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"The Red Convertible" by Louse Erdrich.

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"The Red Convertible" by Louse Erdrich.

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  • March 22, 2006
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When a reader hears the title, "The Red Convertible", he/she thinks; summer, road trips, and driving fast on the open roads. However, this is the story about a man that is mentally damaged by the events of the war, and also how it effects his whole family. Henry was a happy, loving, and sane man before being drafted, but when he came back he was a completely different person. The war effected Henry in a way that many of our soldiers were effected and it went a lot deeper then medicine can go. The red in "The Red Convertible" is directly related to the blood, violence, and despair that caused Henry to take his own life.

Henry had many obstacles that he never seemed able to overcome. The transition from the army life back into the house hold life was very hard. It seemed as if Henry forgot how to be himself and was transformed into someone else during the war. The only things that Henry could accomplish were watching TV and working on the convertible. Even watching TV got dangerous, "Once I was in the room watching TV with Henry and I heard his teeth click at something. I looked over, and he'd bitten through his lip." Henry was very tense ever since returning home from the war. The memories of the war were stuck into his head. Henry can not get out of the war even when returning home. His illness is mental and there isn't a drug to cure it. Henry's battles against his own mind is the real cause of his death. Suicide allowed Henry to become himself again and overcome his obstacles.

Louse Erdrich explains that Henry suffers from a illness that is mental rather than physical. Henry's mother is aware of this when she says, "They don't fix them in those places, they just give them drugs." Many Native Americans used herbal remedies as medication. In Henry's case, it is was precisely what he needed. In the 1960's, when the Vietnam War was taking place, the consent of doctors was that if drugs couldn't heal a person then they were crazy. Henry was not crazy, but just...