Love Medicine Questions and Answers
by Louise Erdrich

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How can we describe the family influence in Love Medicine?

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Louise Erdrich’s debut novel, Love Medicine, tells the story of five Native American families living on reservations in North Dakota and Minnesota. Each chapter switches point of view, and different characters serve as the narrator at different points. The five families are interconnected and the narrative spans the 1930s to the 1980s.

The influence of family is saturated throughout the narrative and is essential to understanding the key themes of the novel. One key theme is the idea of Native American identity. Native Americans often face issues of identity, and this dynamic is specifically important to those with mixed-blood heritage, as Erdrich has spoken about previously. Many of the plot points within the narrative mirror Native American cultural motifs, which reinforced the theme of cultural identity.

There is also an interesting connection between the idea of family and the idea of home. Native Americans on reservations were forced to give up their original and ancestral...

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