Does the touch or love medicine in 'Love Medicine' truly work, or is it merely a psychological effect?

I think that it works for Marie in her head but in reality Nectar is dead and gone and same thing with Lyman trying to get his old Henry Jr. back and Henry Jr. ended up dead.

Expert Answers

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

One of the themes of the novel is the idea that the old ways are nearly forgotten and need to be remembered and brought back. But it is belief in these old ways that still gives them power and value. Many of the younger generation are ignorant of the old ways. When Lipsha tries to reunite his grandparents he wants to use traditional "love medicine" but he takes a lazy shortcut by using frozen goosehearts, instead of finding two geese who have mated for life and using their hearts. Part of the "magic" in the love medicine is in finding these geese who are mates and sacrificing them and honoring them. Lipsha knows it is wrong to take this short cut, and when the love medicine does not appear to be successful, he blames himself. So this suggests that his own belief in the power of the love medicine is just as important as the love medicine itself.

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