The Red Convertible

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Landon Mahan

English 1B


Brotherhood and “The Red Convertible”

Family is an essential part to the development of every human life. They are there for guidance, support, and most importantly love. The bond between brothers is a bond that cannot be forged. There are many types of relationships: Husband and wife; Father and son; Mother and daughter; but the bond between brothers is one like no other. In Louise Erdrich’s short story “The Red Convertible,” Lyman and Henry’s relationship will give readers the understanding that time, war, and death will change people, but the bonds of brotherhood cannot be broken.

At the center of “The Red Convertible” is the relationship between two brothers Lyman and Henry. Lyman is the narrator and the story is told from his point of view. Lyman is the younger of the two brothers and like all younger siblings, seemed to have it easier than the rest of the native boys on his reservation. Lyman was different and everyone knew it. Lyman was very smart, and when he saw an opportunity he took it. He was the only native boy that was allowed in the American Legion Hall to shine shoes; and at Christmas time he was allowed to sell spiritual bouquets, and the nuns would let him keep a percentage of his earnings. Lyman had a talent for making money; once he started making money it seemed to come easy. He worked in the Joliet café, as a dish washer. Not too long after, he was managing and “before long the whole thing was mine” (Erdhich, 812). He own the café until it was destroyed by a tornado, for which he had received a nice insurance settlement. However, his luck didn’t run out there. During the Vietnam War Lyman’s draft number was never called. He didn’t even worry about it.

Henry on the other hand was not so lucky. Unlike his brother, money was always an issue. Henry had held many jobs, and had been laid off a few times, but he definitely had to work very hard for what he had....
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