Study Guide

Love Medicine Section 11, Chapter 1

By Louise Erdrich

Section 11, Chapter 1

Albertine Johnson

  • This section is named "Scales (1980)."
  • In this chapter, via Albertine's first-person perspective, we get some details about Gerry Nanapush and his wife, Dot.
  • Apparently Gerry had spent quite a bit of his life (roughly half) on the run from the police, so he'd periodically need to run away from dinner or some other event when a cop appeared. And every once in a while he'd get caught. And then he'd escape. And so the cycle continued.
  • Albertine worked with Dot in the "weigh shack" at a construction site. Things were a bit bumpy between the women at first, but they eventually became friends.
  • We should mention that Dot was pregnant during this time, and Gerry had been caught and thrown back in jail. Dot wasn't thrilled at the prospect of delivering their baby alone.
  • However, Gerry managed to escape and came back in time for Dot to go into labor. Dot disappeared from work for several days without any word about what was happening, and then one day Gerry came to get Albertine—Dot had asked for her.
  • They went to the hospital, and Gerry got to go in with Dot for a little while. When he came out, he seemed a bit traumatized.
  • While he and Albertine continued to wait, the cops showed up—and Gerry had to run once again. He jumped out the window from three stories up, but luckily he landed on a car below—the cops' car, actually.
  • Two weeks later, Dot and the baby, Shawn, were back at work with Albertine.
  • Some time later, they heard that Gerry had been caught—and he'd allegedly ended up shooting a state trooper during the capture. So, he was in prison in Marion, Illinois.

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