Study Guide

Love Medicine Love

By Louise Erdrich

Love

Well, the title of the book is Love Medicine, so we're sure you're not surprised to see this theme on our list. With the book's emphasis on family, love is obviously going to be pretty important—although at times it seems like every feeling but love is present among certain family members.

It seems like finding love—often through family, but not always—is pretty important for the characters and their sense of wellbeing. Actually, come to think of it, love really is kind of the ultimate "medicine" in that way. Everyone seems to be searching desperately for it, and when it comes around (for example, for Lipsha Morrissey), things really can turn around.

Questions About Love

  1. What are some examples of ways in which lack of love harmed characters, and the presence of love strengthened them?
  2. There are a lot of unhappy marriages in the book, but are there any happy ones? Or just happy relationships? What do these relationships tell us about the book overall?
  3. Is love a kind of magic in the book's universe? If so, is it more good magic or bad magic? How do we know?

Chew on This

Love is presented as a kind of black magic, driving characters like Nector to cheat on their wives and hurt their families.

Love is presented as a kind of wonderful magic, one that has the power to repair the wounds of the past (for example, with Lipsha at the end of the novel).

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