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Critique Studies in Contemporary Fiction Vol 31 1Louise Erdrich s Love medicine Loving Over Time and DistanceLouise FlavinMany Native American novels deal with specific Indian American issues such as reservation life and the problems of relocation and termination Often the conflict in the novel arises out of the native American concern for connectedness with the land and the interrelatedness of all life When the Indian American moves off the reservation and begins life in a culture essentially different from his own the results can be disastrous The typical native American story has a homing plot In these stories the hero find fulfillment personal growth and value in returning home n finding himself in his cultural past among his own people To Indians tribe means family not just bloodlines but extended family clan community ceremonial exchanges with nature and an animate regard for all creation as sensible and powerfulLouise Erdrich s Love Medicine looks at Indian American reservation life in a less optimistic light In this novel the returning Indian finds that the tribe has disintegrated the past has been forgotten and the reservation lands no longer support a livelihood Leaving home is the road to fulfillment The story is at the same time one of disintegration and breaking connections and of bonding and restoration Presenting the story from so many different points of view suggests not tribal or family unity but separation and difference At the same time the points of view are unified around the subject of one family This accentuates the theme of the breakdown of relationships while showing the unique tie the family and reservation life have for these people The novel has no central conflict or protagonist Instead of a clearly defined conflict the novel portrays a variety of characters attempting to love and survive in a world where G-d and the government seem to have forsaken them Left to their own devices many of them - especially the men -
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