Love Medicine

Love Medicine


Louise Erdrich

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Love Medicine: The Beads Part 2 Summary & Analysis

Rushes Bear got her name because she once rushed a bear without a weapon. She charged it head-on and lived to tell the tale. Now, she is living with Marie and seems determined to make Marie miserable, just like she did to Lulu years earlier. Coming to her wits’ end, Marie kicks Rushes Bear out, but Rushes Bear has nowhere else to go.
The fact that Rushes Bear gets her name from actually rushing a bear is more evidence of the strength of women in the novel. Women are expected to be demure and timid, but Rushes Bear is tough, and she serves to disrupt popular stereotypes of women as weak; however, Rushes Bear is still vulnerable, as she relies on Marie and has nowhere else to go.
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Soon, Marie is pregnant again, but her labor is harder than ever before. Rushes Bear sits by her side as the pain progresses, and Nector insists they go to the hospital. Marie refuses, and Rushes Bear goes to get Fleur Pillager, Lulu Nanapush’s mother. Fleur and Rushes Bear see Marie through labor, speaking the “old language” to one another. Marie doesn’t know what they are saying, but she understands them completely. After a baby girl is born, Nector tries to give Fleur some money, but she leaves without it. He then tries to give it to Rushes Bear, but she won’t take it either. Nector reminds Rushes Bear that he is her son, but she says she doesn’t have a son anymore, only a daughter. “But she’s a Lazarre,” Nector says. “You shame me,” Rushes Bear replies.
Rushes Bear’s connection to Fleur Pillager again illustrates tribal connections beyond blood. Like Lulu, Marie finds comfort in their native language, even if she can’t speak it. Nector’s money is further evidence of assimilation, and he tries to pay Fleur, but she presumably has little need for a white man’s money. Nector still insults Marie for being a near-white Lazarre, but Rushes Bear has softened. Marie’s challenging labor has proved her strong in Rushes Bear’s eyes, and she respects Marie because of it. Rushes Bear’s claim that Nector has shamed her is a reference to his affair, and her refusal to recognize Nector as her son and her recognition of Marie as her daughter again implies that true family is more than just shared blood.
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