Free Study Guide for Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry|
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LONESOME DOVE LITERARY ANALYSIS
Title: Lonesome Dove
Author: Larry McMurtry
Date Published: 1985
Meaning of the Title: Lonesome Dove is the title of the story, but the greatest part of the plot takes place away from it. Therefore, it comes to represent loss and regret for what is lost and also represents that life is a circle when Call comes back there in the end.
Setting: Lonesome Dove, Texas; Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and the
Montana Territories approximately ten years after the end of the Civil
Protagonists: Woodrow F. McCall and Augustus McCrae
Antagonist: The conditions they face on the drive, Blue Duck and the other Indians, and their own inner turmoil
Mood: At times, the mood is tragic, filled with despair, and very sad; at other times, it is amusing and sarcastic; finally, it leaves the reader feeling unsettled about Call’s future and the futures of the men he left behind.
Point of View: Omniscient point of viewpoints that focus on various
characters at various times.
Tense: This story is written in the past tense since it takes place from about 1875 to 1878 in America’s Old West.
Rising Action: It occurs from the beginning of the novel when the reader is introduced to the Hat Creek Cattle Company until the climax of Augustus McCrae’s death.
Exposition: The story involves a long cattle drive made by the
Hat Creek Cattle Company from Lonesome Dove, Texas, to the Montana Territory.
Along the way, the characters face Indian attacks, terrible weather conditions,
and the loss of friends and favorite animals. Eventually, they make it
to Montana, but not without great consequences to them all. Gus and Jake
die as do several of the other hands. Call never has the courage to tell
Newt he is his son. In the end, there is only the ghost town that Lonesome
Dove becomes and Call lost in an emotional wilderness from which he cannot
Climax: Gus McCrae dies of blood poisoning caused by two Indians arrows. Before he dies, he makes Call promise to bury him back in Texas. This request sets in motion even more tragedy for the Hat Creek crew.
Outcome: Call finally returns Gus’ body to Texas, but discovers
that Lonesome Dove is almost a ghost town and that Xavier Wanz had burned
down the Dry Bean Saloon, himself inside, because of “that woman, that
Major Themes: death and its ever present part of life; maturity; for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction; regret; differences in the life roles that men and women play; and good versus evil
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Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on Lonesome Dove".
. 09 May 2017