Does Lipsha die at the end of Louise Erdrich's The Bingo Palace?

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Bingo Palace is the fourth in a series of novels  by Louise Erdrich about the life of several members of the Chippewa tribe related to one another by shared lineage. The protagonist of the novel is Lipsha Morrissey, and much of the novel's plot revolves around his efforts to negotiate between his Native American spiritual heritage, his love for Shawnee, the white world, and his own restless nature.

Gerry Nanapush is Lulu Lamartine's son and Lipsha Morrissey's father. He is an Indian activist, frequently jailed but skilled at escaping from prison. Towards the end of the novel, Lipsha goes to Fargo, North Dakota to help his father who escaped from prison during a transfer. As they are driving in a blizzard, a vision of June Morrissey, Gerry's wife and Lipsha's mother appears. Gerry leaves the white car to follow June and Lipsha stays behind to save the baby they found found in the truck. It does appear that Lipsha dies in the snowstorm, but the chapter has a visionary tone, and it is difficult to tell what is vision and what is reality.

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