Love Medicine

Love Medicine

by

Louise Erdrich

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Love Medicine: The Good Tears Part 2 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Lulu was not responsible for Nector losing his mind, regardless of what people said, and while she knew that Nector and his wife, Marie, lived at the senior facility, she did her best to avoid them. One day, Lulu inadvertently ran into Nector at the vending machines, but he didn’t seem to recognize her. “It’s me. Lulu,” she said, but he stared blankly, talking about peanut butter cups.
Lulu’s community is convinced she was responsible for Nector’s dementia as they are sure, like Lipsha, that she is some kind of Ojibwe witch who can cast spells and manipulate people’s minds. Lulu’s community believes she attacked Nector’s mind as punishment for breaking her heart.
Themes
Native Culture, Assimilation, and Racism Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Female Oppression and Strength  Theme Icon
All the time that Lulu had known Nector, all that mattered to him was his “greed.” Strangely, that is what Lulu loved most about him, and it wasn’t long before they were again embroiled in an affair. Lulu was in Grand Forks for an operation on her eyes when she heard about Nector’s death. After she heard the news, Lyman asked if Nector was his father, but then he said he didn’t want to know.
Lyman doesn’t want to know if Nector was his father because Lyman considers himself a Lamartine regardless of who his father is, which again implies that familial connections go way beyond blood ties. Nector’s “greed” is a reference to his selfish and undying love for Lulu, which she certainly feels for him as well.
Themes
Tribal Connection and Family Ties Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Lulu didn’t cry when Nector died, partly because nothing could be more painful than the day Lyman told her Henry, Jr. had been killed. Moses told her once that drowning was the worst death for a Chippewa because they never made it to the next life. People who drowned were destined to wander forever, broken with nowhere to go. Nector didn’t drown like Henry, but he did wander. Furthermore, Lulu didn’t cry because she was worried she would never stop.
This passage again refers to Lulu’s refusal to cry. Lulu doesn’t cry because she isn’t affected by the tragedies of her life; on the contrary, Lulu doesn’t cry because she is extremely affected by such tragedies. By not crying, Lulu, in a way, denies these tragedies so she can keep on living, just as she did by crying all her tears before reaching the residential school. This is further evidence of Lulu’s strength, both as a Native American and as a woman who has suffered pain and loss.
Themes
Native Culture, Assimilation, and Racism Theme Icon
Female Oppression and Strength  Theme Icon
Not long after his funeral, Nector came to visit Lulu. He slipped in the window like he used to, and even though Lulu couldn’t see him (she couldn’t see anything), she could smell him and felt the weight of him next to her in the bed.
Nector visits Lulu in death as just as he does Marie, yet Lulu did not partake in the love medicine, which further supports Lipsha’s theory that love, not magic, brings Nector back to them from the grave.
Themes
Love Theme Icon
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The next morning, Marie knocked on Lulu’s door. Lulu had applied for an aid to help with her eye drops, but when none were available, Marie herself volunteered. Lulu let her in and the two sat drinking coffee and listening to the radio. Lulu thanked Marie for offering to help her, but she told Marie that she had no regrets. “That’s all right,” Marie said. “Somebody had to put the tears into your eyes.”
Marie’s comment that she “had to put the tears into [Lula’s] eyes” implies that Marie’s friendship helps Lulu to cry and more freely admit her feelings instead of covering them up. Marie and Lulu are both incredibly strong women, but they also find comfort in leaning on each other.
Themes
Love Theme Icon
Female Oppression and Strength  Theme Icon