Psychological, cultural, and gender crises: perception of identity in Louise Erdrich's "Love Medicine"
Love Medicine emphasizes the significance of perception through a tripartite quest for identity: for psychological identity which involves the traditional exploration of self; for tribal identity which involves the exploration of the dualities of Chippewa and western culture; and for gender identity which involves the acceptance of male or female cultural behavior patterns. Success and survival require characters to weave together these three strands of identity. To the extent that the characters can see themselves clearly in each of these domains, they succeed. To the extent that they cannot, they fail. Of these three parts of the quest, that for gender identity appears to be paramount, pervading and even superseding the characters' psychological and tribal identity quests.