The Red Convertible by Louise Erdrich

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“The Red Convertible” by Louise Erdrich
Lyman is a young successful entrepreneur who is fortunate enough to not have ever experienced the horrors of battling in war. His brother on the other hand, Henry, is not so lucky and gets drafted into the military to fight in Vietnam. In “The Red Convertible” by Louise Erdrich describes the relationship between these two brothers and how the effects of war tore them apart. This red convertible is a car they shared together and it symbolizes their bond as brothers.

Before Henry is sent off to the war, he seems normal like every other guy. He and Lyman take long adventures in that red convertible. They don’t have a care in the world and they drive wherever their heart takes them. “Some people hang on to details when they travel, but we didn’t let them bother us and just lived our everyday lives here to there” (Schakel, 74). Lyman describes his brother as a fun, spontaneous guy who is always ready with a joke. However, that all changed when he came from the war. “He’d always had a joke, then, too, and now you couldn’t get him to laugh, or when he did it was more the sound of a man choking…”(Schakel, 76).

When Henry comes home from the war, the changes in his character are plain as day. He’s always so quiet and he can never sit still. His funny, carefree demeanor is replaced by this cold, jumpy, unfamiliar behavior. Lyman, out of concern for Henry, intentionally bangs up the red convertible in hopes of restoring his brother back to normal and Henry does begin to do a little better as he starts working on the car.

Once the car is fixed, Henry suggests they take it for a drive. Thinking that Henry is finally getting better, Lyman is sadly mistaken. They have a wonderful day hanging out and drinking by the river, just like they used to. Just before they head home, Henry decides to jump into the river and the current carries him away forever. Lyman tries to save him, but he fails miserably. Knowing that he will never...
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