Close Range: Wyoming Stories Characters

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Close Range: Wyoming Stories Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Close Range: Wyoming Stories by E. Annie Proulx.

Meroappears in The Half-Skinned Steer

Mero is an old man who was raised on a ranch in Wyoming. Mero had a brother who also lived with him on the ranch. Mero and his brother, Rollo, believed their father was giving up on the ranch when he began working for the post office. This caused the boys to fight their father at every turn, at times turning their attention to one of the many girlfriends their father had in the house. Mero eventually left the ranch, making a life for himself in Massachusetts.

Mero has learned that his brother, Rollo, has passed away. At this same time, Mero learns that Rollo sold the ranch, but returned to run it when it was bought by a businessman in Australia who turned it into a type of zoo for Australian animals. Mero jumps in his car to make the trip back to Wyoming, determined to make it in time for his brother's funeral, four days away. Mero has multiple problems on the trip, suggesting to the reader that there is a curse on him that is suggested by a story one of his father's girlfriends told him years ago. It also suggests that perhaps one cannot go back home again.

Diamond Feltsappears in The Mud Below

Diamond Felts is a bull rider in the rodeo. Diamond was raised by a mother who refused to allow her sons to live the ranch lifestyle, only to find her son living as a bull rider. Diamond's mother is deeply disappointed in Diamond's lifestyle choices, afraid he will be badly injured one day. The reader wonders, however, if the mother's concern is more about Diamond or about the idea of being forced to care for him after an injury.

Diamond has struggled all his life with his identity. Diamond was told once that the man he thought was his father is not. Diamond is also a very small man, much shorter than the average man. This causes Diamond to live a reckless lifestyle that includes forcing himself on women who are much bigger than himself. It makes Diamond feel powerful. Perhaps this need to feel powerful also has something to do with his choice of professions. In the end, Diamond begins to lose the thrill he gets from riding bulls, but a phone call to his mother in an attempt to get her to confess to his true patronage seems to help.

Leeland Leeappears in Job History

Leeland Lee is a man who was raised on a failing hog farm and grew up to have a steady string of endless jobs himself. Several times Leeland tries to run his own business, but each of these fails. Leeland attempts to raise hogs with his father, but this also fails when his father allows the business to become deeply indebted without telling his son. Leeland also drives trucks and works in a meat packing business. However, none of these jobs seem to fit and Leeland ends up working as a chef in a café.

Leeland's life goes on behind the scenes as he moves from job to job. Leeland marries, has several children, and worries about the significant events taking place all over the world. Leeland is a typical man, a man who fights hard to support his family despite a lack of education or opportunity. Leeland appears to be a loser to some readers, but to others he is an inspiration based on the fact that he never stopped trying.

Rassmusenappears in People in Hell Just Want a Drink of Water

Ras is a young man raised on a struggling ranch in Wyoming. Ras has always been fascinated with travel, therefore it is no surprise when he leaves home as soon as he is able and begins traveling the country. Unfortunately, Ras is in a terrible accident that brings him back home and keeps him confined to the immediate area. Ras begins riding his horse all over the countryside, often staying away for days at a time. Eventually Ras' parents hear that he has been acting inappropriately with local females. Despite this, the parents love Ras. Ras does not seem to care about his parents' embarrassment or any danger he might be in. However, it is the parents who are devastated when they discover someone has taken the law into their own hands and punished Ras for his behavior. Ras is a confused, angry young man, but he did not deserve his painful end.

Ottalineappears in The Bunchgrass Edge of the World

Ottaline is a large, powerful woman who lives with her parents on their ranch. Ottaline is deeply lonely, afraid she will never find a man to love her. Ottaline blames herself for her shortcomings, convinced that if she could lose weight she might be able to find love. Despite the fact that Ottaline's mother attempts to convince her to believe in herself and accept who she is, Ottaline attempts to lose weight. During this halfhearted attempt, Ottaline finds a tractor she believes is in love with her. The reader wonders, just as Ottaline does, if she is going insane.

