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Wild Hope: Love, Money and Mythic Identity in the Novels of Louise Erdrich1

Wild Hope: Love, Money and Mythic Identity in the Novels of Louise Erdrich1

Chapter:
(p.29) Chapter 2 Wild Hope: Love, Money and Mythic Identity in the Novels of Louise Erdrich1
Source:
American Mythologies
Author(s):
William Blazek
Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9780853237365.003.0003

This chapter examines Louise Erdrich's Love Medicine novels as chronicles that combine Ojibwe mythology and contemporary US culture in ways which reinvest a sense of mythic identity within a multicultural, postmodern America. It first considers how the critical emphasis on Native American elements in Erdrich's fiction has resulted in limited investigation of such features in her work as the impact of technology, corporate capitalism, and consumerism on modern US life. The chapter then applies close readings of The Bingo Palace and Tales of Burning Love to explore the themes of love and money in those novels. It suggests that a ‘wild hope’ of contingent promise underlies Erdrich's writing, a hope which depends on reconnecting the individual self to family, community, and myth.

Keywords:   Love Medicine, Ojibwe mythology, American culture, mythic identity, Native Americans, Bingo Palace, Burning Love

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