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Response to the Red Convertible

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Response to the Red Convertible
Okky Bellina Lie
Professor Robin Nealy
English 1302
31 May 2013
It’s Just Not the Same Anymore Almost everyone in this world has had to be apart from something, or someone, for a certain long period of time, at least some point in his or her life. Anyone that has to go through that would have the fear of change; the kind of change that most would not be happy with. In the short story The Red Convertible, written by Louise Erdrich, there were two brothers who went through the same problem. Henry and Lyman had a close brotherly bond relationship, going through adventures together with the car they bought with their money combined. One day, Henry got deployed to Vietnam. As soon as he came back, he was a changed man, inside and out. Henry only wore his worn out clothes, and military boots. He showed no interest to the car as well as to his brother. When both brothers put effort into repairing the relationships, relief was felt. However, at the end, Henry disappeared from the world in a split second, considering how much he’s faded away from his family. The strength of a relationship with a loved one would be tested through obstacles like the parting for a long period of time, the struggle and efforts put into fixing a relationship, and shown whether there is a happy ending or not. As mentioned in the story, Henry and Lyman are separated because of Henry’s departure to Vietnam for the war. I can relate since I was also separated from my older brother longs period of time. When I was three, my older brother Chayo had to attend a boarding school in Thailand, because the small town that I lived at in Vietnam did not have a decent high school. Chayo would visit occasionally, and still show love and care to me an older brother should to his little sister. Our age was so far apart, and we were both opposite genders, but the one thing we had in common was the passion for video games. It was what kept us having decent lasting conversations together. However, as the years passed by, with the number of visits becoming less and more spread out, both of us started to lose the connection any happy pair of siblings would wish for. The older my brother got, the more he got interested into video games, girls, and anything else that had nothing to do with me or my family, like he was in a whole other world. As Lyman said in the story, “you could hardly expect him to change for the better” (396). We also had nothing in common and spent no time together. Ever since the number of visits decreased dramatically, the environment when I am around Chayo never seemed the same, and would never return back to the original scene again, as how Lyman felt with his brother Henry, who had no interest in him, or his family. The commitment into trying to make a relationship better shows how much one cares for another. If only one does take part, most likely not much will happen; individuals would have to work on it. When Lyman tried everything he could to get Henry’s attention such as changing the quality of the TV, or the car, everything that happened was far from what he expected. However, when Henry started putting in time to fixing the car so they could go on their adventures again did in fact turn their relationship around once again. As soon as Henry and Lyman started to spend time with each other again, it was as if nothing had happened. Throughout the past few years of my life, I definitely had conflicts with my brother, considering how much change has occurred. We live under the same roof, which means that both of us have to work on keeping the house clean, and cooperate with each other’s lifestyle. One day we got into a fight because he got mad at me for washing a pan I was not supposed to wash. I thought of him as “jumpy and mean” like Lyman described his brother (396). Both of us were furious at each other, and did not want to listen to what one had to say. I put my efforts to explaining myself, stating that it was so we could keep the house like how we both agreed to. As soon as he took the time to calm and down and appreciate my efforts, he also explained why he got mad, saying it was because I would ruin the quality of the pan. Luckily, he also considered the fact that I obviously did not know. When both siblings look at each other’s side, and try to make efforts to improve the relationship one step at a time, it will definitely get better. Even with more than one fight very similar, our strength of the relationship grew stronger, and we were able to deal with them better as time went by. No matter how hard keeping the relationship strong was, we were able to go through it. As soon as Lyman lost his brother Henry when he jumped into the river, he knew he had to push the convertible in too. Lyman knew he would not be able to enjoy the car without Henry by his side. I can also relate to this relationship when my brother left this world too because of a car accident. As much as I love playing the game consoles, Playstation and Playstation 2, it is just not the same anymore without Chayo. The smiles that playing video games brought to us when we were children could never be brought back again after that tragic day. Like how Lyman had to make the convertible disappear from his life, I had to do the same with those consoles when my brother could not be here anymore. The enjoyment of the video games would not be the same without him. So putting away the consoles, is like erasing my brother from my life, which is what happened. When someone can slowly fade away from your family, we all afraid of not being able to do anything about it. Sometimes we all think that we can get through anything with the right strength. However, certain situations such as getting separated for quite some time may have a lot of effects, especially on a relationship. I went through the same feelings Lyman had when his brother came back. I was not able to accept the changes, but no matter how much I tried, nothing seemed to go my way. With the amount of frustration I had, I tried to get Chayo’s attention by purchasing another game that would’ve brought some interest to him. I got the opposite reaction I expected, and he just didn’t seem to appreciate the time I put into getting both of us to work out again, just how Henry did not like the changes the car went through because of Lyman. In comparison, both the short story, and the situation I went through with my brother, have the siblings put both their efforts into the relationship eventually, and once again, the happiness comes back. Sadly, in both situations, one is not in this life long enough and had to leave this world. Lyman and I both cannot stand the thought of enjoying the activities done with the older brother, without them there, because it just would not feel right having fun with the red convertible, or game consoles, without them. Both of us showed how much we loved our brothers by not being entertained by the objects we both attained together, since they are not present anymore.

Works Cited
McMahan, Elizabeth, Susan X. Day, and Robert Funk. Literature and the Writing Process. 9th ed. Prentice Hall: Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2007. Print.

Cited: McMahan, Elizabeth, Susan X. Day, and Robert Funk.  Literature and the Writing Process.  9th ed.  Prentice Hall:  Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2007. Print.

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