The Red Convertible By Louise Erdrich Essay

The Red Convertible By Louise Erdrich Essay

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The Red Convertible, written by Louise Erdrich, is a short story written in the first person perspective of a Chippewa Indian named Lyman. It portrays the story of his brother, Henry, who joins the Marines and fights in the Vietnam War. Before recruiters pick up Henry, Lyman describes him and his brother’s road trip in their brand new red Olds. Lyman explains Henry’s characteristic during their joy-ride as friendly, joking, and fun. Returning from their road trip, Henry leaves for Vietnam. When he returns, Henry is not the same joyful man that he once was before he had left. Louise Erdrich’s short story, The Red Convertible, follows the life of Henry who is as funny joking guy. Although war has changed him, and it was not for the best. Louise Erdrich’s theme for The Red Convertible is that war can devastate peoples’ lives.
During the road trip the two brothers pick up “long-haired Susy in Alaska” (974). In Erdrich’s story, Susy character has a great importance. Erdrich includes Susy to show the readers the type of man Henry was. Lyman describes their interaction inside the tent after they drive Susy back to her home. Lyman says:
“Henry did something funny. He went up to the chair and said, ‘Jump on my
shoulders.’ So she did that, and her hair reached down past his waist, and he
started twirling, this way and that, so her hair was flung out from side to side” (968).
The importance of Susy and this passage shows Henry is a friendly, joking, and fun man. Henry is friendly because he and Lyman were kind enough to drive Susy back to her home in Chicken, Alaska. He is also fun and joking because Henry plays around with Susy’s hair by picking her up on his shoulders and twirling her around. Henry is an upstanding person, but unfortuna...


... middle of paper ...


...resent tense. Erdrich is now using words such as feels, wipes, and takes. Erdrich now switches the verbs to present tense. Erdrich’s change possibly suggests Lyman is also suffering from a form of PTSD. The death of Lyman’s brother still affects him, and every day Lyman relives that moment his brother has died.
Louise Erdrich’s theme in her short story, The Red Convertible, is that war can devastate lives. Lyman describes his brother, Henry, as an upstanding guy. Yet after the war, Henry is no longer the same person. War affects and changes Henry. He sufferers from a form of PTSD and is more serious about life. He struggled internally and is always tense. Erdrich switches from past tense to present tense, suggesting Henry’s death affects Lyman. Lyman relives the moments of Henrys death every day and is something that is always on his mind. War can devastate everyone!

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