English 160 – 02/22/2012
A Close Reading of a Paragraph from Louise Erdrich “Love Medicine”
 I couldn’t do the touch for Grandpa, though.  He was a hard nut.  You know, some people fall right through the hole in their lives.  It’s invisible, but they come to it after time, never knowing where.  There is this woman here, Lulu Lamartine, who always had a thing for Grandpa.  She loved him since she was a girl and always said he was a genius.  Now she says that his mind got so full it exploded.
This paragraph from Louise Erdrich “Love Medicine” appears in the beginning of the story. It is part of the introduction; readers learn about the narrator’s special power in the previous paragraph (p. 2) when he says, “…because I got the touch. It’s a thing you got to be born with”. Then it is in the first sentence of the third paragraph that readers become aware that he “couldn’t do the touch for Grandpa”. The narrator’s ability to heal others with his ‘touch’ didn’t work for his own Grandpa. Initially, Lipshaw did not want to put the touch on his Grandpa, but did it out of respect for his Grandma “soon after he began stepping out” (p. 8). This idea of gratitude is expressed right in the first paragraph; Lipshaw was found in a slough and was rescued by his Grandma when he was a child, who adopts him. He became very grateful to his Grandma and let us know he “would do anything for Grandma”. The grandma holds this over his head whenever she needs help from him. Grandma wanted the touch put on her husband so he would stop stepping out to be with Lamartine, to bring her the love she never experienced with him. Grandma believes Grandpa didn’t love her because he had Lamartine in his life.
The second sentence compares Grandpa with a hard nut, referring to his stubborn, yet very intelligent mind, therefore, as Lipshaw says, “I couldn’t see my way clear to putting the direct touch on Grandpa’s mind” (p. 32). This sentence also anticipates the idea of...