Essay on Transformation in Louise Erdrich's The Red Convertible

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Transformation in Louise Erdrich's The Red Convertible

In Louise Erdrich's "The Red Convertible," the two main characters start off doing seemingly well. However, there are many changes that these two young men go through during the story. Henry experiences the largest transformation due to his involvement in the Vietnam War. This transformation also alters Henry's brother, Lyman, although not for the same reasons. As the story progresses, and these certain events take place, the brothers' innocence is soon lost.

Before the war, the Lamartine brothers, Henry and Lyman, are naive and carefree. They spend all of their time together. They even buy a car together. This red convertible is the most notable way that
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He says, "I always wondered what it was like to have long pretty hair" (462) while spinning around with Susy. This shows a completely different Henry than the one at the end of the story.

Shortly after arriving home, Henry gets ready to leave to join the Marines. Before he leaves, Henry tells his brother that the car is now completely his, although Lyman still considers it to be Henry's the entire time he is gone.

It is hard to say for sure what Henry experiences as a prisoner of war. However, from what general knowledge one has of the Vietnam War, it must be a truly terrible experience. When he comes back home there is definite change in how he acts. Henry is very quiet almost all of the time. He never sits in one place for very long, which is much different from his previous behavior. Prior to Henry going to Vietnam, he and his brother would sit still for long periods of time, entire afternoons, talking to people and watching things. But after returning home, Henry hardly ever laughs anymore, and when he does it is a most horrible sound. He can not even watch television without having flashbacks to the war. At one point, he bites through his lip, and as though he does not notice, Henry sits down to eat dinner, and "every time he took a bite of his bread his blood fell onto it until he was eating his own blood mixed in with the food" (464). Due to many of the

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