Free Study Guide for Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry|
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LONESOME DOVE CHAPTER NOTES
Call’s deep sense of grief that he won’t deal with reveals itself in how he
continues to drive his men and the herd north. He nearly brings them to
destruction, however, until he comes to his senses and stops for the winter.
They still have to face losses when Old Dog dies and Dish Boggett leaves
for Nebraska. The quiet pride Call feels in Newt gives the reader hope
that he will eventually claim him as his son.
The first week of January, July Johnson proposes to Clara. She doesn’t answer him, just asks him if she’s added too much cinnamon to her cake batter. When he’s unsure of that, she points out to him that he’s not too good with sweets, implying that his proposal lacked the romanticism a woman would want. However, July doesn’t really understand. He just wonders if he should leave, since he’s displeased her in some way. However, he can’t stop looking at her or thinking of her. Then, Martin gets ill, and it’s reminiscent of the deaths of her other boys. Clara wonders if she’s not meant to raise boys and turns to July for comfort, embracing him and crying. The next day when the baby’s fever breaks, she’s once again all business with July, angry because she sat up all night with the baby while he went to bed. She tells him that he’s good for nothing where it concerns her, and now he has to wait a year for his answer. He must learn to take command of situations and not wait for someone else to guide him. He’s upset, because he was so stupid, but he has hope that she’ll eventually marry him.
Then, Dish Bogget arrives, and things begin to change. Even though he’s come to court Lorena, Clara takes an instant liking to him, and even offers Dish a job. As for Lorena, she barely talks once she learns from Dish that Gus is dead. Furthermore, Dish is better with horses than July is, and he’s not interested in making friends with him. July thinks he and Lorena are a lot alike: she loves a dead man, and he loves a woman who sees nothing in him.
Clara feels a terrible stab of grief when she learns of Gus’ death and she
regrets all the years that kept them separate. He had been her ultimate
ally, and with him gone, she feels that much more alone. She also knows
about Lorena’s loneliness and despair, because it is so much the way she
felt when her boys died. However, Lorena will either die from her grief
or live, and it’s all up to her. She feels that perhaps Lorena will die,
because the only happiness she knew was in Gus, and the only happiness
she knows is in Betsey. She sees nothing of Dish’s love for her, and he
is blocked by Gus in death just as he was in life. Eventually, though,
Lorie talks to Clara about how she wishes she had gone with Gus, how Dish
doesn’t have a chance with her, and why Clara asked her to stay instead
of Gus. It helps her begin the healing process to know that even though
Clara loved Gus, she knew that they never could have lived together. Lorena
goes through the rest of the winter talking only to Betsey who remains
as loyal to her as Dish does. Then, when spring comes, Dish thinks he
should just go to Texas and forget Lorie. Nonetheless, he takes the job
offer from Clara.
Life in Clara’s home with all these new people is filled with regrets and mistakes. Both she and Lorena regret all the time they lost with Gus, but they each differ in the way they deal with their grief. Dish feels regret that he can’t win Lorena’s love while July regrets that he makes mistakes in courting Clara. However, there is a sense that with the spring, they may all heal even more, and hope is in the air.
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on Lonesome Dove".
. 09 May 2017