The Red Convertible by Louise Erdrich

837 Words 4 Pages
The Red Convertible by Louise Erdrich

In the Red Convertible by Louise Erdrich, the main character Henry loses his hold on reality. The story takes place in North Dakota on an Indian Reservation where Henry lives with his brother Lyman. Henry and Lyman buy a Red Convertible that later in the story illustrates Henry’s lack of ability to stay sane. The brothers take a summer trip across the United States in the car. When they return, Henry is called to join the army, which turns out to be the transitional point in Henry and Lyman’s personal life. The Vietnam War changed Henry’s appearance, psyche, and his feelings about the Red Convertible. Before the Vietnam War, Henry’s appearance was cheerful and energetic. Henry
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Every aspect of Henry’s appearance was totally different after the war. Henry’s mental state also differed before and after the Vietnam War. Henry thought clearly and acted sane before war. When he put his mind to something he accomplished it. Henry interacted well because of his knowledge of cars. Lyman says, “He was always out with that car” describing the knowledge that Henry had about the car to fix it from the bad condition it was in (978). His mental state was that of any normal person. After the Vietnam War, Henry was crazy and unstable. For instance, when Henry was watching television and he bit through his lip with blood pouring everywhere (977). The blood was getting on his bread every time he took a bite, but because of his lost ability to think straight Henry doesn’t even flinch as blood pours everywhere. Also, at the end of the story Henry snaps on his brother Lyman. He punches Lyman, which leads to a fight ended by the laughing of Henry (980). During the fight with Lyman, the extent of Henry’s mental changed, to turn on a family member and physically strike him. Henry illustrates how crazy he is when he jumps in to the river all of the sudden to “cool off”(981). This action by Henry ends his craziness and his life. Henry’s feeling about the Red Convertible was another change that he underwent before and after war. When he and Lyman
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