Ottaline meets a young man who is just as round and lonely as she. Ottaline quickly falls in love with and marries this young man. This romance ends Ottaline's relationship with the tractor and it is banished back out into the fields of the ranch. The reader wonders if the tractor continued to speak to Ottaline after she met her husband, but is left with the impression that Ottaline did not return to the tractor, no longer in need of the tractor's distraction. Instead, Ottaline settles into a life that is very much like her own mother's.

Car Scropeappears in Pair a Spurs

Car Scrope is a young man who has suffered through the destruction of his marriage and the loneliness that often comes after divorce. Car continues to live on the ranch he has lived on his entire life, despite his emotional loneliness, only to find happiness in a surprising place. Car has had a lot of medical metal placed in his body as the result of a terrible accident that occurred the night he found his wife in bed with his best friend. This metal reacts to silver on a set of spurs in a way that leaves Car in deep pain, but also extremely sexually aroused.

Car never comes to realize it is the spurs causing his pain and his arousal. Car is so depressed by the loss of his wife that he is only happy to find a reason to get out of bed in the morning, even if the movement is terribly painful. This suggests that Car was so deeply lonely that he is willing to do about anything to feel this alive again.

Josanna Skilesappears in A Lonely Coast

Josanna is a middle aged woman living in a small town in Wyoming where she works as a Japanese chef. Josanna has a reputation for shooting a man who betrayed her, a reputation that is supported by the gun she carries in her car at all times. When Josanna begins an affair with a man who often cheats on her and often treats her badly, people wonder why she puts up with this man. This appears to go against Josanna's personality. However, people are not surprised when this man is found dead with Josanna beside him, her gun under her body.

Wade Wallsappears in The Governors of Wyoming

Wade Walls is a young man who is against cattle in the West. Wade wrote a book about his opinions and convinces Shy Hamp to help him stop cattle ranchers in Wyoming. Shy believes Wade is motivated by his love for the land and his concern that the cattle is destroying the natural fauna of the state. Wade claims to want to return Wyoming to the way God meant for it to be. However, Wade's true motivation is the fact that his father contracted a rare form of cancer while working in a meat packing plant. Wade turns out to be a coward, leaving Shy to take the blame for fences they both cut.

Shyland Hampappears in The Governors of Wyoming

Shyland 'Shy' Hamp is a young man who was raised on a ranch in Wyoming. Shy does not like the ranch and plans to go to college, to make a living in business rather than cattle. However, while Shy is a senior at the local university his entire family is killed in an avalanche. Shy does not want to run the ranch, but he does not want to sell it either. Therefore Shy gets rid of the cattle, selling some and killing the rest, then goes into business selling equine insurance. This business does not do well, however. Shy begins to feel like a kept man since his wife is the chief breadwinner, causing him to have a brief affair with a young girl whose brother he met on the streets of an Indian reservation. Shy also adopts a dislike of cattle and begins working with Wade Walls to stop cattle ranching in Wyoming. However, the only thing this gets Shy is a rock in the hip and discovery by his own neighbors and relatives.

Ennis del Marappears in Brokeback Mountain

Ennis is a young man who was raised on a farm and knows nothing but farm work. Ennis is not a student of the world, he is not sophisticated, but a simple man. Ennis marries a young woman when he is only eighteen and has two children almost immediately. The marriage falls apart, but Ennis was never really in love with his wife. Ennis marries because it is expected, it is what he should do. Most everything Ennis does is because it is what he should do.

Ennis meets Jack Twist while working on Brokeback Mountain the summer before he marries. Jack and Ennis begin a love affair during this summer that was neither planned nor expected. Neither man is prepared for the depth of their feelings for one another. Ennis in particular is afraid of his relationship with Jack because he has seen what cruel people can do to people who are different. Ennis cannot stand the idea of ending his relationship with Jack, but he understands prejudice and fear, understands what it means to step outside of what is expected.

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