A Comparison Between The Way to Rainy Mountain and Love Medicine

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In the novels Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich and The Way to Rainy Mountain by N. Scott Momaday, the reader gains views of Native American culture, both past and present, through two disparate means of delivery. Both authors provide immensely rich portrayals through varying literary devices in efforts to bring about a better understanding of problems contemporary Native Americans face, especially regarding their own self-identity.

The story of Love Medicine revolves around a central character, June Kashpaw, and the many threads of relationships surrounding her, both near the time of her death, and in what has gone on before. The novel is an exploration of a family web that June was a key component of. Her character is a pivot point
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Complications of plot are sparse, but are evident in an episodic fashion, as each small episode has its own complexion and related complication that normally resolved within itself. In this regard of episodic plots, the technique is similar to Love Medicine.

Erdrich appears to have a series of plots, or "plots within plots" in Love Medicine, At times, it is difficult to anticipate where a plot exists until it becomes apparent in its crisis resolution. Again, much like Momaday's work, the plots are episodic--the different stories are interconnected and feed into one another, but are capable of standing alone withy their own plots. Erdrich makes heavy use of the characters themselves to advance the plot for each episode, and in inter-relation between each episode., whereas Momaday relies more on past story as a guide to present context.

Characterization is the strength of Love Medicine. The humorous, but tragic, exploits of eccentric characters are extremely vivid in her story, and force a constant chnage of viewpoint for the reader as more aspects of characters are revealed. The characters in this novel are a woven pattern of intricacy possibly far surpassing the reader's ability, and especially surpassing the characters themselves. This may be by design, as those things unresolved and disjointed by the end of the story can promote an incomplete and unsettled set of emotions
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