Lipsha's Voice Essay

Denise Cruz Ms. Bonadies Eng 106 August 10, 2010 Louise Erdrich, author of Love Medicine, wrote a book on the average life of a modern American Indian living on a reservation. Lipsha Morrissey, the main character and also the narrator, is a young American Indian man who was raised by his adoptive grandparents on a reservation. Although he is in his early twenties, Lipsha depicts certain characteristics of a young child. At times he can be perceived as naive and uneducated; however, some characteristics portray a much older man such as his insightfulness, caring and poetic nature.

Through his journey in Love Medicine, he discovers that rituals and religion may or may not be powerful; however, true power lies in the mind of the victim. Lipsha learns that faith in the cure is more potent than the cure itself. In Love Medicine Lipsha is taken in by his grandparents after his mother tried to “tie me in a potato sack and throw me in a slough” (327) says Lipsha. He grows up being eternally grateful for their kindness and in return he cares for them in the adulthood.

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He loved them both as if they were his own parents; which is why he felt he had to do something when Grandpa and Grandma Kashpaw were in trouble. Grandpa Kashpaw had recently been diagnosed with a form of diabetic dementia which Lipsha so commonly refers to as “his second childhood”. In this very vulnerable state of mind, Grandpa Kashpaw is seduced by Lulu Lamartine with her charm, but more importantly her candy. Grandma Kashpaw, who still loves her husband very much, was devastated and Lipsha thought it was his duty to set things right again.

This is when the love potion I introduced; it is implied that this love medicine will keep Grandpa Kashpaw from going astray and essentially, let their love last forever. And so Lipsha goes out on the hunt for an appropriate medicine for the elderly pair. He eventually comes across a pair of geese, which mate for life, and though he tries hard, he fails to capture them. Lipsha then takes “an evil shortcut” and buys the heart of two frozen geese to feed to Grandma and Grandpa Kashpaw. In the end, Grandpa Kashpaw hokes on the goose heart, causing Lipsha to believe that his shortcut was the reasons for his death, and Grandma Kashpaw is left alone, with no one except Lipsha. Ultimately Lipsha tells his grandmother the truth about the geese and he is convinced that his grandfather is watching over him. This short story can be considered a drama or in-depth development of realistic characters dealing with emotional themes such as religion, society, One of Lipsha’s first characteristics presented is his lack of education.

Though he may or may not have had a formal education, it is obvious that his use of verbs, among other things, is elementary at best. “As for him, if it was just the thoughts there wouldn’t be no problem” says Lipsha about Grandpa Kashpaw. “And you got no more whoopee to pitch anymore anyhow! ” says Grandma Kashpaw. As a reader we can tell that Lipsha was born into a less than educated household, and that what he learned came from his grandparents. We can tell from reading this story that Lipsha has a very poetic train of thought.

As mentioned above, Lipsha has a very poetic nature; one that allowed him to accurately convey the theme of this story. He finally understood that whether or not the love medicine was real, love knew no bounds in and of itself. “He loved you over time and distance, but he went off so quick he never got the chance to tell you how he loves you, how he doesn’t blame you, how he understands. ” Lipsha tries to explain to his grandmother what he recently discovered, that love, though fragile, is so strong it travels through time and distance. Love: a globe of frail seeds that’s indestructible.


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