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The red convertible short story research essay

“The Reddish Convertible” by Louise Erdrich is a short story regarding two Indigenous American brothers, Lyman and Henry, and the growing bond as brothers. Symbolism is used rather heavily in this story. One of the main symbols of the story, as noted in the subject, is the crimson convertible. The red transformable symbolizes the partnership status of the two friends, and the struggles they encounter as Henry is drafted into the Vietnam War as well as when he returns home.

In the beginning of the story, Lyman and Henry go in together and buy a red Oldsmobile convertible.

In the beginning the problem of the transformable was great. Although the account never clearly stated whether or not the car was brand new or not, the brothers drove the vehicle on a summer car ride all over the country which includes Alaska and back. “We’d made many of the trip, that summer time, without placing up the car hood at all. We got home just in time.

” (Erdrich 327) Besides this verse show the state of the car being very well, but the relationship between Lyman and Henry being strong as well. Throughout the whole road trip the siblings were incredibly content with each other. They ceased and loved their independence on the highway at every chance they acquired, and loved every minute of the trip collectively as brothers.

The next section of the story explains the time that Henry was away at war. Henry was drafted into the Vietnam Battle and was held as a prisoner of war for 3 years. During this time Lyman wrote many letters to Henry overseas, yet Lyman just received 2 letters from him. In the meantime the vehicle was described to be “…up on blocks in the yard or half taken apart…” (Erdrich 327). This indicates that their brotherly bond was on hold or at a standstill at the second. The fact the car was described as “half taken apart” (Erdrich 327) indicates that the relationship between two may need some function.

When Henry returned house from the war, Lyman acquired the reddish colored convertible fixed up to tip-top shape as if to say that Lyman had thought once Henry go back home their relationship would be just the way they got left it. Lyman soon realized he was wrong. The conflict had ripped Henry to the point that he would stare lifelessly at a television screen for hours on end. He had not said more than a few words to Lyman for some time. Angered, Lyman purposefully damages the red descapotable to get the interest of his sibling. The destroying of the car represents the anger sensed by Lyman the fact that relationship along with his brother had been destroyed by the war. By destroying the car, Lyman is metaphorically changing the condition of the red convertible to match that of their brotherly bond. “Now I don’t also know if I can get it to start again, not to mention get it anywhere near their old condition. ” (Erdrich 328) Henry states about the car, comprising his emotions towards all their relationship.

In the final portion of the history, Henry finally fixes the auto back into good condition following Lyman damages it. At this stage in the tale, the audience is thinking that the romantic relationship is mended as the brothers take the newly refurbished red descapotable for a leisure ride to the river. As Lyman and Henry load the trunk with a full chiller, Lyman gets the same sense. Henry is joking and having a laugh, and it seems as if the bond between the brothers is restored right up until they reach the lake.

At the riv they enter into a scuffle above who will keep the car. The fight is soon brushed off as the friends laugh and drink all their troubles aside by the water. “Got to cool me off! ” (Erdrich 331) Henry shouts as he plunges in to the river at the end of the story. It is not clear if Henry intentionally leaps into the riv to end his life, although he soon meets his decline. Lyman goes in to attempt to rescue his sibling with no luck. He then drives the reddish colored convertible in to the river and watches as the car slowly and gradually dies as well.

The last passage in the account clearly defines the symbolism of the crimson convertible. As Henry dies in the river, so does the crimson convertible plus the relationship between two Native American Brothers.

Works Offered

  • Erdrich, Louise. “The Red Descapotable. ” Books and the Publishing Process. Education. Vivian Garcia. Boston: Pearson, 2011. 325-331. Print.


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