The Red Convertible By Louise Erdich: An Analysis

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Living as a human being has its challenges. Humans are constantly striving to find balance: balance between work and play, health and indulgence, happiness and sadness. Among these challenges, there is the aspect of identity. Who, a human might ask, am I? Individuality and community are two themes that define a person’s identity. Individuality is a person’s raw, true self-- it is what makes a person unique. However, individuals crave to belong to something. This something is community. Communities provide a space for individuals to come together with common interest, values, and beliefs. While the overall impact of community tends to be positive, it has its downfalls as well. The mindset of a group can be extremely limiting, nearly to the …show more content…
People all across the world are able to share and cultivate thoughts and ideas. They are given a creative platform to contribute art, writing, music, and so much more. Any question one might have can be answered in a second. They can connect to people thousands of miles away. The story “The Red Convertible” by Louise Erdich describes the tale of two brothers whose once close relationship is damaged after one of them is sent to the war. “I had been feeling down in the dumps about Henry around this time. We had always been together before. Henry and Lyman” (Erdich). Although there are other factors involved in the shift of Henry’s personality, readers may wonder, if the two had the ability to contact each other more efficiently than through letters, maybe their relationship wouldn’t have been so broken. Perhaps if Henry and Lyman were able to email each other on a regular basis, Henry wouldn’t have drifted so far. Using social media to connect to loved ones and contribute to communities positively makes online communities …show more content…
Communities don’t always have a common goal of compassion and cultivation. People with dark thoughts and malicious intentions flock to those who have similar ideas. Even those with helpful intentions can’t help but search for like-minded people. Psychologically, humans tend to gravitate towards people with similar mindsets. Based off of this psychology, the use of social media can become toxic. A false sense of community is created as people who may not even care for each other press “like” on their peers’ posts and affirm the sense of self one puts out to the media. The poem “The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot says, “And I have known the eyes already, known them all--/The eyes that fix you in in a formulated phrase,/And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,/When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall” (Eliot). This quote relates to the many eyes observing the online presence one displays to the world, as we metaphorically become pinned to the platforms of our choosing and everything we present is subject to the judgement of others. As the stanza continues, it adds, “Then how should I begin/To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and my ways?/And how should I presume?” (Eliot). Knowing there are scrutinizing eyes watching the content an individual exhibits to their community, it once again begs the question regarding identity: who is it that I should be? Not only do individuals shape a community, more so

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