In Louise Edrich’s short essay, “The Red Convertible,” she exposes the horror of the war that impose on the relationship of the two brothers, Henry and Lyman. Edrich uses symbolism to reveal the struggle and hardship Henry brings home from the war of Vietnam. She also shows Lyman’s difficulties while separating from his brother and his attempt to build the close relationship between them. She uses pathos in this short story to describe the theme of emotional disorder that a soldier faces after a war. Erdrich’s main purpose in “ The Red Convertible” is soldiers although look strong and heroic from outside but inside they are also human beings with emotions. She is communicating the emotional difficulty the war creates for a soldier and his relationship through symbolism.
Throughout the story, Erdrich uses the red convertible as a symbol of Henry’s and Lyman’s relationship. In the beginning of the story, Henry and Lyman buy the convertible and travel around the continent together. This shows the time when they had a close relationship. Then, Henry goes off to war and the relationship changes as they hardly come in contact. When Henry returns from the war he becomes a changed man and loses his usual interest in the convertible, as well as in Lyman. In return, Lyman bangs the car up as his feelings get hurt. The car shows the broken relationship he feels between his brother and him. When Henry sees the broken car and realizes his damaged relationship with Lyman, he tells Lyman, “When I left, that car was running like a watch. Now I don’t even know I can get it to start again, let alone get it anywhere near its old condition” (Erdrich 114). Henry tells what condition the car was before he left for Vietnam and expresses his concerns for bringing it back to its old condition. Erdrich uses symbolism here to express the concerns that soldiers have regarding the future of their relationships after war. Then, Henry starts fixing the convertible