Tuesday, August 27, 2013

True Grit

The past few days I've been reading True Grit to my sons before bed.  Not a single time have I been able to get through it without bursting into loud laughter at least once.

Just last month, The Big Read released an audio episode devoted to this great American novel and it is well worth a listen, here.

I was surprised and tickled last night to read this paragraph:

The Indian woman spoke good English and I learned to my surprise that she too was a Presbyterian.  She had been schooled by a missionary.  What preachers we had in those days!  Truly they took the word into “the highways and hedges.”  Mrs. Bagby was not a Cumberland Presbyterian but a member of the U. S. or Southern Presbyterian Church.  I too am now a member of the Southern Church.  I say nothing against the Cumberlands.  They broke with the Presbyterian Church because they did not believe a preacher needed a lot of formal education.  That is all right but they are not sound on Election.  They do not fully accept it.  I confess it is a hard doctrine, running contrary to our earthly ideas of fair play, but I can see no way around it.  Read I Corinthians 6:13 and II Timothy 1:9, 10. Also I Peter 1:2, 19, 20 and Romans 11:7.  There you have it.  It was good for Paul and Silas and it is good enough for me.  It is good enough for you too.

Somehow that part didn't make it into the film.
There is a tremendous amount of Biblical imagery present in the book.  The theme teeters back and forth on the line between vengeance and justice.  I don't think it is an accident that with the Lex Talionis at its core, the Marshal is a one-eyed man.
The book is emphatic that these events took place in winter.  Arkansas becomes Narnia.  Additionally, the woman falls into a pit with serpents, but her deliverer descends into the earth to bring her up out of captivity, shooting the serpents [at least several of them] and then using her humble pony "little Blackie" to pull their rope and lift them up to salvation.
Upon seeing that it was "Little Blackie", Maddie references the Messianic Psalm lyric - "the stone which the builders rejected has become the chief Cornerstone."
Finally, the wicked Tom Chaney ends up being cast down into that serpent's pit and destroyed [different than the Coen brothers movie ending].
Don't ask me where LaBeouf figures into things.  I have no clue on that one.
Have you noticed any of these themes from the book or films?  I talked further about some of them a while ago in my review of the film here. I'd love to hear your thoughts and invite your comments below.

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