Love Medicine

Love Medicine

by

Louise Erdrich

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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 she hates Lulu, but Rushes Bear can’t stay away from Nanapush for long. Nanapush is an old man, and he asks Lulu to bury him high in a tree when he dies, so he can see the government cars coming. Nanapush lives a traditional Native lifestyle despite the whitewashing of modern America, and like Eli and Moses Pillager, he represents “old-time traditional” Chippewa culture.

Nanapush Quotes in Love Medicine

The Love Medicine quotes below are all either spoken by Nanapush or refer to Nanapush. 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 Island Quotes

“Although I lost my spirit to Father Damien six years ago, gambling at cards. I’d still like to walk away on the old road. So when my time comes, you and your mother should drag me off, wrap me up in quilts. Sing my songs and then bury me high in a tree. Lulu, where I can see my enemies approach in their government cars.”

Page Number: 71
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Love Medicine LitChart as a printable PDF.
Love Medicine PDF

Nanapush Character Timeline in Love Medicine

The timeline below shows where the character Nanapush appears in Love Medicine. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Island
Native Culture, Assimilation, and Racism Theme Icon
Lulu Nanapush has never grown very far from her mother’s arms, and even when they sent her... (full context)
Tribal Connection and Family Ties Theme Icon
Native Culture, Assimilation, and Racism Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
...on the reservation, Lulu feels as if the government can no longer “cage” her. When Nanapush came to get Lulu, he brought along his wife, Margaret Kashpaw, the one they call... (full context)
Native Culture, Assimilation, and Racism Theme Icon
God and Religion  Theme Icon
Nanapush tells Lulu that he is old and will soon die. He “lost his spirit” years... (full context)
Native Culture, Assimilation, and Racism Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
...it; Marie is pale as can be. “She’s ugly,” Lulu cries. “White as a fish!” Nanapush tries to encourage Lulu to forget about Nector, claiming the entire Kashpaw family is “poison.” (full context)
Native Culture, Assimilation, and Racism Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Female Oppression and Strength  Theme Icon
In the spring, Rushes Bear comes back to Nanapush’s allotment and stays for quite some time. Her attitude is even worse than usual, and... (full context)
Tribal Connection and Family Ties Theme Icon
Native Culture, Assimilation, and Racism Theme Icon
...from when she was a child. He would come to the reservation and speak to Nanapush in the “old language.” Lulu knows, however, that Moses is off limits. He is too... (full context)
Native Culture, Assimilation, and Racism Theme Icon
One day, Lulu asks Nanapush to tell her about Moses, but Nanapush is reluctant. Lulu asks why she shouldn’t visit... (full context)