In the words of Thomas C. Foster, “The real reason for a quest is always self knowledge.” What is True Grit, if not such a quest? In it we have a girl, only fourteen years old, named Mattie Ross. Mattie tragically loses her father in a shootout. Her challenges and trials along the way include people’s constant underestimation of her capabilities, the journey ahead, the bloodiness of the wild west, her traveling companions, and the actual task of finding the murderer. At the conclusion of her journey, she has the murderers body, all is well, and the journey is finished. Foster would call this a quest.
Sit down, and disassemble True Grit like pieces of legos. Break them apart. Lay them out before you. Rearrange them, fit them together, and rearrange them again. Do you see the quest yet? Pick up the biggest piece. Yes, the one shaped like a headstrong and (seemingly) independent fourteen-year-old girl. Foster would call her our quester. Now choose a setting piece. Maybe the a plain green field, maybe a road, or maybe choose from the box of wild west themed legos, for those would be most fitting. Now you have a place for her to travel on her quest, the place she will find her father’s murderer. Foster might see her challenges and trials along the way as the odd shaped legos, the ones that never seem to fit, or maybe the ones that are absent from the pile. Finally, and most importantly, he would realize that all the building you have been doing has been secondary to a greater purpose. Our quester has done more than bring the murderer to justice, she has come out of the experience with a newfound sense of strength and self-actualization. Foster would recognize that even you have done more than build legos. You have undertaken a task, seen it to its conclusion, and found greater meaning in your actions as a result. Foster might say that you yourself have embarked on a quest.