What kind of term is "true grit"? Is it morally positive? Why is True Grit the title of the novel?

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The word "grit" is defined as strength of character and can be applied to an individual who possesses determination and courage. The title True Grit thus refers to someone who possesses real courage and resolve.

Mattie Ross demonstrates grit as a 14-year-old seeking retribution for her father's murder by Tom Chaney. At Fort Smith, the toughest deputy that she can find is Reuben J. Cogburn. She is convinced that he has grit because he has a reputation for violence. Mattie insists on accompanying Cogburn on the search, despite the dangers. Before they set out on their journey, they meet LaBoeuf, a Texas Ranger who is also looking for Tom Chaney. Cogburn and LaBoeuf repeatedly try to leave Mattie behind, but she is determined to seek justice carried out. Mattie joins their posse, and ends up killing Chaney herself. After Chaney's death, she is bitten on the hand by a rattlesnake, describing it in a matter-of-fact way and without complaints of pain:

My hand was swelled and turned black, and then my wrist. On the third day Dr. Medill gave me a sizeable dose of morphine and amputated my arm just above the elbow with a little surgical saw.

In regards to the morality of the title, I would say no. Mattie seeks retribution and kills Chaney out of revenge. Although he would have received a death sentence for his crimes anyway, she is not actually a person of the law and takes justice into her own hands.

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