Free Study Guide for Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry|
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LONESOME DOVE FREE BOOKNOTES
Lorena convinced Xavier Wanz, who owned the Dry Bean Saloon, to allow her to cook for him while she also continued making money in the sporting life. It was Augustus who helped her make a living by becoming a regular. She no longer trusted any man, but she realized that Gus was in a class by himself. He was never mean to her and didn’t treat her like a whore. She knew he would help her if she ever needed him, and he became a man she could talk to a little. Nonetheless, she still was a mystery to most of the men who sought her charms, because she never spoke to them, and she bore a small scar above her lip where Tinkersley had bit her in their last fight.
Gus was even different when it came to her silence. He found it amusing. One
day he gave her a $10 gold piece instead of his usual $5 just so she would
carry on a conversation with him. When she asked him why, he told her
that a bit of talk with a female was worth any price to him, and he figured
she had a story to tell and that he was available to listen. Lorena responded
by returning the money, because she wasn’t interested in being someone’s
temporary wife. Some of the other girls in the business would play this
role for the cowboys who were heading up the trail soon and wanted a “little
marriage.” But it wasn’t the life Lorena envisioned nor was she ready
to tell Gus her life story. Gus just grinned and observed that he ought
to have known better than to try to buy conversation.
Yet another interesting character is introduced in this chapter: Lorena Wood, the town prostitute. She is presented by the author as a very young girl who has been supremely abused by men since she was seventeen. Her experiences have caused her to shut down to the point that she barely speaks. She trusts no man, not even Gus, whom she realizes is the nicest man she’s ever known. Her experiences are a reflection of the little respect any woman can obtain in this ultimate macho world. For example, Call doesn’t want a woman in his house, Newt dreams of her as a fantasy, and Mosby and Tinkersley wanted her for their own needs, including money. No one ever thought of what was good for Lorena except Augustus, and she doesn’t trust even him. For this reason, her character seems to be one that will have a great impact on the men in this story. It’s also ironic that she won’t play the game of “little marriage” with Gus as later she will seek that exact promise from him.
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on Lonesome Dove".
. 09 May 2017