Ceremony in Lone Tree is a continuation of the story begun in The Field of Vision. Once again, Morris uses many of the same characters he employed in the previous novel: Tom Scanlon, the man who lives his life in the past; McKee, the embodiment of middle-class conventionality; McKee’s wife, Lois, a woman encased in her inhibitions; their grandson Gordon, the “infant Davy Crockett”; and Boyd, the “self-unmade man.” This time, however, the scene is different. Instead of using Mexico, Morris employs the ghost town of Lone Tree as a setting.
To the five familiar faces Morris used in The Field of Vision, Morris adds Maxine Momeyer, Scanlon’s second daughter; Maxine’s husband, Bud; and daughter Etoile, who looks like a young Lois but has none of her inhibitions. The Momeyers have a nephew named Lee Roy, who uses his car to kill two taunting classmates and who shares local headlines with Charlie Munger, a murderer who slays ten innocent victims. In addition, Morris introduces Scanlon’s third daughter, Edna; Edna’s blustery husband, Clyde; little Gordon’s inarticulate older brother, Calvin; Calvin’s outspoken mother, Eileen; a character called “Daughter” (whom Boyd picks up in a restaurant in Nevada); and an unsuccessful writer of Westerns named Jennings.
By adding to the cast of characters and changing the setting, Morris is able to refine the vision of failure he introduced in The Field of...
(The entire section is 585 words.)