The Red Convertible By Louise Erdrich Essay

The Red Convertible By Louise Erdrich Essay

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Often it is conceived that the life for a soldier returning home from war will be a life filled with glory and recognition, where every soldiers, dead, wounded, or alive, is honored for their brave fight in war: a dangerous, deadly battlefield. However families, friends, and communities don’t fully comprehend the traumatic series of events that soldiers has been apart of or witnessed, which will make their life back at home marred with misery and depression. Many soldiers returning home from war, in fact, suffer from diseases such as depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), where men and women who have witnessed and/or experienced events of death or serious threat and injury will then develop anxiety and depression symptoms. In turn, they will suffer a loss of identity and purpose upon returning home from war. Louise Erdrich’s “The Red Convertible”, echoes this idea, where through comparison and contrast Erdrich explores Henry’s personality before and after war, and illustrates the shift in attitude and loss of identity caused by war, and how it is glaringly apparent that Henry has changed once he came back home. Erdrich’s message is a universal one for millions of soldiers in history and presently who suffer from PTSD and depression.
In Louise Erdrich’s “The Red Convertible”, the short story tells of a bond of two brothers, Henry and Lyman, who are both free going, open, friendly with a spirited nature prior to Henry going off to war, and how Henry became despondent, mean, and sullen after returning home, and what it ultimately did to the relationship between the brothers. Erdrich uses comparison and contrast to establish her message of the loss of identity and shift in attitude after a soldier returns home. Erdrich...


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...for life. This attitude for life is sadly depicted when Henry eventually kills himself, recognizing that he can never be the old Henry that he once was before going to war, seeing no use in even trying to find himself any much longer. Erdrich shows the complexity and heart aching sadness for many soldiers once they return home from war.
Soldiers who return from war experience a magnitude of trauma and tragedy where they suffer from PTSD and depression, losing their identity and having a completely new attitude for life that makes resuming life for them a harrowing experience. “The Red Convertible” eloquently offers a commentary on a soldier’s profile before and after war. Henry completely changed, seeing death as the only means to alieve the psychological pain he was suffering from. Unfortunately, this sentiment can be shared by masses of soldiers who fight in war.

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