A significant conflict from the Love Medicine chapter “The Beads” involves Marie Kashpaw and June Morrissey.
The conflict between Marie and June starts in the first sentence of the section. “I didn’t want June Morrissey when they first brought her to my house,” declares Marie. She already has enough on her plate to deal with—a philandering husband, an antagonistic mother-in-law, and her biological kids. The conflict between the two characters escalates when Gordie and Aurelia try to hang June and Marie interferes. “You damn old bitch,” snaps June. Her language pushes Marie to grab her and wash her mouth out with soap. In a sense, this conflict centers on how much alike the two characters are. “Brave as me, that was June,” admits Marie.
Another conflict involves Rushes Bear—the mother of Marie’s husband, Nector. Rushes Bear is critical of Marie and the life she’s made for herself and her family. “She hated all she saw and all we did,” says Marie. Rushes Bear escalates the conflict by throwing pots and hitting the walls when she visits. However, the conflict between the two characters deescalates when Rushes Bear rejects Nector’s money.