Red Converatble Analysis

2013 Words9 Pages
Is there any hope left for Native American traditions? During the 19th century the Native Americans struggled to regain control over the lands they had lost to the Westerners. The Americans wanted to eliminate the traditional values, forcing the Native Americans to adapt to western cultures. They had hoped to protect their traditional cultures against the influence of white society. In "The Red Convertible," Louise Erdrich depicts a tale of two brothers whose strong bond is ruined when Henry, the elder of two, comes back from the Vietnam War. Lyman, the younger brother struggles in trying to bring back his older sibling's identity and knowledge of Native American customs. An analysis of Erdrich's "Red Convertible" from both the Marxist and historical lenses shows how the 1970's western culture negatively affected and influenced how Native Americans were supposed to live their lives. Through Lyman's selfish material success, the author displays how the Native Americans were slowly being lured into white culture during the twentieth century. Lyman, given the chance to earn financial success, craves more power. Lyman points out that "[t]he nuns let me keep the percentage. Once I started, it seemed the more money I made the easier money came. Everyone encouraged it" (Erdrich 1195), and goes on to say "and I also bought the red Olds I mentioned, along with Henry" (Erdrich 1195). Lyman is slowly allowing himself to fall into the white man's society through money. By accepting money which is a piece that symbolizes capitalism, Lyman has been Americanized. Natives don't usually buy things; instead they trade with each other. Pratima Dutta states, "Lyman has adopted too many western ideas and concepts. That Lyman buys a red convertible, works at an American café and the American Legion Hall, and ultimately becomes owner of

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