Study Guide

Gerry Nanapush in Love Medicine

By Louise Erdrich

Gerry Nanapush

Gerry Nanapush was Lulu's son with Moses. Apparently, he was a pretty jolly dude, even if he was always in trouble:

He laughed at everything, or seemed barely to be keeping amusement in. His eyes were black, sly, snapping with sparks. (6.1.54)

Also, multiple characters remark on how much grace Gerry had despite his size—he is a big 'un.

Even when Gerry was twelve, Beverly Lamartine could see these qualities in Gerry while watching Lulu's children play:

He was a big boy, a born leader, light on his feet and powerful. His mind seemed quick. It would not surprise Bev to hear, after many years passed on, that this Gerry grew up to be both a natural criminal and a hero whose face appeared on the six o'clock news. (6.1.54)

Yup, that's right, Gerry later spent a lot of time in and out of prison; he would frequently escape and then get caught pretty quickly. According to Lulu, "In and out of prison, yet inspiring the Indian people, that was his life" (15.1.70). Like Lulu, it seems that "he could not hold his wildness in" (15.1.70).

During a period when he wasn't in jail, he met and married Dot Adare and got her pregnant; however, he ended up back on the run when his daughter, Shawn, was born. When he was captured that time, he ended up (reportedly) killing a cop, which meant he got put in a serious prison for a much longer sentence than the original one.

Toward the end of the book (after escaping yet again), he connects with Lipsha, the son that he fathered with June. It seems that, like Lipsha, Gerry has the same healing touch that Lulu also has.

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