So I’m sad and lonely in not being able to join our Carl, our Ralph, and two semi-modern women in LA this week. So I thought I’d post the conclusion to my TRUE GRIT study as compensation:


We have to think hard about Mattie as a modern woman: She’s all about lawfulness, mathematical order/calculative reason, and “spirited” partisanship. We don’t usually connect math with anger, measure with indignation. Mattie has, to a remarkable extent, the “Platonic” control of her desires, but obviously in a mutilated form. She is unplayful, unerotic, unserene, unfriendly, unloving, anxious, and worried. Her interior life is too tough to bear with serenity or even acceptance. That’s why she doesn’t really have her anger under control. But there’s something wonderful in her living her meritocratic judgmentalism, in mostly not holding others to a higher standard than she holds herself. Mattie displays one version of what it means to live as a free person in a free country. But she knows well enough—and whines more than a little—that she was not given what she needs to have chosen the better part, the part displayed by her mother in being in love in the present and unobsessive about the future.

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