Winter’s Bone Chapters 16-18 Summary & Analysis

Daniel Woodrell

Winter’s Bone

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Winter’s Bone Chapters 16-18 Summary & Analysis

Chapter 16

As Ree prepares dinner, she listens to Gail’s account of Floyd’s ongoing affair with Heather. Ultimately, Gail finds herself insulted by the flimsy lies he tells to conceal the affair from her, and she complains that “It’s her who he wants. I’m just what he’s got” (82). Gail later asks about Ree’s troubles and offers her in-laws’ truck so they can go to Reid’s Gap; the two women leave Ree’s family behind watching a period drama on PBS Masterpiece.

On the drive, Ree explains that she has to resolve this situation herself as it was a similar incident that first caused her mother’s mental instability. Gail then admits she, too, has a bad feeling regarding Jessup, because her father told her to mind her son, rather than becoming involved. As the two women drive, Ree recalls how Gail was her first kiss. The two had practiced kissing and foreplay for three years, and Ree was eventually disappointed in her first kiss with a man.

Once the two women arrive in Reid’s Gap, they go to April’s house. April greets them pleasantly upon recognizing Ree and invites them into her home. While April admits that she and Jessup have not been in a real relationship for several years, she has information regarding his present situation. As they smoke marijuana, April confesses that she had a brief affair with Jessup before his last stint in prison. The affair ended amicably and she saw him again 3-4 weeks earlier at a tavern with three rough-looking men, but Jessup pointedly ignored her when she approached him. April tells Ree and Gail she believes Jessup was protecting her by pretending he did not know her in front of his companions.

Chapter 17

As Ree and Gail drive home, they get stuck in traffic because there are loose hogs on the road. As they wait in traffic, Ree watches Gail breastfeeding and “saw in them a living picture illustrating one kind of future. The looming expected kind of future and not one she wanted” (93). In response to her melancholic thoughts, Ree decides to leave the car and…

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