Study Guide

Lulu (Nanapush) Lamartine in Love Medicine

By Louise Erdrich

Lulu (Nanapush) Lamartine

Lulu is the on-again, off-again object of Nector's desires, and the two of them carry on an affair while he's married to Marie. She doesn't limit her affections to just Nector, though—and through a few marriages and several affairs, she becomes mother to nine children (eight boys and one girl).

Lulu's lovey-dovey ways earned her a lot of attention; as the narrator notes:

… most of her life Lulu had been known as a flirt. And that was putting it mildly. Tongues less kind had more indicting things to say. (6.1.13)

Despite the judgy-wudgy views of some, Lulu refused to be ashamed of her relationships. In fact, she was indignant about her nasty reputation, and calls people out on their slut-shaming:

And so when they tell you that I was heartless, a shameless man-chaser, don't ever forget this: I loved what I saw. And yes, it is true that I've done all the things they say. That's not what gets them. What aggravates them is I've never shed one solitary tear. I'm not sorry. That's unnatural. As we all know, a woman is supposed to cry. (15.1.3)

Lulu definitely knows what she wants and seems like a pretty deliberate person. For example, the narrator makes a point of noting how neat Lulu kept her house, despite the chaos of having eight boys running around: "Even with eight boys her house was neat as a pin. The candy bowl on the table sat precisely on its doily. All her furniture was brushed and straightened" (6.1.32). That kind of tidiness definitely implies a careful and deliberate person, and not some crazed sex-demon who doesn't think about her actions, right?

One other thing to know about Lulu: According to her grandson Lipsha, she had the same "touch" that he had, meaning that she had some talent at healing people's aches and ills with her hands. Um, dang. Can we get Lulu over here to give us a magic back rub?