Essay about Sympathy for the Devil

645 Words Jan 15th, 2011 3 Pages
Sympathy for the Devil

The devil wails up from the toe of an overboot stashed deep in a dark closet, or does he? High up on the prairie hill do the nuns lambaste the young girls because of the darkness of the devil within them or because the children are displaying the last vestiges of their Native American heritage? In Louise Erdrich’s Love Medicine, Marie Lazarre is forced to confront a meeting of two cultures. What the reader initially sees as a struggle between good and evil transforms into a battle between religion and heritage. Marie enters the convent knowing of the “darkness” inside her, yet in her naiveté and ignorance “the length of the sky…pure and wide” (43) do not allow her to realize the implications of her inner
…show more content…
The devil “brooding …trying to get [Marie] back” (51) is not within Marie’s clumsy hand and the cup that she dropped, but instead is in the force that denies Marie the freedom of her own native religion. The scalding water poured on Marie’s back to “boil him [the devil] from her mind” (53) is a satanic test of Marie’s strength and devotion to her true religion, a test performed by a wolf in sheep’s clothing – the devil disguised as a follower of God. Marie is tested by the devil repeatedly, only to reveal each time that Marie’s spirit and heritage can not be broken. Just as Christ is tempted by the devil during his forty days in the desert, Marie is scalded with water and pieced with a baking fork, but through these tribulations Marie rises above the evil that surrounds her. Yet Marie’s stigmata are not a symbol of Christ’s resurrection but a representation of the death and rebirth of her faith in herself and her heritage. The wind that swept the Great Plains full of European ways can not fully annihilate the presence of the Native American people. Despite the dilapidated trailers that these once proud people now inhabit and the barren and bleak land given to them as repentance for the atrocities done against them, nothing can break the spirit and power within the Native Americans. Christianity attempts to lock away the customs and traditions created over thousands of years,

Related Documents