Love Medicine

Notions of Home in Love Medicine College

“‘Nothing?’ said Mama piercingly, ‘Nothing to come home to?’ She gave me a short glance full of meaning. I had, after all, come home, even husbandless, childless, driving a fall-apart car” (Erdrich, 13).

This moment from Louis Erdrich’s Love Medicine captures the life of Albertine Johnson in a memory after the death of her aunt, June, while she sits in a kitchen with her mother and aunt, Aurelia. Albertine, like many in her generation, has attempted to move away from the reservation, receive an education off the reservation, and sustain a means for living and new life among a more stereotypical American lifestyle – not that of a Chippewa Native American. Aurelia and Zelda, Albertine’s mother, debate as to why June was out in the middle of nowhere on the winter evening that she froze to death. They confront her death by searching for the why and the how behind it. Aurelia simply states that there is no reason that June should have been walking home, as life on the reservation held nothing for her. Offended by the implication that a life could be nonexistent without reciprocal love from a husband or great successes to share Zelda retorts with the simple question of “Nothing to come home to?” (Erdrich, 13). For her daughter has...

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