The Virginian

by Owen Wister

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What authority does the Virginian have to make his own laws?

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I will answer the question that asks about Molly's opinion of the Virginian.  Molly doesn't have a static opinion about the Virginian.  Her opinion of him changes over the course of the entire novel.  When Molly first meets the Virginian, she does not actually remember too much about him.  She is stuck in a stranded stagecoach, and the Virginian rescues her.  She is in a complete daze and does not really have an opinion of him.  She does not even realize that he takes her handkerchief.  

At the next encounter, Molly plays a bit of "hard to get."  She is a bit of a coquette to the Virginian at this point.  She is not throwing herself at him like some teen in love, but she is not telling the Virginian to go away and never speak to her again.  It is obvious to the reader that there is some definite attraction between the two characters.  

Molly Wood was regarding him saucily. “I don’t think I like you,” said she.

“That’s all square enough. You’re goin’ to love me before we get through. I wish yu’d come a-ridin, ma’am.”

“Dear, dear, dear! So I’m going to love you? How will you do it? I know men think that they only need to sit and look strong and make chests at a girl—”

“Goodness gracious! I ain’t makin’ any chests at yu’!” Laughter overcame him for a moment, and Miss Wood liked his laugh very much. “Please come a-ridin’,” he urged. “It’s the prettiest kind of a day.”

She looked at him frankly, and there was a pause. “I will take back two things that I said to you,” she then answered him. “I believe that I do like you. And I know that if I went riding with you, I should not have an immature protector.” And then, with a final gesture of acknowledgment, she held out her hand to him. “And I have always wanted,” she said, “to thank you for what you did at the river.”

It turns out the Virginian is quite correct in his prediction about Molly's future love.  Molly does indeed fall in love with him, and they are married by the book's end. 

Upstairs, Molly, sitting on the Virginian’s knee, put the flower in his coat, and then laid her head upon his shoulder.

“I didn’t know old ladies could be that way,” he said. “D’ yu’ reckon there are many?”

“Oh, I don’t know,” said the girl. “I’m so happy!”

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Goodness you have a lot of questions:D I haven’t read the book, but it seems that since you’re looking for specific answers that you might have better success posting this in the questions section.

You might want to check out the following enote's link for some good information.

http://www.enotes.com/jax/index.php/enotes/gsearch?m=co&q=the+virginian

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