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The Politics of Eros in Louise Erdrich’s Love Medicine: Focusing on Lulu and Marie

  • Cross-Cultural Studies
  • 2018, 51(), pp.45-71
  • DOI : 10.21049/ccs.2018.51..45
  • Publisher : Center for Cross Culture Studies
  • Research Area : Humanities > Literature
  • Received : May 10, 2018
  • Accepted : June 30, 2018
  • Published : June 30, 2018

Jin Man Jeong 1

1영남대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This essay explores Louise Erdrich’s politically resistant voice which interrogates and disrupts the long-lasting, pernicious misbelief about Native Americans as ‘vanishing people’. This essay chiefly focuses on the two female characters—Lulu Nanapush and Marie Lazarre Kashpaw—in the author’s widely acclaimed novel Love Medicine (1993). First, illustrating the Chippewas’ multifaceted resistances against white Americans’ colonialist dominance disclosed in their enforcement of governmental policy, law, religion, and culture, this essay investigates how Erdrich does not stop telling her story that the idea of ‘vanishing people’—another version of ‘Manifest Destiny’—is unfounded. Second, by referring to Freud’s and Marcuse’s speculation on ‘Eros’—the great unifying energy that preserves all life—as an alternative to the predicament caused by an oppressive civilization, this essay illuminates Erdrich’s vision of sustaining and regenerating the Chippewas’ tribal life and heritage that center on the embracing power of love reified in Lulu and Marie. Their undying energy consolidating their communal love and ties, despite the destructive, oppressive colonialist milieu inflicted on the Chippewa Indian reservation, sheds light on the author’s politics of ‘Eros’ predicated tightly upon her historical consciousness.

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