Please help me analyze the dynamic and static characters in chapter thirteen of Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

There are really only three characters in chapter thirteen of Louise Erdrich's Love Medicine: Nector Kashpaw, Marie Kashpaw, and Lipsha Morrissey. The only apparent dynamic character is Lipsha, the narrator of this chapter, though Marie undergoes a bit of change, as well.

Lipsha clearly undergoes several changes in the course of this chapter. At the beginning, Lipsha is quite proud of the fact that he has a "gift"; though he knows it cannot be used on his grandfather, his gift brings healing to many. After Nector dies, the gift is gone. 

Lipsha's relationship with Grandma Kashpaw undergoes a transformation, as well. At the beginning of the chapter, he tells us he got tired of continually thanking Marie for the great thing she did by adopting him and now he is "staying at her beck and call" just to make his life a little easier. He does love her, but it is partly obligation which motivates him. 

By the end of the chapter, however, he is moved by compassion. He tells her the lie (which neither of them believes) that Grandpa Kashpaw could not bear to leave earth without taking her with him. It is a lie, but it is a lie of compassion. This demonstrates a kind of maturity which both his grandfather's death and his own use of love medicine trickery have fostered.

Marie Kashpaw does not change much in this chapter: she is desperate for her husband's love at the beginning and she is equally desperate for it at the end. The one thing that does change is her relationship with Lipsha. When he reveals the truth about the turkey hearts, 

[s]he listened. I [Lipsha] knew from then on she would be listening to me the way I listened to her before.

The only one who does not change during this chapter is Nector Kashpaw--well, except that he dies. He is willful and foolish and does what he pleases (including having a rather blatant, long-term affair), and that is exactly how he dies. Marie wants him to do something he does not want to do (and who could blame him for not wanting to eat what he thought was a raw goose heart), and he refuses to do what she wants. 

The only possible aspect of change might be his descent (or choice, depending on whom you ask) into "second childhood." If the chapter were longer or he did not die, perhaps we would have seen his condition grow gradually worse; however, in this chapter, he stays static in this regard. 

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team