The Red Convertible

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The Red Convertible: A Brother in Arms Louise Endrich’s short story “The Red Convertible” is about how even the bonds of family and friends may not be enough to subdue the trauma caused by war. The story begins in 1974 as our narrator, Lyman, a Native American, retells the story about his brother Henry and the red convertible they both owned. After buying it impulsively, both of the brothers spend the summer driving around the Dakotas, Montana, and taking a hitchhiker back to Alaska. When they return home, Henry is sent to Vietnam and does not return for three years. When he returns home, Lyman notices that his once carefree brother is now “jumpy and mean.” It’s obvious that the war has changed and traumatized Henry, most likely because he was a prisoner of war. Lyman and his mother consider taking Henry to go see a doctor, but figure that it would only do more harm than good. Lyman then gets the idea of banging of the red convertible (which he had kept in perfect condition while Henry was at war) to give Henry a goal and something to look forward to. Henry fixes up the car close to perfection and the two brothers go out for a drive like the summer many years before. At a creek bed, Henry admits that he knew what Lyman did to the car, they fight, and eventually Henry jumps into the water and the stream carries him away. Lyman jumps in to save him, but it’s too late. The story ends with Lyman putting the car in first gear and watching as the red convertible they both share sinks into the river. In “The Red Convertible,” Endrich shows that some trauma is too great and nothing can fix it. This is illustrated by believable characters and leaving just enough unexplained that we can make our own interpretations of what Henry went through and what he is thinking and feeling. Despite being our narrator and protagonist, Lyman is a static character, with the exception

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