Love Medicine Thesis

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Erdrich's Love Medicine, a novel made up of a collection of short stories about a family of Chippewa Indians that reside on a reservation in North Dakota. The stories cover three generations, fifty years, and several families, with the main theme of the novel being the struggle between stability and change and there are eight distinct narrators. The stories seem so loosely related; some critics have questioned whether this novel really stands as a true novel alone. One critic, Allan Chavkin, describes the novel as several short stories without a complete solution to end each characters problem, and a possible solution to why the author chose to revise the original. "It is likely that Erdrich concluded after the publication of the 1984 Love Medicine that the novel was to pessimistic. It vividly presented the dire problems of the contemporary Indian—povery, dysfunctional families, sexual promiscuity, abused and abandonded children, alcoholism, and culture estrangement—but it did not present practical solutions to these problems, or indicate even in a more general way that solutions were possible (Chavkin, pg. 217)." Each chapter within Love Medicine places a different character's narration to describe a hardship or truly painful event that occurred while on or away from the comfort of the reservation home. The Kashpaw family is the basis of the book and owns land given in allotments by the government. However, a tribal council governs the tribe as a whole and makes decisions about who owns what land. When Lulu Lamartine's property is threatened, she makes the argument that the tribal council begins picking up leftovers from what Uncle Sam has left behind. When Lulu criticizes the tribal council for their white, government definition of property, she suggests that property should be defined according to how the land has historically been used. Although in the past the tribal council's past actions are not apparent, the council subsequently acts in accordance with...
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