Theme Of Sonny's Blues And The Red Convertible

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“Sonny’s Blues” by James Baldwin and “The Red Convertible” by Louise Erdrich are two very different stories with differing themes, settings, characters, and summaries, however much of the symbolism that is portrayed through the two can be connected. While “Sonny’s Blues” discusses the struggles between a heroin user, Sonny, and his brother, “The Red Convertible” is a story about the shaky relationship between brothers Lyman and Henry. The obvious connection that is made relates to both sets of brothers that long for acceptance and approval of each other. Both stories show the importance of brotherhood and the lifelong bond that they desire. In James Baldwin’s story “Sonny’s Blues”, two brothers struggle to accept each other due to their differing …show more content…
This story begins with brothers Lyman and Henry buying a red convertible together to drive around the country and make memories. However, this changes when Henry is drafted to the Vietnam War. Henry returns from war very altered and not like Lyman remembered his brother being. “When he came home, though, Henry was very different, and I’ll say this: the change was no good.” (Erdrich 221). Lyman tries to mend their broken relationship by driving the red convertible everywhere together, much like they did in the past. Despite his best attempts, Lyman and Henry accept the fact that they will never be close again. The story ends with Henry drowning in the river and Lyman symbolically pushing the red convertible into the river after …show more content…
In the beginning of the story, the car is shiny and new with hopes of freedom for the boys. However as the story progresses, so does the status of the car. For example, when Henry is away at war, the car is abandoned. When Henry returns from war with extreme PTSD, Lyman messes up the car in hopes that Henry will fix it and their relationship will be rekindled, this symbolizes how messed up Henry is. When the story ends and Henry commits suicide by drowning in the river, symbolism is shown by Lyman pushing the red convertible in after Henry. This shows that everything they once had was lost and will never be gained back. Both “Sonny’s Blues” and “The Red Convertible” show brotherly relationships either through drug abuse or separation. There are many things that connect these stories such as both sets of brothers realizing the need for one another during separation such as when Sonny is in jail and when Henry goes off to the Vietnam War. They also showed the differing stages of closeness that the brothers faced and how they fought to overcome

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