Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Poor Meriwether.

Spoilers of Undaunted Courage ahead, if you don't know much about Lewis and Clark.

Being a history buff, I am shocked that I didn't know the first thing about ML's unfortunate death. To be fair, the expedition was hardly covered in my high school and college history classes. What I learned came from a women's studies class, and only because I chose to write an essay on Sacagawea. I still don't remember finding out that Lewis went berserk after returning from the expedition. Speculation ranges from bipolar disorder to advanced syphilis. I doubt very much that Lewis was bipolar. It seems more likely that it was syphilis. That leads me to the question in my last post. I don't think Clark was gay, but I still think Lewis was. He just reminds me of all my gay friends from high school because they hadn't "come out" yet, and spoke just as he did about getting a wife. On the other hand, he may have been straight but just couldn't get anyone to marry him d/t his odd behavior and drunkenness. Who knows. Despite my curiosity, his sexuality is not important. What is important is that such an accomplished and intelligent person came to such a depressing end.


NewsCat said...

I read that book a long time ago. It seems like Meriwether did best in high-stress adventure...especially when the booze ran out. Kind of like a sniper or a test-pilot that can't function without the danger.

Clark worked out a much better life. In fact by the end I don't think he was even best known for his trek.

mental hygiene said...

Good point. I know I only perform REALLY well at work if I KNOW I'm going to get in big trouble if I don't meet a deadline and complete the project perfectly. If I know it doesn't matter much, I'll screw it up by my laziness and lack of attention to detail.

FRANK, who loaned the book to me and thinks of himself as quite the historian, believes the bi-polar hypothesis. He also mentioned that Lewis drank too much when he had access to alcohol.

It must have been difficult to have such success so early in life- along with celebrity, accolades and the like- and not be able to achieve anything once returning to the society he had known before. Almost makes me wonder what would have happened if he had chosen to stay in one of the areas he explored. He seemed to really enjoy the expedition much of the time.