Mrs. Salter Dromm
Essay 1 Outline
29 Feb 2012
Brotherly Love in Louise Erdrich’s The Red Convertible
The short story the red convertible has some important elements which are fundamental in supporting and developing the central theme of brotherhood. First of all the reader will see the lesson that the author intends to give through the road trip and secondly they will be persuaded on how the war had an effect on relationships as seen through Henry and Lyman.
At the heart of "The Red Convertible'' is the relationship between Lyman and Henry. Lyman's reason for telling the story is to embrace and preserve his brother's ...view middle of the document...
.. Henry was very different, and I'll say this: the change was no good. You could hardly expect him to change for the better, I know. But he was quiet, so quiet, and never comfortable sitting still anywhere but always up and moving around ... He'd always had a joke ... and now you couldn't get him to laugh, or when he did it was more the sound of a man choking, a sound that stopped up the throats of other people around him. They got to leaving him alone most of the time, and I didn't blame them. It was a fact: Henry was jumpy and mean. Henry was like many veterans in that he was emotionally detached, unwilling to talk about his experiences and uncertain about how to function at home. What is now known as post-traumatic stress disorder was not fully understood at the time. Lyman comments that his brother spent three years fighting in the war, adding. By then I guess the whole war was solved in the government's mind, but for him it would keep on going.’’ Rather than seek ways to start a new life for himself, Henry chose to stagnate, watching television and keeping to himself. While his family loved him very much, they were unequipped to cope with Henry's problems. Although he seemed to be improving when he finished fixing the car, this lighter mood was temporary—or perhaps even feigned. The anguish bottled up inside him eventually destroyed him.
The symbolic portrayed add to the profound intensity and intricacy of the story. In Henry’s first view of the vehicle it was just like him in harmony with the universe and alive. At the end of the story the swollen raging waters of the red river chocked with winter sludge are responsible for Henry’s decease. With help from Lyman the red convertible is taken by the river too. When he is unable to rescue Henry he drives the convertible to the edge of the river and lets it fall slowly into the river. Similar to the scenario in which a vibrant and full of life Henry gets ravaged emotionally and affected by the devastating terrors of the Vietnam War, so is he overwhelmed by the current of the raging river. The raging currents consume the convertible as surely as Henry is also taken. The present turbulence consumes both the joy and restfulness of the ancient times.
The purchase of the red convertible stands for the piece of the puzzle which builds up the strong bond of brotherhood between Henry and Lyman. As brothers and co owners of the vehicle they share a common attachment. The car is a symbol not only of Lyman and Henry as a team but also it creates new profound friendship. The vehicle transports them all over the country which gives them a great opportunity to develop a strong bond of brotherhood and friendship. The car goes ahead to give the brothers a complete love cycle. Their feelings towards the car are...