Study Guide

Gordie Kashpaw in Love Medicine

By Louise Erdrich

Gordie Kashpaw

He is June's on-again, off-again husband. When we first see him through Albertine's eyes, we get a fairly positive picture of the man—or at least, of what he had been up to that point:

Uncle Gordie Kashpaw was considered good-looking, although not in the same way as his son King. Gordie had a dark, round, eager face, creased and puckered from being stitched up after an accident. There was always a compelling pleasantness about him. In some curious way all the stitches and folds had contributed to, rather than detracted from, his looks. His face was like something valuable that was broken and put carefully back together. And all the more lovable for the care taken. In the throes of drunken inspiration now, he drove twice around the yard before his old Chevy chugged to a halt. (1.2.149)

Unfortunately, that "drunken inspiration" (or at least the drunken part) became more and more common for Gordie after June's death, which seemed to touch off a period of heavy drinking for him—and drunk driving. In fact, as a result of his boozing, he ends up hallucinating that hit June with his car (it was actually a deer).