laboeuf is the Helper or Guide. When these three unite, there is nothing ...view middle of the document...

She must bear the loss of the dugout shootout, survive her capturing and survive her trip to hell. During the dugout shootout, she is convinced that Rooster, Laboeuf and her had killed Tom Chaney. When the trio finds out that Tom Chaney had not even been going to the dugout in the first place, they find themselves in despair. Also, Mattie then faces being captured by Lucky Ned Pepper and company and on top of it all, a trip underground where she nearly faces death herself. She proves her disappointment on all three occasions but most notably when stuck in the hole in which she sums up her situation perfectly by saying “‘This, thought I is a pretty fix’’ (238). This proves that Mattie is in acceptance of the trial, proving that she is the heroine. In conclusion, Mattie Ross is the heroine of the story.
The next character that fits a quest story is the Wise Old Man. In this case, that man is none other than Reuben “Rooster” Cogburn; Deputy U.S Marshal. For instance, Rooster Cogburn fits the Wise Old Man characteristic of being useful. In the novel, Rooster is a man with a dark past who is always willing to go out and shoot someone for money. So, when Mattie approaches Rooster with an offer of fifty dollars to go and apprehend Tom Chaney, it is an offer he simply can not refuse. Throughout their chase, he proves very useful to Mattie and Laboeuf due to his true grit. Rooster is a man that “shoots first, asks questions later” and this proves extremely useful whilst in the dugout with Garrett Moon and Emmet Quincey immediately following a shootout between them when Moon and Quincy deny Rooster and friends shelter . In the dugout, Rooster uses his grit to interrogate the duo by denying Moon medical supplies for his wounded leg. He shows his grit when not giving in to Moon, saying in response to Moon’s pleas for medical attention”’ I bet it [Moon’s leg] does [hurt]. Set right still and it won’t bleed so bad’” (144). This proves that Rooster has grit and is willing to give in to no man. Another example of how Rooster fits the description is he is useful. Rooster, along with being a man with grit, is also a man who knows how to get around. He knows the territory that Mattie, Laboeuf and he will be pursuing the bandits across and...

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