Free Study Guide for Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry|
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BOOK SUMMARY FOR LONESOME DOVE
The viewpoint of the story returns to Clara’s house in this chapter. Lorena
is happy that she has stayed with Clara, but when she thinks of Gus, she
misses him with a painful ache. Clara seldom asks her any questions, which
allows Lorena time to heal, and she develops a special bond with Betsy.
Eventually, one night, Bob dies. When Clara discovers him the next morning,
the girls are laughing and playing outside, and Clara wonders if Bob had
heard them as he died. She thought she would be happy when he died, but
now she is sad, nostalgic, and tired of dealing with the formalities of
death. As for any other man coming to be important in her life, July has
fallen in love with Clara. Lorena recognizes his feelings, because he
acts happier than he has since she first met him. Of course, Cholo also
loves her completely, so no matter whether she wants either one or not,
she has two men devoted to caring for her. Clara knows how both men feel,
but she chooses not to act on it. Cholo recognizes that she has never
been happy, because she’s always looking for something that isn’t there.
She had married Bob instead of Gus or Jake, because she knew he’d always
be there. But her life is not what she would have wanted, because those
two, especially Gus, were the ones she actually loved.
Life in Clara’s home is all about change: Lorena learns that she can be happy
and respectable, even though she desperately missed Gus at times; Clara
learns she can live without Bob even though she sometimes regrets that
he’s gone; and July comes to forget Elmira and falls in love with Clara.
It affirms that life moves onward, sometimes on strange paths, but onward
Finally, the Hat Creek Cattle Company rides into Montana from the barren Wyoming plain, and everything Jake Spoon said is true. The plains are rolling with grass and flowers, and even the sky seems bluer. Even Call’s spirits pick up, and he decides they will only stop when they are across the Yellowstone River so his can be the first ranch north of the Yellowstone. Augustus is still unsatisfied, because now he has to drink his whiskey indoors, because it will be too cold. Fortunately, they will be near Mile City where they can provision.
The next day an early storm rolls out of the Bighorns, and everyone who has never seen snow is astonished by the sight. It only lasts until the afternoon sun comes out, and then, the weather is hot again for a week.
Gus continues to talk to Newt as if Call is his father, but Newt still has
a hard time believing it. When Newt questions Gus about why his father
has never mentioned the fact, Gus tells him that Call would never mention
anything if he could avoid it. But that’s exactly what bothers Newt the
most - he thinks his father should have told him, not Gus. Furthermore,
he thinks that Call should have mentioned that he knew his mother. Gus
just tells him that it’s not because Call doesn’t like him; instead, Call
just has always lived for duty, and that the emotional side of life is
impossible for him to deal with. He made the wrong choice not to behave
like normal people, and now he can’t admit his mistake. Unfortunately,
Newt doesn’t feel a thrill about being Call’s son; he just feels sad.
The snow and the Montana countryside are symbolic here for cleanliness: they wash away their sadness over Deets and offer hope for a future in this new land. However, this upbeat attitude fails to make Newt feel better, because he needs his father to claim him.
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on Lonesome Dove".
. 09 May 2017