Sunday, December 31, 2006

Chapter 24: "To Hell you ride"

In Chapter 24, Frank is off to do “research,” to find his mother and sister, in Telluride. The narrator is quick to note that Telluride was the first town in the US to receive electric street lighting, and as Frank’s train approaches Telluride in the night, “the end of the world remained a possibility” (281). Is street light working “against the night?”

The references to hell (“To-Hell-you-ride”-218; “Little Hellkite”-291), seems ominous, and his long-term search for Deuce and Sloat, the “Four Corners Boys” (284), takes a detour as he encounters Merle Rideout, amalgamator at the Little Hellkite mine.

Along the way he encounters several other characters: Ellmore Disco, perhaps\ Finnish, Mexican, or “music-hall Chinese” (285); the deaf gunslinger Bob Meldrum, an ex-Pinkerton attempting to live up to the standard of fame established by Butch Cassidy (290); and stereotypical Japanese tourists, the “Sons of Nippon” (292).

Merle “can talk a little of their lingo” (292). Does he mean Japanese, or is this a joke about Japanese tourists—Merle, after all, speaks photographer’s lingo.


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