Friday, December 4, 2015

Earworm:That song that gets stuck in your head

Q1:Connections – How did the piece of literature make you speculate about life or find a connection to another text or academic discipline? This can be personal and relate to your own life as well.

For some reason, parts of this book reminded me of the Half-Broke Horses by Jeanette Walls who also authored The Glass Castle. I recently read her most current book, The Silver Star which reminds me of Love Medicine as well. I guess it is the fact that both books deal with family and relationships. Or, maybe it is because both books have very familiar imagery.

“What I do know is that wondering why you survived don’t help you survive.” 

― Jeannette WallsThe Silver Star  

“Sometimes something catastrophic can occur in a split second that changes a person's life forever; other times one minor incident can lead to another and then another and another, eventually setting off just as big a change in a body's life.” 
― Jeannette WallsHalf Broke Horses


“You should never hate anyone, even your worst enemies. Everyone has something good about them. You have to find the redeeming quality and love the person for that.” 
― Jeannette WallsThe Glass Castle

“Society is like this card game here, cousin. We got dealt our hand before we were even born, and as we grow we have to play as best as we can.” 
― Louise ErdrichLove Medicine

Monday, November 30, 2015

Not a white walker

Q2: Picture or Word – Find a picture or a word that connects with the text. If it is a picture, paste it onto that page of your blog. Why does this fit with the text? Why did it stand out to you? Why is it important?

Even when it started to snow she did not lose her sense of direction. Her feet grew numb, but she did not worry about the distance. The heavy winds couldn’t blow her off course. She continued. Even when her heart clenched and her skin turned crackling cold it didn’t matter, because the pure and naked part of her went on.
The snow fell deeper that Easter than it had in forty years, but June walked over it like water and came home.

This quote describes a time when June is broke, drunk, and surviving by doing favors for men. Although she is tough and relentless like Jon Snow, she succumbs to her own vices, ignores the weather, and ends up freezing to death. Since this isn't in the Game of Thrones series, it is doubtful that June will become a white walker. This picture reflects the blizzard that overtakes June and it is also a reminder to heed Mother Nature's warnings whether they be about blizzards or the dangers of excess.

Welcome home Lulu

Q1:Setting and Mood – Describe a scene in which the setting and mood are particularly effective. What language made them effective? Be specific.

When I came back to the reservation after my long years gone, I saw the leaves of poplars applaud high in the wind. I saw the ducks barrel down, reaching the glitter of the slough water. Wind chopped the the clouds to rolls that rose and puffed whiter, whiter. Blue Juneberry, tough diamond willow. I watched my own face float over the grass, traveling alongside me in the dust of the bus window, and I grinned, showed my teeth. They could not cage me anymore.
This is from the chapter, "The Island" which is told from the point of view of Lulu Nanapush who is described as a strong but obstinate woman whose many affairs and political clashes with the tribal council make her something of an outcast. This quote reflects the setting of the reservation as Lulu returns. The beauty attributed to the landscape reflects Lulu's appreciation of the reservation and in a way her lust for Nector. There is a subtle strength underneath the beauty which mirrors Lulu's own strength. She is also a "tough diamond willow." As she returns to the reservation, she feels that she is no longer "caged" by the white man.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

No, it's not a Bon Jovi song

Q2:Surprised or Puzzled? – Is there something that surprises you does not appear to fit in the text? Explain why you feel this way. Discuss why something does not make sense to you or why your views might be different from the author’s intended purpose.

I am not yet sure exactly what love medicine is supposed to mean. It is briefly mentioned, but I am still confused as to why it is the title of the novel. Lulu asks her uncle how he has manages such a passionate relationship with her aunt even though they fight all of the time. She thinks it must be some kind of "magic."

"What's your love medicine," I asked Nanapush that evening, after I was allowed back inside. Rushes Bear had walked off, slower and more thoughtful as she moved down the hill, merely brushing the leaves out of her way. "She hates you but you drive her crazy." Then, Lipsha mentions the title again when she is trying to keep Nector away from Lulu. She says, "It hits me, anyway. Them geese, they mate for life. And I think to myself, just what if I went out and got a pair? And just what if I fed some part—say the goose heart—of the female to Grandma and Grandpa ate the other heart? Wouldn't that work? Maybe it's all invisible, and then maybe again it's magic. Love is a stony road." 

However, since Nector dies after choking on the heart, it seems that love medicine is not magic at all.

Choking on a turkey heart

Q1:Pick a quote – Why is it important? What does it add to the piece of literature? Why did it stand out to you? 

