Symbolic Elements In The Red Convertible By Louise Erdrich

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Many times in writing authors will use symbolism so they can convey different aspects to the reader. Symbolic elements in writing could be anything from an object, a color, or even a person. In the short story “The Red Convertible” by Louise Erdrich, there is a great deal of symbolism. The story is about two brothers of Native American descent who live on a reserve in North Dakota. The two brothers buy a Red Oldsmobile with the money they earned from their jobs and go on many adventures together in the car. Throughout the story, Erdrich uses symbolism within many objects. Three major symbolic elements in the story are the Red convertible, the picture Bonita takes of the boys, and the repetition of the color Red.
The most obvious of the many symbolic elements the author uses is of course the Red convertible itself. The author uses the car to show the progression of Henry and Lyman’s relationships throughout the entirety of the story. When the two first purchase the convertible, it is nice, new, and fun, just like the bond between them.
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In literature the color red can symbolize many different things. It represents emotions such as anger and hostility as well as love. Interestingly enough, it can also be used to represent Native Americans hence the name of the National Football League team the Washington redskins. In the story, the color Red basically follows Henry around. The most obvious example of this is the car but there are many more. The people that Henry fought in the war were communists, which are associated with the color Red. Additionally, whenever the narrator is talking about the setting, he uses Red to describe it. One specific time in the story this is evident is when Lyman and Henry are watching TV and Lyman states: "I looked over, and he’d bitten through his lip. Blood was going down his chin” (Erdrich 244). Erdrich uses the color red to convey Henry’s actions throughout the

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