Free Study Guide for Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry|
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LONESOME DOVE CHAPTER NOTES
This time at Clara’s home really reinforces the effect she had always had
on Gus. She works the same magic on the others and shows her maternal
instincts toward Lorena and Newt. She is feisty and sassy with Call and
stands up to him, because she resents the hold he has always had on Gus.
Her gift of the sorrel gelding to Newt is a gesture she makes to a boy
who reminds her of her lost sons, but Call, who has little or no experience
with women, will never understand the poignancy of the gesture. Furthermore,
in spite of her fears of Clara and the hold she has on Gus, Lorena is
drawn to her and the gentleness there she has never known.
After Call and Newt leave with the horses, Clara takes Gus upstairs to see Bob while July and Lorena play games with the girls and care for the baby. She tells Gus that she wishes Bob would just die, because he’s of no use to himself the way he is. She reiterates that he should leave Lorena there so she can get some polish. He admits that he never planned to get into the situation at all, and even though he’s fond of her, the feeling is nothing like the one he has for Clara. But Clara says she won’t marry again, because there are so few honest men, and Gus isn’t one of them. They also agree that if Gus stays with her, he’ll destroy Lorie, and that’s not something he wants to do.
Clara returns to the kitchen and invites Lorie to stay with them. She tells
Lorie that Montana is no place for a “lady,” and Lorena blushes at the
thought that anyone would believe she is a lady. Lorena is also surprised
at how much, in only a day, she has come to admire Clara, and how happy
she feels sitting in the kitchen with the girls and the baby. It’s all
so new and shiny to her. It feels like she is being given something back
for what she had lost when her parents died, and she no longer had a nice
house or the things that went with it. Lorena asks Gus if he will come
back if she stays, and he promises her he will. She tells him that she’ll
go with him if he wants, but that she likes this home, and it promises
her security she hasn’t known for a long time. And so, with her decision
to stay, Gus saddles up and rides off, leaving two woman who each have
a part of his heart.
This leave-taking is especially poignant, given that neither Lorena nor Clara will ever see Gus alive again. Also, perhaps it seems unbelievable that Lorie would want to stay with Clara, given that she saw her as a rival before they visited, but it also makes a great deal of sense. Lorie had lived a very rough life and had never known what it was like just to be a girl with a home and family. She had always kept herself aloof from everyone, especially the men she serviced, because she wanted desperately to keep a private part of herself. Now, Clara’s invitation offers her the kind of life she could only ever dream of in the past, and Clara has earned her respect by her behavior in just that one day. However, with Gus leaving, there is a sense that both women may someday regret the decisions they have made concerning him.
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on Lonesome Dove".
. 09 May 2017