Love Medicine

Love Medicine

by

Louise Erdrich

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Henry Lamartine Character Analysis

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 commits suicide is never revealed, although Marie claims he did it because of Lulu’s infidelity. Lulu has an assortment of sons named Lamartine, including Henry, Jr., but none of Lulu’s boys are actually Henry’s sons. Despite this, Henry accepted each of Lulu’s boys as his own, even those who were not, by name, Lamartines, which aligns with Erdrich’s overreaching argument that family is more than blood ties.

Henry Lamartine Quotes in Love Medicine

The Love Medicine quotes below are all either spoken by Henry Lamartine or refer to Henry Lamartine. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Tribal Connection and Family Ties Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Harper Perennial edition of Love Medicine published in 2016.
The Good Tears Part 1 Quotes

I believed this way even before those yellow-bearded government surveyors in their tie boots came to measure the land around Henry’s house. Henry Lamartine had never filed on or bought the land outright, but he lived there. He never took much stock in measurement, either. He knew like I did. If we’re going to measure land, let’s measure right. Every foot and inch you’re standing on, even if it’s on the top of the highest skyscraper, belongs to the Indians. That’s the real truth of the matter.

Related Characters: Lulu Nanapush / Lulu Lamartine (speaker), Henry Lamartine
Page Number: 278
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Love Medicine LitChart as a printable PDF.
Love Medicine PDF

Henry Lamartine Character Timeline in Love Medicine

The timeline below shows where the character Henry Lamartine appears in Love Medicine. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Lulu’s Boys
Tribal Connection and Family Ties Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
On the last day that Lulu is Henry Lamartine’s widow, she sits drinking beer with Henry’s brother, Beverly. Beverly is a large man... (full context)
Native Culture, Assimilation, and Racism Theme Icon
Lulu hasn’t seen Beverly since Henry’s funeral seven years ago. Henry died in a car crash after driving drunk onto the... (full context)
Tribal Connection and Family Ties Theme Icon
Female Oppression and Strength  Theme Icon
...Lamartines are each red-headed or blond, and they look nothing like their brothers. The youngest, Henry, Jr., was born just nine months after Henry’s death, but Beverly is certain the boy... (full context)
Tribal Connection and Family Ties Theme Icon
Native Culture, Assimilation, and Racism Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
...best salesman in the entire area. The secret to Beverly’s success is a picture of Henry, Jr., which he shows to his customers. He creates elaborate stories about his son, Junior,... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
...across from Lulu in her kitchen, Beverly can’t believe how long it has been since Henry’s death. He looks around Lulu’s immaculate house. Even with eight sons, Lulu’s house is always... (full context)
Tribal Connection and Family Ties Theme Icon
Native Culture, Assimilation, and Racism Theme Icon
Henry, Jr. comes in and asks Beverly to make his bird tattoo fly. Beverly rolls up... (full context)
Native Culture, Assimilation, and Racism Theme Icon
Female Oppression and Strength  Theme Icon
By that evening, Beverly has completely abandoned his plans to take Henry, Jr. back to Minneapolis. Beverly watches Lulu as she readies dinner for her boys. She... (full context)
Flesh and Blood
Tribal Connection and Family Ties Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Female Oppression and Strength  Theme Icon
...poor one. Not all men are like Nector, Marie thinks, and even Lulu’s late husband, Henry, is proof of that. Henry knew that Lulu cheated and had children by other men,... (full context)
A Bridge
Tribal Connection and Family Ties Theme Icon
Native Culture, Assimilation, and Racism Theme Icon
Female Oppression and Strength  Theme Icon
The man, Henry Lamartine, Jr., knows that the girl is following him. She isn’t exactly pretty, and she... (full context)
Female Oppression and Strength  Theme Icon
Henry and Albertine find a bar and drink for most of the evening, and then they... (full context)
Female Oppression and Strength  Theme Icon
Albertine comes out of the bathroom, and Henry asks her if she wants to go to bed. He promises not to touch her... (full context)
Female Oppression and Strength  Theme Icon
...is, but then she feels the ache between her legs and remembers. She looks to Henry and is just about to say his name when she touches him gently on the... (full context)
The Red Convertible
Tribal Connection and Family Ties Theme Icon
...to own a convertible on the reservation. He had bought it together with his brother, Henry, Jr. Lyman has always been good at earning money, and when he was just 15,... (full context)
Native Culture, Assimilation, and Racism Theme Icon
...and then he saw the car. He was on a ride up to Winnipeg with Henry, and in Lyman’s pocket was the last of the insurance money. When they saw the... (full context)
Tribal Connection and Family Ties Theme Icon
Somewhere in Montana, Lyman and Henry saw a Native American girl hitchhiking. They pulled up alongside of her in the Oldsmobile... (full context)
Native Culture, Assimilation, and Racism Theme Icon
Lyman writes Henry many letters while he is in Vietnam and tells him about the convertible, which he... (full context)
Tribal Connection and Family Ties Theme Icon
...work. The car looks even worse than the average “Indian car,” and he waits for Henry to notice it. Henry finally notices the car over a month later, and suddenly, Henry... (full context)
Tribal Connection and Family Ties Theme Icon
Henry and Lyman get into the Oldsmobile and head toward the Red River. Henry wants to... (full context)
Tribal Connection and Family Ties Theme Icon
God and Religion  Theme Icon
Lyman reminds Henry that they are the “crazy Lamartine boys,” but Henry isn’t ready to go back just... (full context)
Love Medicine
Native Culture, Assimilation, and Racism Theme Icon
...of Lamartine boys because she had a bad feeling. Within a few days, Lyman and Henry crashed into the river and Henry was killed. (full context)
The Good Tears Part 1
Love Theme Icon
Lulu’s second husband was Henry Lamartine, and he was killed when his car stalled on the train tracks. Of Lulu’s... (full context)
Tribal Connection and Family Ties Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
...could not turn him away, and he spent five years sneaking in her window after Henry’s death. During this time, Lyman was born “half Kashpaw,” which is why he is so... (full context)
Native Culture, Assimilation, and Racism Theme Icon
...of this, Lulu immediately disliked the government surveyors who came to measure the land where Henry’s house sat. Henry never did buy the land officially because he didn’t care much for... (full context)
Female Oppression and Strength  Theme Icon
Soon after, Henry’s brother, Beverly, came to visit and claimed he wanted to get married. He had been... (full context)
Native Culture, Assimilation, and Racism Theme Icon
Female Oppression and Strength  Theme Icon
The tribe wanted to build a factory on the land where Henry’s house stood that manufactured “equipment of false value.” The factory was to make beaded bracelets... (full context)