Alcoholism in Love Medicine Essay

643 Words Nov 3rd, 2012 3 Pages
Jenn Baldwin
Alcohol: The Medicine of Love One object that repeatedly appears in the novel, Love Medicine, is alcohol. Many of the main characters exhibit traits of and struggle with alcoholism. A majority of the chapters in Love Medicine present scenes of characters drinking alcohol, whether it be in casual occasions or in more serious matters. It seems that these Native Americans in the novel treat drinking as a social and cultural activity, at first, but then it turns to an addiction and a serious problem for some of these characters. This presence of alcohol is an underlying factor that drives these main characters’ actions and ultimately determines the plot of the novel. I believe that the drive of alcohol and drunkenness
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He loses his way and, as can be seen in “Crown of Thorns,” goes crazy. Both remaining members of June’s small family exhibit alcoholic traits and drunkenness as a result of her death. To me, it seems ironic that the true reason for June’s death becomes the demise of the rest of her family after her death. I think that both loved June so much that there was no other way to cure their loss. In this way, alcohol functions as a “love medicine” differently because it is used to make King and Gordie feel better. Again, alcohol plays a huge role in the plot of the Kashpaw family and acts as a link between June, Gordie and King. Other characters abuse alcohol in other parts of the story. Nector Kashpaw, patriarch of the Kashpaw dynasty, uses alcohol to survive his marriage to Marie. This time, the alcohol is used to help cope with the lack of love Nector felt for Marie. Also, Henry Jr.,son of Lulu Lamartine, abuses alcohol after his service in the Vietnam war. It aids in his relations with Albertine Johnson and plays the role of “love medicine” by being the drive behind their sexual relations. I believe that the reoccurring role of alcohol in Love Medicine displays the reasoning behind Erdrich’s choice of title. It seems that the “love medicine” IS alcohol because it plays a huge role in many of the novel’s important relationships. Without the presence of alcohol and

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