Free Study Guide for Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry|
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CHAPTER SUMMARY / NOTES - LONESOME DOVE
Elmira’s former goal had been to find Dee Boot, but now that he’s dead and
July has found her, her goal switches to escaping July once again. She’s
entirely too sick to leave, but forces Zwey to take her anyway. Even the
thought of Indians won’t change her mind. This behavior is typical of
Elmira who is so self-absorbed that she has no thought for her children,
July, or even Zwey. She endangers people around her in the search for
something that will make her belong to herself alone. Unfortunately, no
good will ever come of this search, because she was born in the wrong
place, at the wrong time, to be that kind of woman. The news about the
Sioux is foreshadowing as July will later learn that both Elmira and Zwey
will be murdered by the Sioux.
July returns from seeing Elmira in a deep depression, and Clara knows that he has sustained a serious blow. So, Clara takes him with her to help with nursing Bob to take his mind off his sadness. In the process, she gets him to talk about what has happened even though he doesn’t want to. She bluntly tells him in response that Elmira doesn’t want him or her baby and that she’s become attached to the baby boy and wants to raise him. So she offers July a job and sends him to bed.
The next morning, July is still in a funk, thinking he should just go home
to Arkansas and the life he’d always known. Even though he knows Elmira
doesn’t want to see him, he has to see her again even if she won’t look
at him. So he returns to Ogallala and discovers from the doctor that Elmira
has left. The doctor says she took it hard when she learned Dee Boot had
been hung, and she left without a note. July is frantic, because he doesn’t
have his rifle with him or his bedroll or any provisions to go after her.
So he returns to Clara’s home and only has the strength to slide off his
horse, sit down behind the saddle shed, and begin to weep. Clara finds
him there later and, in a matter-of-fact manner, urges him to help her
shuck the corn. Only time and ordinary activities will help him get past
the fact that he could chase Elmira forever, and she still won’t want
July’s reaction to Elmira is just as obsessive as hers to Dee Boot. The irony is that neither one will ever get what they want. Dee is dead and any hope of a life with him dies when he does. Meanwhile, Elmira continues to run away from July who just can’t accept that his own wife doesn’t want him.
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on Lonesome Dove".
. 09 May 2017