Character and Point of View in “The Red Convertible”
“The Red Convertible” is a short story by Louis Erdrich, in which two native American brothers named Marty and Henry decide to buy a red convertible Oldsmobile together. The two brothers spend much of the summer travelling around together in the car until the older brother, Stephan, is deployed to Vietnam. When Stephan returns, he is not the same and Marty tries desperately to recover their past relationship. The round, static, perseverant character of Marty in “The Red Convertible” is revealed through the first person point of view.
The younger brother in the story, Marty, is round and static. Throughout the entire story, the reader is given insight into Marty’s thoughts and feelings, such as, “I was sorry I’d ever bought it, though, because of Stephan, and I was also sorry I’d bought color” (Erdrich 5). Marty does not openly convey this statement to his family. Marty’s beliefs and values do not change over the course of the story. In the beginning he, “thought back to times we’d sat still for whole afternoons” (5) and in the end of the story he yells at Stephan, “wake up, wake up, wake up!” (8). This shows that at the end of the story, Marty wants things to be normal just like he did in the beginning of the story.
Marty’s perseverant nature influences the story because it shows how deeply he longs for his relationship with his brother to be normal again, and creates a sense of desperation. For example, Marty says, “One night Stephan was off somewhere. I took myself a hammer. I went out to that car and I did a number to its underside. Whacked it up” (6). This shows how much he is willing to do to make Stephan normal again despite Stephan’s serious condition. Also, when Marty says, “By the time I get out of the river, off the snag I pulled myself onto, the sun is down” it is implied that he tried to save Stephan from drowning, again showing how desperate Marty is to have his brother back.
Cited: Erdrich, Louise. The Red Convertible. Print.
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