Edrich’s “Love Medicine” is an interesting story about a young Native American man with, what he refers to as, the touch. Lipsha, the young man, has the ability to heal people with his touch. Lipsha lives with his grandpa and grandma Kashpaw. His grandfather is slowly growing senile. In the process his grandfather has allowed the love between he and his wife to fade. Lipsha’s grandpa Kashpaw was seeing a woman named Lulu Lamartine. Lipsha described her as “a fixed up house with paint and picky fence. He described his grandma Kashpaw as “a house left to weather away in soft dirt. ”
One day, Lipsha followed his grandpa and Lamartine into a room and found them in a compromising situation; one grandma Kashpaw would not want to see. While they were together in the room (without having noticed Lipsha) Lamartine’s wig fell off. To me, the loss of Lamartine’s wig symbolizes the false reality of the relationship between grandpa Kashpaw and Lamartine. Lamartine’s wig covered the harsh truth of her bald head. With it she was attractive to Lipsha’s grandpa.
When she lost it in the heat of a passionate moment, she was the harsh reality she was trying to hide, and was no longer quite as attractive to grandpa Kashpaw. The false reality of Lamartine is that she is a beautiful, young woman. In actual reality she is “fixed up” an old woman. There was no true love between Lamartine and grandpa Kashpaw. Theirs was a relationship based purely on physical attraction, a relationship that is just as unstable as a wig. Grandma Kashpaw had tried to get Lipsha to put the touch on his grandfather’s mind.
Lipsha had trouble believing grandpa Kashpaw isn’t all there. He also did not know if he had the power to put the touch on someone’s mind, especially one as strong and powerful as his grandfather’s once was. At one time, Lipsha pretended to put the touch on grandpa Kashpaw, just to satisfy his grandma. But his grandpa looked over Lipsha’s shoulder and said, “Let’s pitch whoopee” to grandma Kashpaw. The whoopee comment made grandma Kashpaw terribly upset and she proceeded to yell at her husband. However, the one-sided argument got Lipsha off the hook for a while.
Lipsha and his grandma both knew grandpa Kashpaw’s behavior could not continue the way it was. Grandma Kashpaw, out of desperation, finally asked Lipsha to find and make a love medicine to heal her relationship with grandpa Kashpaw. Liphsa knew this was a dangerous thing to mess with. He knew that the wrong love medicine could mess up someone’s life forever. He thought about it for a while and finally decided he would make a love medicine, with geese. Liphsa knew that geese mate for life. He devised a plan to kill two geese who are mates, and serve his grandparents the geese’s hearts.
Lipsha’s geese hunting trip went terribly. He found two geese, aimed perfectly and missed. I believe this is also symbolic. Even though Lipsha knew his aim was perfect, the shot’s still missed the geese. It is a sign that Lipsha should not go through with his plan for making the love medicine. Lipsha decides against his better judgement to go to the store where he bought two dead, frozen geese. The next day Lipsha took the geese hearts to be blessed by the priest. When he arrived, the priest was too busy so he had to take the hearts to Sister Martin.
When the sister asked Lipsha why he needed the hearts blessed, he lied. It is because of these lies that Sister Martin misunderstand Lipsha and does not bless the geese hearts. These two situations are also symbolic of the idea that Lipsha is going down the wrong path. However, Lipsha does not connect any of these events. He wants his grandparents to be in love again so badly that he does not see the many reasons this love medicine wont work. On his way out of the church, Lipsha flicked some holy water on the hearts and blessed them himself.
When it comes time to eat hearts, grandma Kashpaw eats hers raw. Lipsha was worried that his grandpa wouldn’t eat the heart but his grandma took care of that. After both Lipsha’s grandparents ate the hearts, he got ready to come out of his hiding spot. Before he did he realized that his grandfather was not affected by the love medicine. He was still being sarcastic and bating grandma Kashpaw. She hit grandpa Kashpaw between the shoulder blades, and caused him to choke. He choked to death, but not just on a goose heart.
He choked on life. He gave up and passed on. Grandma Kashpaw and Lipsha passed out in the room while his grandpa passed. However both of them survived. About a week after grandpa Kashpaw’s funeral, grandma Kashpaw felt him in the living room. Lipsha stayed there all night waiting for his grandpa but he never came. In the morning Grandma Kashpaw told him why. Grandpa had been in her room; he had lain down next to her in bed. Lipsha laid back down on the couch after talking to his grandma and suddenly felt his grandpa’s presence.
He spoke to his grandpa and told him to go back with his own kind, and find Aunt June. Lipsha knew his grandpa didn’t mean any harm, that he was just lonely. So now he could rest. Lipsha regained his touch and even though he wouldn’t forgive himself for the love medicine. He was at peace. His grandfather was no longer causing problems, and was in a better place. By coming back to see her, grandpa Kashpaw helped grandma Kashpaw become happy. While none of them could turn back time and make things the same way they used to be, they could all be happy.