The Red Convertible Essay

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The Red Convertible by- Louise Erdrich, is a short story about two Indian brothers, Lyman and Henry, who buy a red convertible together. The story starts out with the brothers losing their jobs, and end up buying a convertible together. They spend the summer on a happy road trip, but the story soon turns into a tragedy. In the beginning of the story, the car symbolizes freedom. However, as the story progresses, the symbolism of the car changes. In the end, the car represents the life of the older brother Henry.

The story is told by Lyman, the younger brother. Him and his brother are native Americans living on a reservation during the time of the Vietnam war. Lyman and Henry have both lost their jobs, and on a whim, decide to buy a red convertible
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"We got home just in time, it turned out, for the army to remember Henry had signed up to join it." So Henry leaves to go fight in the Vietnam war. When he returns three years later, he's different, no longer happy and carefree. "But he was quiet, so quiet, and never comfortable sitting still anywhere but always up and moving around." The only time he wasn't jumpy, was when watching tv, but he was still on edge. "He sat in his chair gripping the armrests with all his might." In an attempt to distract Henry from his mental disturbances, Lyman destroys the car, "I took myself a hammer, I went out to that car and I did a number on it's underside." Henry spends a lot of time restoring the car. When finished, it appeared that Henry was better, he suggests going for a drive. "It's not that he smiled or anything, he just said 'Let's take that old shitbox for a spin.' Just the way he said it made me think he could be coming around." The car had then become a symbol of hope, hope that his brother could heal and return to the way he was before the war. "It's not that he smiled again or even joked, but his face looked to me as if it was clear, more

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