Love Medicine Summary and Analysis Chapters 2 - 3
by Louise Erdrich

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Summary and Analysis Chapters 2 - 3

New Characters
Sister Leopolda: A mean-spirited nun at the convent and Marie’s schoolteacher and nemesis.

Lulu Nanapush: Nector’s serious crush whom he is supposed to meet later that night and who later marries Henry Lamartine.

Chapter two begins with a flashback to 1934 when Marie, who is later to become Grandma Kashpaw, is ready to join the convent of the Sacred Heart. She is fourteen and wants to be a saint, and the convent is her only chance, as she sees it, of escaping the dreariness of reservation life. Her classes with Sister Leopolda have shown Marie that the Sister has an understanding of Satan that gives her purpose and meaning. Marie wants to defeat Sister Leopolda, and so she decides to reach heaven before the Sister. To do this, she walks up the hill to the convent to become a novice.

Sister Leopolda opens the kitchen door and lets Marie in, but when she does, she showers Marie with threats and intimidation. When a cup rolls beneath the hot wood oven, Sister Leopolda claims Satan has entered Marie and holds her down while she pours boiling water onto the young Marie. Marie prays.

After the pain has passed, Marie has a vision of her body turning to gold and her chest becoming encrusted with diamonds. The dream recurs as Sister Leopolda rubs salve onto the burn. The vision causes Marie to yell at the Sister about how the devil is in her, too, and she tries to run away. However, she is too caught up in the conflict to leave it unfinished. When Sister Leopolda returns to the kitchen, they begin to cook, but after a few moments, Marie tries to push the Sister into the oven. She fails, and Sister Leopolda stabs her in the hand with a fork and knocks her out with a blow from a poker.

When Marie wakes, she is swaddled in gauze and is being worshipped. The marks have been explained away as signs of stigmata, not abuse. Marie begins to delight in this lie, until she notices the defeated, whipped-dog look in Sister Leopolda’s eyes. Marie then begins to pity her abuser, and she knows that Sister Leopolda will leave the convent. Marie believes that Sister Leopolda fights Satan so fiercely because Satan loves her and therefore she must fight harder.

Chapter three continues with the flashback and is narrated by Nector. Nector and Eli go bird hunting together. Through his narrations, Nector's love of dancing and girls becomes obvious. While he is walking to the Sacred Heart Convent with the birds he has killed, he meets Lulu, a sexy girl he likes, and he runs into Marie Lazarre, who is barreling down the hill. He sees a Sacred Heart pillowcase wrapped around her arm and accuses her of stealing. She is a Lazarre, and the family has a reputation of being no-good drunks. In the ensuing fight, the little white girl almost defeats Nector, but he manages to pin her down with the help of the weight of the birds.

Marie laughs at Nector for wanting to return the pillowcase to the nuns, and while he is holding her down, she begins to writhe against him. They have sex while he holds her down, and although she instigates it and insults him afterwards, Nector fears how it would be perceived, since they are on an unsheltered hillside, in plain view. She laughs at him again, and he accuses her of forcing him to have sex with her. At that, she...

(The entire section is 911 words.)