Love Medicine

Love Medicine

by

Louise Erdrich

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June’s Rosary Symbol Analysis

June’s Rosary Symbol Icon

After June’s mother dies, she arrives on Marie’s doorstep with no possessions, save for the clothes on her back and a rosary around her neck, which symbolizes Marie’s connection to June as well as Marie’s modified approach to religion and the presence of Christianity in their Native lives and experiences. June’s rosary is evidence of white, European culture and the assimilation of Native Americans to that culture. Westward expansion and residential schools have brought Christianity to the Native Americans, and Erdrich implies this influence is impossible to avoid. Marie takes June’s rosary from her neck and places it in a lard can in her kitchen. While Marie doesn’t pray in a traditional way, she occasionally puts her hand into the lard can and touches the rosary, in a sort of “secret” prayer.

On the day that June tells Marie she would rather live with Eli, Marie tells her that she is welcome to go, but as she does, Marie reaches her hand into the lard can and touches the rosary. By touching the rosary, Marie offers up a silent prayer for June, whom Marie loves more than even her own children, to stay with her, but, of course, she doesn’t. Later, after Nector dies and Lipsha, June’s biological son, is beginning to discover his identity, Marie gives Lipsha June’s rosary, which she has quietly kept in the lard can for decades. In giving June’s rosary to Lipsha, Marie finally gives Lipsha his own connection to June, after lying to him for so long about his biological mother and her intentions in leaving him.

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June’s Rosary Symbol Timeline in Love Medicine

The timeline below shows where the symbol June’s Rosary appears in Love Medicine. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Beads Part 1
Tribal Connection and Family Ties Theme Icon
God and Religion  Theme Icon
...on only pine sap. Marie looks at the girl and notices that she has a rosary around her neck. She doesn’t want June because she can’t feed the children she already... (full context)
Tribal Connection and Family Ties Theme Icon
God and Religion  Theme Icon
...to go, and then she reaches silently into the lard can, where she keeps June’s rosary beads hidden. Marie touches the beads without removing them. Marie never prays and only goes... (full context)
Love Medicine
Tribal Connection and Family Ties Theme Icon
God and Religion  Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
...room, and he decides to go in. Marie is sitting on her bed holding a rosary in her hands. Marie tells Lipsha that Nector isn’t gone yet. She says that she... (full context)
Tribal Connection and Family Ties Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
...dead. Marie tells Lipsha that he has always been her favorite, and then places the rosary in his hand. (full context)