Lonesome Dove Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

Lonesome Dove Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

Lonesome Dove

Most of the story’s narrative actually takes place away from the geographical setting of Lonesome Dove, thus transforming the Texas town into an almost mythical setting of longing and regret. The title also speaks to the symbolism of the main characters aging with the times from a period of war into a period of peace. The former Texas Rangers have, in effect, been forced into becoming doves of peace rather than hawks of war. And it is a lonesome process of transformation.

The Door

At one point Gus’ door is almost completely covered by words. It’s a work of art. The work of a lifetime. Literally. By the time Call plants that door in the ground as a marker of a live lived, it’s down to carved initials, thus becoming a symbol of the way that every life eventually becomes marked by a few simple letters carved into marble.

The Pigs

Pigs are related to a circle of life, of sorts. Gus admires the pigs for being a bit more elevated than other animals because he views himself as a bit more elevated than other men. The pigs represent intelligence, perseverance, and purpose. And yet, like everything, they become food in the end.

Clara's House

Like many homes in literature, Clara’s house is the ultimate symbol of security. What sets the house apart is that it also works as a symbol of transformation. The men who arrive there generally are not quite the same men that leave; the security of the home provides the necessary stability to enact change.

The Dinner Bell

Does a dinner bell make a clang when there is no one there to hear it? The dinner bell serves to situate the flip side of stability of that represented by Clara’s house. Here is found the stability of tradition as a means of connecting the present to the past.

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