Study Guide

Love Medicine Section 13, Chapter 1

By Louise Erdrich

Section 13, Chapter 1

Lipsha Morrissey

  • Title alert! This section is called "Love Medicine (1982)."
  • Now we're in Lipsha Morrissey's head. We learn that he has "the touch," which means he can use his fingers to cure certain sicknesses and ailments in other people.
  • Lipsha takes us through his grandpa's decline in health (as a result of dementia/Alzheimer's), and he mentions that his grandmother wanted Lipsha to try to use his "touch" on Nector.
  • He also recalls a day in which his grandfather disappeared (at this point, he and Marie were living in a retirement home). Lipsha had found Nector getting hot and heavy with Lulu Lamartine (who also lived there) in the laundry room.
  • But when Lulu's wig came off, that kind of stopped the party, and Lipsha was able to tear his grandfather away. He lamented that the big problem was not that Nector's mind was going, but that he was still so gaga over Lulu.
  • Grandma persisted in asking Lipsha to do something about Nector, suggesting the possibility of some kind of "love medicine." And Lipsha started to try to come up with something that would help.
  • At first, he thought about getting the hearts of two geese that had mated for life and feeding them to Nector and Marie, which would (hopefully) make Nector loyal to Marie for the rest of their lives.
  • However, he wasn't able to catch the two lovesick geese he had in mind, so he ended up getting some turkey hearts and taking them to the mission to get them blessed. However, the priest and nun he talked to there weren't down with this scheme, so he grabbed some holy water and did it himself.
  • When he and Marie tried to feed Nector's designated turkey heart to him, there was, er, an accident. Nector was messing around and refusing to swallow the heart, and so Marie smacked him on the back. However, instead of swallowing it, he choked. And died. If this is medicine, we think we'll take poison, please.
  • After running out to get help, Marie ran back in and fell herself. Then, Lipsha apparently fainted. What a mess, right?
  • A bit later, Lipsha woke up to find that his grandmother was still alive. Even though Marie had been close to death herself, the medical attention brought her back—and she was not happy about it. She was also apparently mad at Lipsha for his failed love medicine.
  • They soon discovered that Nector wasn't entirely gone—both Marie and Lipsha felt his ghostly presence. As a result, Marie decided that the love medicine had been more powerful than they initially thought.
  • In a moment of tenderness, Marie gave Lipsha her rosary beads. We have to assume these are the same beads that June left with her earlier—i.e., his mother's beads (although he didn't yet know that).

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