In “Mad Love,” the last sentence of the opening paragraph says,

But Alice Mitchell was the first to be lassoed by Frederica Ward’s charms…

I like the verb in there, lassoed. Mainly I associate it with cowboys and rodeo. It suggests catching, and possibly taming, something powerful and wild. But a lasso is also a loop of rope, just like a noose – a noose which might be used for execution, or lynching, or suicide. She could have used caught or attracted instead, but lassoed brings all that imagery to our minds, conscious or subconscious, and all the layers of meaning that go with it.

We had talked earlier about how different authors approach crime narrative from different perspectives – Lincoln and Thomas Gray as lawyers, Bierce as a journalist, Mather as a preacher. This piece is what I would call literary art, where using just the right word makes all the difference.

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One Response to “Lassoed”

  1. Jim Groom says:

    Lassoed also frames frederica as the aggressor in many ways, as if Alice was only trying to escape. Cutting her way loose, as it were.

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