Thursday, November 10, 2011

"The Red Convertible" Louise Erdrich

 "The Red Convertible" is a story about these brothers that were Native American and went on to be good friends. Lyman, the brother narrating the story, started working and he and his brother bought a Red Oldsmobile. They got to enjoy it for at least one good time traveling to many different places and meeting people. Henry Jr. did not get to enjoy the convertible for a while because he had to go to the Vietnam war. Lyman took care of it as much as he could and would only write Henry about that car while he was away. Then when he came back, they could tell that he was different because of the war. Lyman bought a color television and Henry would act really weird when he was watching it as well as with the rest of his family. On one occasion they were watching the television when Henry just bit his lip and even while they were eating he did not try to clean it off so ate food with his blood all over it. Lyman then proceeded to devise a plan so that he could try to get his old brother back. He tore the convertible up so that it would seem almost not able to fix but Henry does not think it isn't beyond repair. All of a sudden Henry starts to fix the convertible and gets it in tip top shape. They go for one last ride and then when they go to the river and have some beers, Henry wants to give Lyman the car and he does not take it. They fight and I think he goes into the river, Lyman goes to the car and turns on the lights so he can see his brother and the convertible goes into the water also. That is why at the beginning of the story, Lyman says that his brother took the whole car and he is walking.
This story was really sad because the people that come back from the war are never as they were before. The things that they see in the war are so traumatic that people cannot really go on without having those images drown through their everyday lives. It cannot be easy to have to come back to civilian life after a war and trying to tell people about what they went through but no one understands. It must really feel lonely especially when Lyman wanted to be close to his brother but they were not connected as they were before. Relationships are fortified through the things both parties have in common and shared living experiences so Henry must have felt like they were not as close as they could have been for him to understand. It must be sad that these people got stripped of their lives because they had to go to war against their will. This goes back to the whole trying to control the people in order for them to do what the government wants. The soldiers are broken down to follow the orders.

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