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Free Study Guide for Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

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FREE ONLINE SUMMARY - LONESOME DOVE BY LARRY MCMURTRY

CHAPTER 39

Summary

The action returns to the cow camp where young Seanís death and the violence they all witnessed have cast a heavy gloom over them. They talk about it endlessly around the campfire while poor Allen weeps silently. They also become more irritable with each other, and minor fights break out. The next river they come to is the San Antonio River, and they all view it with apprehension. However, they cross easily at a shallow, narrow spot, found by Deets, and there are no snakes to be seen.

Newt tells Gus that he just hopes no one else will be killed. He still feels guilty over not offering Sean comfort when he cried for his homeland. Gus tells Newt that itís hard to calculate the odds of another death. He figures if they have too much bad luck, he himself probably wonít make it. He says heís not as spry as he used to be and believes that could spell his doom. However, he takes it all in stride and happily watches the little blue pigs, who had been following them all the way, easily swim across the river.


Notes

The gloom that Seanís death has cast over the camp is difficult to deal with, and the men must talk it out to come to terms with the horror they have seen. However, the little blue pigs, which have faithfully followed them all the way, are symbolic for the idea that life moves on, and so must they.


CHAPTER 40

Summary

This chapter focuses on Lorena who has come to discover that the farther she goes, the more she likes traveling. Even though she finds herself doing most of the work and dealing with Jake who is inclined to sulk, she still enjoys the fine mornings she awakens to and the daily ride on her mare. Deets has shown her how to make a fire each night and how to pack the mule and do other chores each day. Jake has been spoiling for a battle with her and calls her a whore who would probably be glad if he left. He rides off one night probably hoping to frighten her into believing he wonít be back, but Lorena is content to lay on her bedroll and listen to Allen OíBrien sing to calm the herd.

As for Jake, he considers himself an intelligent man, but he has gotten himself into a position that would have embarrassed a fool. He thinks about taking Lorena to Austin and then sneaking away from her. Heís also worried about July Johnson. In the end, he just canít bring himself to give her up. He finally returns, and they talk about the Captain. He tells Lorena that Call had a relationship once with a sporting girl named Maggie. She was Newtís mother, and Lorena then wonders who his father is. Jake figures no one will ever know since Maggie was a whore. He falls asleep trying to convince Lorena that they were made for feather beds and a nice hotel. As for Lorena, she just wants to keep traveling.

Notes

This chapter once again shows the lot of woman in this time period. With Deetsí help, Lorena learns how to survive on the drive since Jake offers her no help and expects much in return. She, too, was a sporting woman and is intrigued by the story of Maggie. Once again, they are both women who found their lives being controlled by the men who desired them.

 

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