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“The journey of the hero is about the courage to seek the depths; the image of creative rebirth; the eternal cycle of change within us…The hero journey is a symbol that binds …. (Phil Cousineau).” Mattie Ross learns this in True Grit, by Charles Portis, when she experiences the death of her father. She says, ”…Tom Chaney shot my father down in Fort Smith, Arkansas and robbed him of his life and his horses and $150 in cash money plus two California gold pieces that he carried in his trouser band(11)”. Frank Ross, Matties’ father, who was shot to death, by a man named, Tom Chaney. Mattie Ross is just 14 years old in the 1870’s, she states, “Nothing is free in this world except the grace of god, you must pay for everything.(pg?)” Personal growth often comes at a great expense. She is in beginning of the separation stage in a hero’s journey, which consists of the call and threshold. Harris and Thompson define the call as, “…invites the initiate into the adventure, offers her the opportunity to face the unknown, an imbalance or injustice in her life”(50). Her father getting killed and Mattie getting vengeance, is her invite. This is followed by, the threshold, known as the jumping off point. She states, “We hit the river running…we came out some little ways down the river.”(107) She has now made it into the Choctaw Nation to assist in the pursuit, in the unknown world, “a different world full of dangers and challenges (Harris and Thompson 50)”. Next, is the initiation and transformation then, the return to the known world. You can see, Mattie encounters her call when her father was killed.

According to Thompson and Campbell, the call is, “…realization of an imbalance of or injustice in her life…the initiate has had something taken from…

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…he final stage of her journey: her return to everyday life…but find[s] that her message is rejected…(52 Harris and Thompson).” The people of Dardanelle have shown that they reject her when they talk about what she has done with Roosters body when he passed. In the end, Mattie truly experiences her statement, “You must pay for everything in this world, one way or another. There is nothing free except the grace of god(3) . “ Not only does Tom Chaney pay, but as you can see Mattie pays several times and also looses her arm. In the abyss, Harris and Thompson say, “There is always the possibility that the initiate is not ready or has a flaw in his character, and the challenge beats him…[she] will become dissatisfied and bitter( 51).” Her greatest challenge of her journey and failing to do it on her own, seems to be a result of her ending. Remember nothing is free.

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