"She offered money, more money, until she offered so much that I had to forget my dignity. So I was paid by this woman a round two hundred dollars for standing stock still in a diaper. I could not believe it, later, when she showed me the picture. Plunge of the Brave, was the title of it. Later on, that picture would become famous. It would hang in the Bismarck state capitol. There I was, jumping off a cliff, naked of course, down into a rocky river. Certain death. Remember Custer’s saying? The only good Indian is a dead Indian? Well from my dealings with whites I would add to that quote: “The only interesting Indian is dead, or dying by falling backwards off a horse.” When I saw that the greater world was only interested in my doom, I went home…" Nector Kashpaw

This quote reflects not only young Nector's arrogance, but it also hihglights one of the themes: the clash of the past with the present as well as the impact of stereotyping of the Native American culture. Although he is an educated tribal leader, Nector is not a character who I respect. Since he was educated and had clout in the community, he could have been a much more influential character. However, he is a slave to his emotions and his lust for a former flame Lulu. He is the youngest son of Margaret (Rushes Bear) and Kashpaw. He is sent to government school and eventually marries Marie. She pushes him to be involved in tribal politics and he eventually becomes chairman of the tribe. He has a five-year affair with Lulu, during which they conceive a son, Lyman.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Brady Bunch Breakdown of Love Medicine

Q2: Characterization – Why is this character important? Are they the protagonist or antagonist? Why? What do they add to the text? Describe the character in detail.

This is the character chart for the novel. As you can see with multiple narrators, keeping up with the family tree and the connections between each character can be very confusing. Nector Kashpaw is the most recent character in my memory, I will start with him.
He is a self-described "good-looking boy, tall and slim, without a belly hanging in the way" who could "have the pick of girls" when he was a young man. However, his current marriage and the responsibilites of taking care of a very large family causes him to lose a little bit more of his swagger every year. He is an alcoholic and a philanderer who accidentally sets the house of his mistress on fire. While I feel a bit sorry for him (BAZINGA!), he is responsible for his own situation.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Why I chose this novel and what background information about the author is important

I chose this novel because we read an excerpt from her novel The Beet Queen at the beginning of the semester. This book was recommended by a fellow AP teacher as a very interesting read. I have always liked reading Sherman Alexie's work and I liked the excerpt from The Beet Queen, so I figured I would give this novel a try first.

Fast Facts about Louise Erdrich

  • A poet and novelist of Chippewa and German descent, Erdrich has become one of the most important authors writing Native American fiction in the late twentieth century.
  • "Louise Erdrich was born in Little Falls, Minnesota, across the Red River from Wahpeton, North Dakota, the small town that later served as a model for Erdrich's fictional town of Argus. Her father, Ralph Erdrich, was a German immigrant; her mother, Rita Journeau Erdrich, was a three-quarters Chippewa. Both her parents were employed by the Wahpeton Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding school. Louise grew up in Wahpeton, the oldest of seven children, and was exposed to the cultures of both her parents. Maintaining a close bond with her German Roman Catholic grandmother, she was also on familiar ground with her extended Chippewa family on the Turtle Mountain reservation. Her maternal grandfather was a tribal chairman there, and the North Dakota plains reservation eventually became the setting for much of Erdrich's fiction." "Biography" Native Americans: A Comprehensive History Ed. Harvey Markowitz., Inc. 9 Nov, 2015 
  • When asked if she had any superstitions, she responded: "I rarely step on sidewalk cracks. I don’t wear a watch. I touch my favorite tree before going on long trips. I say I love you as often as I can (to form a protective shield in fantasy). I write first drafts by hand. Never do I open an umbrella inside the house. I don’t predict wins or losses. I used to stand on a certain piece of rug if my brothers and husband were watching football and their team got in trouble—but now the luck went out of that rug. If a circle is involved, I try to go clockwise. If a line is involved, I try to go zigzag. I never toast with water." Charney, Noah. “The Daily Beast.” The Daily Beast. Newsweek/Daily Beast, n.d. Web. 9 Nov. 2015.
"Using seven narrators from three families, "Love Medicine" is a collective history of the speakers' interwoven loves and hates, tangled passions and dreams, overlapping longing and grief. Through lyrical language, vivid characterizations and freshly minted images, the narrative masterfully sustains the illusion of oral stories. Although several are told by an omniscient narrator, most unfold through the distinctive voices of the characters themselves." “Louise Erdrich Revisits The Complex World Of The Chippewa.” tribunedigital-chicagotribune. N.p., 1993. Web. 9 Nov. 2015.
    "The bookstore is called Birchbark Books. It is a little gem of a place, I think, put together with love and care. Once it was a dentist's office. My daughters and I passed the place and often fantasized about what a great bookstore it would make. Now here it is—a nonprofit independent bookstore. (Most independents are nonprofit anyway these days.) My daughters helped with the renovation and now work there on weekends. I have a great manager, Ray Burns, and we sell all sorts of Native art and jewelry as well as books. The store has its own confessional, which I found at a salvage warehouse. At last I can sit in the priest's box. I do most of the book-buying, and as a consequence I read a lot more contemporary fiction than I used to. In the last couple of weeks my favorite books have been Interpreter of Maladies, In America, Off Keck Road, Hummingbird House, The Name of the World, Lying Awake, and The Amazing Adventure of Kavalier & Clay. I like to review them for customers, local people. We sell a great deal of Sherman Alexie, Linda Hogan, and a wealth of Native children's books. Our specialty is Native Americana." “Online Interviews With Louise Erdrich.” Online Interviews with Louise Erdrich. Web. 9 Nov. 2015.