Love Medicine Study Guide Questions
Note: You should also write at least four of your own questions about the book as you read. These can be either things that confused you or aspects of the text that you would like to see us explore in class. HINT: HERE IS YOUR CHANCE TO AFFECT THE FINAL EXAM. You can list more on the reverse if they occur to you while reading. Love Medicine YOUR QUESTIONS: 1. 2. 3. 4.
Use this space to connect any relevant cultural information you find to aspects of the text:______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Discussion Questions 1. The novel deals extensively with the love-hate relationships between family members. What are some of the different kinds of familial bonds, positive and negative? What themes are explored through these relationships? What does this novel suggest about the nature of families? 2.
One theme of the novel is the unavoidable impact of the non-Indian world (for instance, Catholicism, alcohol, intermarriages, the Vietnam War, capitalism, the legal system) on the Chippewa. How does the interaction with outsiders affect specific characters? What does the novel suggest about the difficulties and consequences of dealing with a mixed world? 3. Why do you think Erdrich chose to write her novel in the way she did, using time leaps and a series of different narrators to recount their own tales? What do you think is gained by this form of narrative? How might the form’s emphasis on individual storytelling relate to the novel’s larger themes? 4. Why do you think the section “Love Medicine” was chosen as the title story of the novel?
Would you have chosen another section on the basis of a strength or unifying theme? (Above questions from http://www. harpercollins. com/authors/2905/Louise_Erdrich/index. aspx) 5. Analyze the family relationships in Louise Erdrich’s novel. What does this novel suggest about relationships between parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren, siblings, extended relatives, etc.? Pay attention to both blood relations and those that are “taken” or adoptive, such as Nanapush and Lulu or Marie and Lipsha. 6. Analyze the depictions of gender in Love Medicine, giving at least some attention to differences in gender concepts and gender relations in traditional Native and mainstream colonizing culture. 7.
Analyze the romantic relationships in the novel, both within the institution of Catholic marriage, within traditional culture, and those outside of both. What do these relationships suggest about the concept of romantic love? 8. Compare and contrast the depictions of traditional Ojibwe spirituality and Catholicism within the novel. 9. Examine how the novel depicts the effects of colonization on the Ojibwe people and their world. 10. Analyze relatedness and relationships between Native and non-Native people in this novel, both community and familial. In other words, in responding to this question, you might include the relationship between King