Free Study Guide for Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry|
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This chapter presents the thoughts of several of the characters as they prepare for this great undertaking. Lorenaís decision to wears pants is actually quite logical, but it isnít something with which the men are comfortable. Boliverís decision to go with them shows a side of the man that is not apparent through most of the book so far. He seems in the beginning an uneducated, ignorant Mexican peasant who accepts few obligations and is often surly and difficult to like. But here we see a man who feels badly that he has disappointed his wife and obviously loves his daughters very much. However, he decides to go with the other men, because he canít bear to see the wifeís disappointment every day. As for the Captain Call, Gus is right when he tells this man, who is always determined to tie up every loose end in his life, that he canít always have it his own way. It is also significant that when he makes his decision to leave the next day, he tells Newt first. Perhaps there is a great deal of love and respect for the boy that Captain Call never shows. This foreshadows his inability to tell Newt later that he is his son.
The next morning as Call and Gus are eating their breakfast in the faint morning light, it becomes apparent that Gus is feeling some regret and nostalgia for those things he hadnít particularly cared about, but which he hated to lose. While they are sitting there together, they see a man they both know well ride up: Soupy Jones. He had ridden with them when they were Rangers, and he is a fine horseman who seldom wants to even dismount. He asks to be hired on, because his wife has died. He is also curious about Jake who had been one of his good friends in times past. They tell Soupy that Jake is there, but he isnít camping with them, because he has a ďvaletĒ with him. Soupy remarks that if he knows Jake, the valet wears skirts. Of course, given that Lorena has taken to wearing pants, the comment strikes the other men all the wrong way.
Gus then goes to hitch the mules to the wagon while Call sees to the herd. Bolivar hasnít yet told them heís going along, and that worries Call who doesnít want to depend on Gus to do the cooking. Gus comes across the camp that Jake and Lorena have made and stops to talk. Lorie is attempting to cook and getting no help from Jake who is trying to dig a thorn out of his thumb. Jake is grumpy because of the thorn, the rocky ground they slept on, and the fact that Lorena is still refusing his sexual advances. Gus just silently observes the amusement to be found in the flow of human behavior: here is Jake, who had slipped from the grasp of every woman heíd ever known, firmly caught by a whore from Alabama. Furthermore, itís Lorie who has all the determination, not Jake. Gus is sure sheíll make it to San Francisco and probably become a respectable woman.
Then, Gus drives the wagon to the abandoned blacksmith shop where he gets a crowbar to pry the sign off the fence at the Hat Creek Cattle Company. He wants to take the Dutch ovens in which he cooked his biscuits, but they are crumbling to pieces. He notes that the ranch had the appearance of being the home of men who had lived there the whole time as if they might leave at any minute. Now thatís exactly what theyíre doing. And yet, he doesnít feel sad, because he feels lucky to be leaving Texas alive.
Then, Gus sees Xavier Wanz in a state of profound demoralization. He speaks gently to the man, because he knows that disappointment in love is much more difficult to accept at Xavierís age. He agrees that Lorena has made a poor bargain by going with Jake, but that doesnít make Xavier feel any less hopeless. He tells Gus to tell Lorena that if Jake gets killed, he will come for her.
Then, Gus leaves only to find Lippy sitting in the wagon. The piano player has decided to hire on with the company. Gus remembers that Lippy had been a fair horseman once and thinks that Call will hire him to guard the horses. Lippy cries as they leave Lonesome Dove, remembering the good years when there had been two saloons and many more people. He had enjoyed life then, and now he observes that itís funny leaving a place, because you never know if youíll come back.
Character analysis goes on in this chapter as we see a contrast between Jake and Xavier. Itís ironic that Lorie would choose Jake who will probably never follow through with his promise. Xavier offers her so much more, and yet she makes what Gus calls a bad bargain. However, she is the one who has all the determination and will no doubt be fine.
There is also a comparison between Gus and Lippy, both of whom have regrets about leaving Lonesome Dove. Gus is realistic about it, but also somewhat nostalgic as evidenced by his decision to take the sign with him. Lippy is unable to stay in town where there are now few people and only one saloon. He even cries when he thinks about the idea that he might never come back.
All these characters have left a little piece of themselves imprinted on the town of Lonesome Dove.
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on Lonesome Dove".
. 09 May 2017