Death Comes for the Archbishop By Willa Cather Summary and Analysis Book 3: Chapter 2

Summary

En route to Laguna, Father Latour and Jacinto travel through desert country, which is cold, sandy and inhospitable. Laguna lies in yellow sand dunes. The people of Laguna have been told by Father Jesus that the Bishop is coming, and they welcome him. Latour says Mass and baptizes the children.

Latour wishes to camp in the rock dunes, and Jacinto prepares the campsite. Jacinto likes the Bishop because he presents one face to all people, and does not condescend to the Indians. While the two men watch the sunset and the western sky, they discuss the evening star and the small star beside it that is the guide, and what the stars might be. Latour does not challenge Jacinto's beliefs, because he understands that Jacinto has no comprehension of European traditions. The men end the evening in mutual prayer and mutual respect.

Analysis

Latour and Jacinto's mutual respect is derived from Latour's admiration and acceptance of Indian culture. Jacinto is prepared for Latour to be patronizing when the priest remarks that the Laguna Indian name for the mountain range is Snow-Bird. When he realizes Latour is sincere, he changes his tone and compliments the priest on his youthful appearance.

Glossary

sacristy a room in a church, usually adjoining the sanctuary, where the sacred vessels, vestments, and so on are kept; vestry.

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