Analysis Of Louis Erdrich's The Red Convertible

1431 Words 6 Pages
Throughout history, Native Americans have been oppressed and victimized. European men invaded their country, bringing with them their culture and their dreams. As a result the Europeans forced their cultures and dreams onto the Native Americans, making their old dreams into the American dream. This same kind of oppression is seen in Louis Erdrich’s, “The Red Convertible” where two brothers face the reality of Native American status. Erdrich uses the car to represent the boy’s freedom and independence and also the linking between the car’s condition and Henry’s mentality. Using Lyman as the narrator of the story provided insight on the point of view of Native Americans throughout the road trip to Alaska, but when the brothers return home from …show more content…
Though out the story the car takes on different conditions and so does Henry’s personality. In the beginning of the story when they first bought the car, they described it as calm and gleaming. Henry was also living the calm, worriless life . They drove the car everywhere with the top down, which illustrated that Henry was content and full of life. When Henry went off to war Lyman, “had it up on blocks in the yard or half taken apart,” in order for it to be in mint condition for when he got back (3). The car being sent to the yard was symbolizing Henry being sent off to war. If Lyman didn’t see his brother he didn’t want to see the car either. When Henry returned after three years in the war he was a different person. Lyman saw this and described Henry as, “quiet, so quiet, and never comfortable sitting still anywhere…Henry was jumpy and mean” (3). In an effort to pull henry out of this mood Lyman, “went out to that car and did a number on its underside. Whacked it up” (4). Henry was broken after he came home from the war and now so was the car. In the end of the story there was no saving Henry’s mind so he committed suicide in the river and Lyman sent the car in right after him. The car, which was his carefree, joyful life was gone. Henry continued to bear it, to live it and suffer after he came home and knew the American dream didn’t apply to him. Henry’s PTSD is an …show more content…
The two Native American brothers got to experience that first hand when their freedom and independence got ripped away. Louis Erdrich used the car to both symbolize freedom and Henry’s battle in his mind. She also helped the reader understand their dreams compared to the American dream by using first person point of view to understand the importance of their road trip to Alaska, and the reason behind the car and Henry being sacrificed. Native Americans fought for freedom in war but still are not equal. They are not included in the American dream, They are just one of the many people all around the world that dedicate their lives to make a the American dream a reality, but in all honesty will die

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