Love Medicine

The Native American Double Consciousness in Love Medicine College

Double consciousness is a term that was coined by W.E.B. Du Bois in The Souls of Black Folk. According to Du Bois, double consciousness is a “sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity” (2). While Du Bois is speaking specifically about African Americans, the term double consciousness may be used to describe the Native American dual identity that exists as a result of European influence. Like African Americans who exist as both Africans and Americans, Native Americans exist as both Natives and Americans, and these two identities are often at odds with one another because of conflicting cultural traditions and ideals. Du Bois writes, “One ever feels his twoness,—an American, a negro, two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder” (2). Like Du Bois, author Louise Erdrich discusses the dual identity that stems from being a minority in America in her novel Love Medicine. This collection of linked narratives explores the Native American double consciousness by highlighting the causes of this dual identity and the effects...

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