Summary Of The Red Convertible By Louise Erdrich

1355 Words6 Pages
Louise Erdrich once declared, "love won't be tampered with, love won't go away. Push it to one side and it creeps to the other." (“Louise Erdrich quote.”) This statement perfectly depicts the foundation of love in a brotherhood. Even though there will indefinitely be obstructions that seek to cut off the flow of love, nothing can overpower the strength of a brotherly bond. In Erdrich’s short story, “The Red Convertible,” she tells of two Native American brothers, Lyman and Henry, who live on an indian reservation and share a red Olds that they purchase together. These young men have a relationship that is put to the test by one of life’s toughest trials. Erdrich emphasizes the elasticity of brotherhood by using symbolism in the the color of…show more content…
Her choice to make the Olds red may seem insignificant to the average reader, but the color red is associated with many feelings and emotions that are portrayed in the story. Feelings of anger are often affiliated with the color red; however it is also associated with love and passion (“Color Wheel Pro.”) In “The Red Convertible,” Lyman experiences each and every one of these emotions. The love and passion that Lyman had for Henry was displayed in many of Lyman’s action. For instance, after Henry returns from the war in Vietnam, he takes no interest in the car that he used to think the world of. Lyman adored the red Olds, but his relationship with his brother was far more important to him. In an attempt to catch Henry’s attention, Lyman takes a hammer and beats up the red Olds that he had spent hours refurbishing. While Lyman told about his actions, he added in, “It just about hurt me, I’ll tell you that!” Even though Lyman’s affinity for the car was great, his love and passion for Henry was greater. Later on in the story, the anger aspect of the color red comes into play. After Henry notices the broken-down car, he fixes it back up to its prime condition. Once Henry finished his work on the car, the two brothers set off to the Red River to see the high water. When they got there, Henry tried to give Lyman full possession of…show more content…
When the brothers’ relationship is at a high point, the car is in acceptable shape. When the relationship is at a lull, the car’s condition reflects that by being ragged and broken. Each of the brothers acquired a large sum of money from unfortunate events that occurred in their lives. Henry got laid off from his job and was given an extra week’s pay and Lyman had cash from his insurance money when his restaurant was destroyed in a tornado. They put together their money to spontaneously purchase the car on a trip to Winnipeg. This impulsive decision to blow all of their money on a convertible car symbolizes the optimism that both of the brothers had after enduring discouraging catastrophes. Erdrich chose to make the car a convertible because much like Henry and Lyman’s personalities, a convertible is free and youthful. When they initially get the car, they drive it up to Alaska to bring Susy home and the car is in tip-top shape, much like their brotherhood. After they return to the reservation Henry gets drafted and leaves for the war in Vietnam. When Henry returns home, he is not the same free-spirited, young man that he once was and this upsets Lyman. While Henry had been away, Lyman worked to improve their car as best he could, but Henry did not even notice the car when he came home. Lyman, distraught with the current state of his relationship with his

More about Summary Of The Red Convertible By Louise Erdrich

Open Document