Analysis Of The Red Convertible By Louise Erdrich

Improved Essays
The Red Convertible

In the short story “ The Red Convertible," Louise Erdrich illustrates how brotherly love is transformed by the effects of war. The changes in Henry affect Henry’s characteristics, Lyman’s character and, Henry 's relationship with Lyman. Erdrich achieves this through the use of imagery, diction, and symbolism. Henry used to be childlike, caring, and spontaneous. This changes after he comes back a different person molded by the effects of war .“ Hop on in, says Henry. So she climbs in between us. We’ll take you home, I says… Okay, says Henry, and we drive.” Henry picks up a total stranger from the road and gives her ride in the convertible. He even agrees to take her to Alaska without hesitating. He didn 't think twice
…show more content…
“We had always been together before. Henry and Lyman. But he was such a loner now that I didn 't know how to take it”. The brother relationship Lyman and Henry once shared is broken by the changes in Henry. They don 't spend time and bond with each other like they used to, because Henry becomes a loner. “He rushed from his chair and shoved me out of the way, against the wall. I told myself he didn 't know what he was doing”. Henry becomes violent and assaults his brother. Lyman tried to convince himself that Henry didn 't know what he was doing. Henry and Lyman used to be close brothers, never attacked each other, lived in the moment, and shared a strong bond. Their relationship transitions into something they never thought possible. “ The car reposed, calm, and gleaming”. When the convertible is first bought the relationship between the brothers’ is easy going, live in the moment, with a strong bond. The red convertible itself undergoes through similar stages as Lyman and Henry’s relationship. It symbolizes their relationship from the beginning to end. When the convertible is not functional it symbolizes the brothers relationship after the war.“I took myself a hammer. I went out to that car and I did number on its underside. Whacked it up. Bent the tail pipe double… I made it look as bad as I could”. Lyman attempts to bring the old Henry back through the car. This symbolizes Lyman trying to save their relationship. Henry’s traumatic military experience transformed his characteristics and molded him into a different person. The effects of war not only impacted Henry, they also affected his brother Lyman, and their brotherly

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    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.…

    • 886 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    This story is meant to show the reader how tight bonds really are and how different objects and events can symbolize the bond. The bond in this story is the personal bond between brothers Lyman and Henry. The two brothers invested their money into an old red convertible car. By purchasing the car together, it is like two halves coming together to one piece and the beginning…

    • 1058 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The author writes, “Well I guess it’s none of my business” (126) … “Then I kept in constant touch with him and sent him whatever I could” (127). The reader begins to see a war of emotions taking place in the mind of the older brother. Though he doesn’t want Sonny to be his “business”, Sonny becomes his business because of the inherent brotherly love he has towards him. On the contrary, In the story of “The Red Convertible” Lyman, the younger brother takes on the role of being a guide to assist his older brother in overcome his suffering from PTHD. Though this may seem counter intuitive, d’Souza claims, “While older siblings compete with their younger ones for attention, the younger ones, imitate habits of the older ones leading…

    • 1052 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The Red Convertible Essay

    • 623 Words
    • 3 Pages

    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…

    • 623 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    A Broken Puzzle “Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change” (Shelley). The two stories “The Red Convertible” by Louise Erdrich and “The Brothers” by Lysley Tenorio demonstrates that a sudden change can turn a lifetime of memories into betrayals, In “The Red Convertible,” the brothers Henry and Lyman has a strong bond filled with amusement and adoration but disintegrates as a result of an unexpected event that happens to Henry. In comparison, in “The Brothers,” the brother Eric who later becomes Erica, reveals to the world on national television his change in identity. This event shocks his mother and brother Edmond, causing their familiarity to drift apart. Both stories share a similar obstacle that the brothers…

    • 1164 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    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.…

    • 1141 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Also, He was upset emotionally because he never had children. He was always disappointed because he never had the chance to become a father. This caused grief and emotional problems in his family life. McCullers says, “Then gradually as he sat there his thoughts turned to a picture that had been stored inside him.[...] Children were here whom he knew, Mick and his niece, Baby, and there were also strange faces no one had ever seen before.…

    • 1472 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Like Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby, a proclaimed millionaire with all the cars and speed he wants. He loves his cars and they show who this wild man is and what he wants. In the Red Convertible, Henry and Lyman both love the red convertible but over time and after the Vietnam War the car had a different affect on the Brothers. In Skunk Hour cars have a different meaning. It is a place to hide, watch, and creep.…

    • 1771 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    They don’t experience life but only war, they became known as part of the lost generation. There are three pieces of evidence, one including Paul and his generation being separated from the rest of society. The second being he has no mental stability and lost their innocence, lastly he is physical and emotionally wrecked. Paul and his generation feel separated from the rest of society. Paul feels as if he does not belong anymore.…

    • 540 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In the story “The Red Convertible” by Louise Erdrich we come across the question of why Lyman pushed this beloved car into the river. Lyman appears to have pushed the car because of the memories he recalled every time he looked at it. The memories of all the good times he had with Henry but also those of the bad, and of his last night with his brother. When Lyman and Henry first bought the car together they took a road trip that forged new memories full of laughs and happy times. One of the first things Lyman mentions was a place with willows where they laid down and slept while watching and listen to a nearby powwow (1074).…

    • 1015 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays