Love Medicine

Love Medicine

by

Louise Erdrich

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Love Medicine can help.

Lulu Nanapush / Lulu Lamartine

The traditional Ojibwe wife of Moses Pillager; the Christian wife of Henry Lamartine and Beverly Lamartine; mother to Gerry, Henry, Jr., and Lyman; and Nector Kashpaw’s lover. After being… read analysis of Lulu Nanapush / Lulu Lamartine

Marie Lazarre / Marie Kashpaw

Nector’s wife, the adoptive mother of Lipsha, and mother to Gordie, Zelda, and Aurelia. Marie comes from a poor family on the reservation, and she goes up the hill to… read analysis of Marie Lazarre / Marie Kashpaw

Nector Kashpaw

Marie’s husband, Lulu’s lover, and father to Gordie, Zelda, Aurelia, and Lulu’s son, Lyman Lamartine. Nector and Lulu fall in love when they are just teenagers, but Nector unexpectedly… read analysis of Nector Kashpaw

June Morrissey / June Kashpaw

Eli’s adoptive daughter, Gordie’s wife, and King and Lipsha’s mother. June’s own mother dies when June is just a young girl, and June is taken in by Marie, her mother’s sister… read analysis of June Morrissey / June Kashpaw

Lipsha Morrissey

Marie and Nector’s adopted son, June and Gerry’s biological son, and King’s half-brother. June hands an infant Lipsha over to Marie not long after he is born, and he is not told… read analysis of Lipsha Morrissey
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Gerry Nanapush

Lulu’s son, Dot’s husband, and Lipsha’s father. As a young man, Gerry meets and falls in love with June, and it isn’t long before she is pregnant with Lipsha. Gerry wants… read analysis of Gerry Nanapush

Gordie Kashpaw

Marie and Nector’s son, June’s husband, and King’s father. Gordie is an alcoholic who falls off the wagon not long after June’s death as a means of coping with his guilt over… read analysis of Gordie Kashpaw

King Kashpaw

June and Gordie’s son, Lynette’s husband, Howard’s father, and Lipsha’s half-brother. After June’s death is deemed of natural causes, her life insurance pays out to King, who uses the money to… read analysis of King Kashpaw

Albertine Johnson

Zelda’s daughter, Marie and Nector’s granddaughter, and cousin to Lipsha and King. Albertine first hears about her Aunt June’s death weeks after she was buried. Albertine is away from the reservation… read analysis of Albertine Johnson

Sister Leopolda

A nun at the Sacred Heart Convent. Sister Leopolda is a cruel and abusive woman, and she sponsors Marie when she decides to join the convent as a young girl. Sister Leopolda carries a long… read analysis of Sister Leopolda

Lyman Lamartine

Lulu and Nector’s son and brother to Gerry and Henry, Jr. Lyman is the product of Lulu and Nector’s longstanding affair, but Lulu never tells Nector that Lyman is his son. Still, both… read analysis of Lyman Lamartine

Eli Kashpaw

Rushes Bear and Kashpaw’s son, Nector’s brother, and June’s adoptive father. When Eli is a young boy, Rushes Bear keeps him from the residential schools by hiding him in the floorboards, and… read analysis of Eli Kashpaw

Zelda Kashpaw

Nector and Marie’s daughter, Albertine’s mother, and sister to Aurelia and Gordie. As a young girl, Zelda considers joining the Sacred Heart Convent, but she instead marries Swede Johnson, a white… read analysis of Zelda Kashpaw

Lynette Kashpaw

King’s wife and Howard’s mother. Lynette is a white woman, and King’s Aunt Zelda constantly criticizes and shames her for everything, from the color of her skin to her preference for disposable diapers… read analysis of Lynette Kashpaw

Beverly Lamartine

Henry’s brother, Lulu’s third husband, and Henry, Jr.’s father. Beverly is a successful door-to-door salesman living in Minneapolis. He is married to Elsa, whom he “adores,” but he has always had… read analysis of Beverly Lamartine

Henry Lamartine, Jr.

Lulu and Beverly’s son and brother to Lyman and Gerry. Henry, Jr. is named for Lulu’s second husband, Henry, and he was born just nine months after Henry’s death. Like all of… read analysis of Henry Lamartine, Jr.

Moses Pillager

Lulu’s Ojibwe husband and Gerry Nanapush’s father. Moses lives on an island away from the reservation, and no matter what Lulu does, she cannot talk him into leaving the island for life on… read analysis of Moses Pillager

Aurelia Kashpaw

Marie and Nector’s daughter, Zelda and Gordie’s sister, and Albertine’s aunt. After June’s death, Aurelia reminisces with Marie and Zelda about their childhood, and Marie mentions the time Aurelia and Gordie… read analysis of Aurelia Kashpaw

Sister Mary Martin de Porres

A nun at the Sacred Heart Convent. Gordie Kashpaw comes to the convent window in the dead of night looking to confess June’s murder, and Sister Mary is the only nun awake. Sister Mary… read analysis of Sister Mary Martin de Porres

Nanapush

Lulu’s uncle and one of Rushes Bear’s husbands. Nanapush rescues Lulu from the residential school, and afterward she comes to live with him. Nanapush and Rushes Bear have a rather volatile relationship, and… read analysis of Nanapush

Henry Lamartine

Lulu’s second husband and Beverly’s brother. Like many of the characters in the novel, Henry is an alcoholic, and he commits suicide by parking his car on the railroad tracks. Exactly why Henry… read analysis of Henry Lamartine

Dot Adare

Gerry Nanapush’s wife. When Dot is first introduced, she is six months pregnant with Gerry’s baby. She is one of the only women who works at a local construction site, along with Albertineread analysis of Dot Adare

Rushes Bear / Margaret Kashpaw

Nector and Eli’s mother and the wife of Kashpaw and Nanapush. Rushes Bear is a “passionate, power-hungry woman,” and she spends much of the beginning of the book making Lulu and Marie miserable… read analysis of Rushes Bear / Margaret Kashpaw

King Howard Kashpaw, Jr. / Howard

King and Lynette’s son. Howard is a young boy, somewhere around kindergarten age, and he is completely traumatized by his abusive father. Howard hides in the bathroom, listening to his parents fight, and prays… read analysis of King Howard Kashpaw, Jr. / Howard

Fleur Pillager

Lulu Lamartine’s mother and Moses Pillager’s cousin. Fleur serves as a sort of holy woman or medicine woman for the tribe. When Marie is in the throes of a difficult labor that threatens… read analysis of Fleur Pillager

Man in the Bar / Andy

June meets Andy at the bar in Williston, North Dakota, and he drives her out to a deserted country road. June and Andy begin to have sex, but he passes out drunk. June leaves him… read analysis of Man in the Bar / Andy

Elsa

Beverly Lamartine’s wife. Beverly is married to Elsa when he marries Lulu, and Lulu sends him back home to Minnesota to divorce Elsa immediately. Lulu sends her son, Gerry, with Beverly to… read analysis of Elsa
Minor Characters
Kashpaw
Rushes Bear’s husband and Eli and Nector’s father. Kashpaw is known as “the original Kashpaw,” and his family is one of the last hereditary leaders of their tribe.
Swede Johnson
Zelda’s ex-husband and Albertine’s father. Swede is a white man from off-reservation. After Albertine is born, Swede joins the army but goes AWOL from boot camp and is never seen again.