The Red Convertible

1584 WordsOct 21, 20067 Pages
In Native American culture, the red is the color of faith, and represents communication. The short story The Red Convertible by Louise Erdrich is more than an emotional story about the lives of two Chippewa brothers who grew up together on an Indian reservation in North Dakota. Erdrich uses metaphor, symbol, vivid imagery and a simple writing style to allow the reader to understand the text while also providing the opportunity to read a lot into the story. Written in the first person by Lyman Larmartine, The Red Convertible follows a typical dramatic development. The story begins in with an introduction of the narrator's life. Almost simultaneously the reader is introduced to older brother Henry Junior and the shiny red Oldsmobile…show more content…
Lyman says "once I was in the room watching TV with Henry…I looked over, and he'd bitten through his lip. Blood was going down his chin". This depiction is important because not only does it show Henry's misdirected aggression, but involves another red. "There was still blood going down Henry's chin, but he didn't notice", in this we see how a color once associated with the car that made Henry so happy, has become a body fluid going unnoticed (186). The use of the color red does not end here. When we take a look at parts of the setting, we see the color used over and over again. During their summer road trip, they meet a girl named Susy from Chicken, Alaska. Although in retrospect Lyman is unsure where they met the girl, one place that crosses his mind is the Blood Reserve. It is clear that Susy, although a minor character in the story, has a big impact on Henry and his free-spiritedness, and the idea that he meets her at this ‘red' location may be symbolic is what is to come. Henry leaving Susy behind may have something to do with how after returning from war he is not satisfied with anything anymore. Secondly, when Henry and Lyman take "the old shitbox for" its one last "spin" they end up traveling east to Red Rock (in Cherokee Indian culture red means East). The reader can see a connection between these two locations because at the first Henry meets someone who will positively affect his life, and at the second, he knows that his life

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