The Red Convertible Essay

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Cori Hosford Mrs. Warren ENG 1113 February 13, 2012 The Red Convertible by Louise Erdich is a realistic short story written about two Native American brothers and their changing relationship. The story itself is a memory of the younger brother, Lyman Lamartine. Erdich uses symbolism, irony, and foreshadowing to show the reader the changes that Henry Junior, the older brother, goes through when he comes home from being a prisoner of war in Vietnam. Lyman and Henry were both fun-loving children at heart before Henry was called to fight in the war. The two brothers did everything together. Lyman always had a way with money, and he ran his own restaurant as a teenager. However, when he was just sixteen years old, a tornado blew away his business. Henry lost his job at the factory that he worked at around the same time. Lyman and Henry pooled together Henry’s last paycheck and the insurance money that Lyman received from the tornado damage and bought a flashy red convertible to share. The two brothers took a road trip and picked up a hitchhiker, whom they spent the summer with. When the boys returned home to their reservation at the end of the summer, they found that the military had called Henry to report for duty. Almost three years later, a completely different Henry returned home. The most obvious use of symbolism that Erdich uses is the red convertible itself. When the two brothers bought the convertible, it was in the best shape. The car was flashy, fast, and everyone noticed it. It was a beautiful car, in other words. This symbolized Henry before he became a Marine. Growing up, Henry was a calm boy that had a great personality. He got along with everyone. The red convertible bonded Henry and Lyman together. After Henry came back from Vietnam, he was a completely different person. He was no longer calm; instead he was mean and jumpy. He

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