Free Study Guide for Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry|
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FREE BOOKNOTES FOR LONESOME DOVE BY LARRY MCMURTRY
As the sun is falling, he hears the sound of someone yelling and thinks he
can find a place to sleep that’s more comfortable. He sees a farmer driving
a mule to pull up stumps from the land he is clearing. When the farmer
removes a big, floppy hat, Roscoe sees that he is a she. She is a very
outspoken woman and reminds Roscoe of Peach. She immediately puts him
to work helping her pull up the stump. Her name is Louisa Brooks, and
she has outlived three husbands. She offers him just cornbread and spring
water for supper and before the evening is over, she proposes that he
stay and marry her. Roscoe is uncomfortable to say the least with the
idea, knowing that his duty is to find July. However, after he beds down
behind the house, she visits him and seduces him there on the ground.
The experience is such that he tells her he might just stop by on his
return from finding July. Once he leaves, he has a moment of happiness
that makes him ride light in the saddle. No one has ever shown him as
much concern as Louisa had. At other times, however, he can barely hold
back his tears, and he doesn’t know if they flow because he’s leaving
Louisa or because the journey ahead is so uncertain.
Once again, the author echoes other characters and their experiences in this
chapter about Roscoe. He has always been a shy loner and feels bitter
that the people of his town would force him on this unknown journey. His
coming across Louisa is in many ways just like Newt and his infatuation
with Lorena. Even though Roscoe is nearing the age of fifty, this is one
of the first times a woman has shown an interest in him. He doesn’t even
really know her, but she has been willing to accept him on a “trial basis,”
and he is touched by the gesture. However, he follows through with his
duty and tells Louisa he’ll be back.
This chapter focuses on July Johnson and Joe Boot. Joe knows that something is bothering July, because he doesn’t want to talk. It bothers Joe, because this is the first time he’s ever gone on such a journey, and he has many questions he wants to ask. Also, July is riding so hard and stopping so little that Joe is exhausted. July knows that Joe wants him to talk, but he finds it almost impossible, because his feeling that something is very wrong with Elmira consumes him.
They come to a boggy river and meet a man named Sedgwick who is so stuck that
July and Joe have to help him and horse out. He had been systematically
unloading his belongings and allowing them to flow down the river, because
he says he no long needs them. He tells July and Joe that he has been
traveling though the country looking for different species of bugs. He
believes that when the human species finishes with the planet, the insects
will take over, so he has left a thousand bugs in Little Rock for study.
Now, however, he has become bored with bugs and thinks he’ll go to Texas
to preach the Gospel. What makes July uneasy about the man is that he
only has to look at July to see that he is troubled, carrying a heavy
weight on his shoulders. He also offers to keep Joe and for a moment,
July is tempted. But then he tells Sedgwick that they’ll just meet somewhere
down the road. July and Joe decide the man must be crazy, but Joe is unnerved
by how Sedgwick could see into his heart.
This chapter is another echo. Many of these characters are traveling with a heavy heart: Elmira, July, Newt, and Allen O’Brien, to name a few. The land is a hard place to live in the best of times, and now these characters are facing some of the worst moments in their lives. It is important to recognize that the author presents all these different strands of characters who will no doubt come together eventually.
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on Lonesome Dove".
. 09 May 2017