Free Study Guide for Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry|
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LONESOME DOVE CHAPTER SUMMARIES
This chapter is so striking because of the deep feelings expressed by the
characters. Life seems to be progressing well even though they have to
hang the thief, Big Tom. Then, when Call leaves, he cannot tell Newt heís
his son, and all the gifts he gives him, gifts that a father would give
a son, are meaningless, because he canít bring himself to publicly claim
Newt as his son. There is a sense of impending disaster in Pea Eyeís mind,
and his fears are left with the reader as well.
When Call arrives in Mile City to get Gusí coffin, he discovers that something
had broken into the shed, knocked over the coffin, and made off with Gusí
severed leg. Nonetheless, he buys a buggy, hooks the coffin to it, and
takes off for Nebraska. He regrets bringing the coffin to Claraís home,
but he has promised to deliver the notes. Clara tries to convince him
to bury Gus with her sons and Bob, but Call refuses. Later, she reads
the message from Gus and hangs her head, wondering why death keeps coming
to her. As for Lorena, she just stands by the coffin and decides she wonít
read the note. She stands there all night, but eventually collapses and
must be carried in the house. It all begins to anger Clara who hates Gus
for his perversity in asking Call to take his body to Texas. She also
lashes out at Call, telling him that his promise to Gus is nothing compared
to the life of his son. He should return to Montana, she tells him, and
give his boy his name, instead of giving him his horse. She bitterly observes
that men always make promises and then leave every time. She tells him
she despises him for being a vain coward, and she resents every day he
had spent with Gus and deprived her of the same time. None of it has any
effect on Call who just puts his mule into a trot and leaves Claraís home
with Gusí coffin tied on the back.
This is an important chapter in that Clara has Woodrow Callís character pegged to a tee. He is a good man, but he never sees that what he believes is right might not be the correct decision. Furthermore, the fact that heís bound to a dead man seems perverse to her. It is perverse, because Gus had forgotten in his request of Call that the living might need his friend more than he did. Clara knows the damage this will leave behind and bitterly rails against it. Unfortunately, there is no one, not even his son, who can change Callís mind.
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. 09 May 2017