Love Medicine

Love Medicine Summary and Analysis of Chapter 3: Wild Geese


This story takes place in 1934 and is narrated by Nector Kashpaw, whom we already know as Grandpa Kashpaw from the first chapter - Eli's senile brother. In this chapter, Nector is a fit and attractive young man. One Friday evening in the summer, he is walking to town to sell two geese that he and Eli caught. He is also thinking about his crush, Lulu Nanapush: he has planned for an encounter with her that night. Suddenly, he sees Marie Lazarre running down the hill from the convent. When he sees her hand wrapped in Sacred Heart Convent linen, he assumes that she has been stealing and may be carrying valuables. He intends to bring her to the convent and claim a reward.

Marie and Nector begin a physical fight and end up rolling around on the ground and exchanging insults and blows. Nestor realizes that he is in a sexual situation. He begins to touch Marie and realizes that he is attracted to her in spite of his crush on Lulu. When he gets up, he discovers that he and Marie have been in sight of the convent the whole time, and Marie says that she knew this and wanted the nuns to see. Nestor notices, after Marie drops the pillowcase, that Marie's hand is injured. He is overcome with sudden empathy for her. They stand together as the sun sets and he gently holds her injured hand.



This very short chapter tells the story of how Nector and Marie became attracted to each other. At the beginning of the chapter, Nector thinks about how attracted he is to Lulu Nanapush, yet he quickly forgets his attraction to her when he and Marie have an altercation with that quickly becomes erotic. The reader already knows that Nector and Marie will be married in the future and will be together for a long time.

Nature imagery is prevalent: Marie and Nector have their encounter in the open, in the middle of the road. Nector carries two dead geese the entire time and uses their weight to pin Marie to the ground. At the end of the chapter, he offers her the geese. In addition, Marie is often described with nature imagery: she is "pale as birch" ("the kind of tree that doubles back and springs up, whips singing"), has eyes like "a wounded mink's," and caws "like a crow."

This imagery of the natural world serves to situate Nector and Marie's love story in a broader context. While the relationship initially seems superficial, since Nector forgets his crush on Lulu so quickly, the nature language used to describe the situation shows how closely Nector is actually paying attention to Marie. Perhaps, as the delicate language indicates, this is a deep primal love that will transcend initial lust.