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Symbolism In 'The Red Convertible'

Good Essays
Louise Erdrich and Tim O’Brien both use symbolism to foreshadow of what the future will come to be of the characters. Henry in “The Red Convertible,” his emotions and mental state is shown through the symbolism of the red convertible. The car symbolizes the strong bond between one another. Henry tells Lyman, “When I left the car was running like a watch. Now I don’t know if I can get it to star again, let alone get it anywhere near its old condition” (Erdrich 138). The relationship between Henry and Lyman applies to the condition of their vehicle. Bussey states in her critical essay, “After Lyman damaged the car, Henry had the opportunity to work toward a goal, instead of watching television all day. In this way, the car symbolizes Henry 's…show more content…
Lyman says, “We went places in that car, me and Henry. We took off driving all one whole summer” (135). The car symbolized their carefree and innocent lives. They took off without a car in the world and made memories in their car. Bussey asserts in her critical essay, “At the time, Lyman was only sixteen, an age at which most young people long to explore the world and to make their own decisions. Together, Lyman and Henry used the car to leave the reservation where they lived and to see what was beyond its borders” (Para 5). This is exactly what the two were doing when they traveled all across the country. The car created a bond between the two. The first paragraph symbolizes the foreshadowing of Henry’s death, “We owned it together until his boots filled with water on a windy night and he bought out my share” (134). Initially this statement is not clear until you finish the story. When the car and Henry both go into the water it symbolizes the end of Lyman’s innocence and the end of the relationship between the two brothers. The car had lost meaning once his brother was…show more content…
The main symbol in “The Things They Carried” is the necessities they carried as well as personal belongings. Each item tells a story that shows the past life on the soldier. Rat Kiley, the medic, carried M&M’s with him at all times. They were not to snack on during breaks. He brought them to provide as a placebo for soldiers who weren’t critically wounded and weren’t going to make it. The candy made some soldiers believe it was a painkiller and actually kept them alive and importantly quiet Ted Lavender’s tranquilizes and dope help reduce his fear. Kiowa carried an illustrated New Testament. For Jimmy it is his letters from Martha, it symbolizes the life that he wishes he could be living back at home with her. However, all of them carried one thing in common, the coward trait, the instinct to run at any given moment. Piedmont-Marton argues in her critical essay, “The things they carry on their bodies creates the illusion of unity and collaboration, but the fragile collective is always compromised by the things they carry inside and by the meanings and emotions attached to the smallest and most private of artifacts” (Para 3). She shows that the things that weigh the most have the least amount of meaning to them. The only thing getting them through times and not putting a bullet in their foot is the weightless mementos they have that give them