The Red Convertible is written by Louise Erdrich in 1984, it is from her novel Love Medicine. The author conveys different messages to the reader such as brotherhood and the impact of war. The work is based on two Native American brothers, Lyman and Henry Junior Lamartine. The red convertible is an important asset to the brothers Lamartine. It affects their lives. The car is the metaphorical symbol of brotherhood. Erdrich compares the old way of life with the new. Erdrich does this through metaphorical symbols: the color red, convertible, summer trip, and the fancy dance Henry performs before his death. In brief, the red car affects the lives of the brothers.
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First of all, Erdrich uses the red as the color of the convertible. In the story, the reason is that the color of the convertible is red and the destination that the brothers set out towards in their final journey together is the Red River. The color of human blood is red. The blood that Henry saw when he fought in the war, it represents the tragedy of the war. The experience and memories of Henry during the war is horrible. It changes the whole life of Henry deeply. The color red also represents the Henry’s desire which is to be free. The convertible appears in a bright red because Henry feels trapped by the white man’s war. Henry is looking for his freedom and peace by returning to the Red River.
Lyman worries about the safety of Henry when the government turns Henry into a Marine for the Vietnam War. "In those years I’d put his car into almost perfect shape" . The Red Convertible symbolizes the sentiment of the brothers – brotherhood and represents the love and care between the brothers.
How the war changes the life of Henry? Henry comes home after war, looking and feeling different. He becomes speechless and is very hard to express his feeling to his family. Henry is shocked by his memories during the war, he does not know how to face his life in the future. The Red car represents the brotherhood between the brothers. However, Henry is not interested in the car after the war. So Lyman tries to beat the car by a hammer to interest Henry in the vehicle and express his disappointment to his brother’s behavior.
In conclusion, Erdrich explores the sense of brotherhood and the impact of war. The Red Convertible symbolizes the sentiment of the brothers. Lyman provokes Henry by beating the car and hopes Henry to be a normal and happy man again. The author also makes readers realize the horrible impacts of war. In brief, the story is gripping and sad.
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