“The Red Convertible,” one of Louise Erdrich’s most anthologized short stories, is the second chapter of her debut novel Love Medicine. The novel is a collection. Need help with The Red Convertible in Louise Erdrich’s The Red Convertible? Check out our revolutionary side-by-side summary and analysis. This semester, I finally taught Louise Erdrich’s “The Red Convertible.” As we talked about the story in class, I pointed the class towards the.

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Over a month later, Henry confronts Conertible about the state of the car, and Lyman goads him into fixing the car himself. The brothers take a carefree road trip that lasts an entire summer. Today, I want to focus on the opening paragraph and parse it out, discussing the ways it works to begin, and ercrich, the loop that the story constructs.

The river is high and the current is strong. It represents the connection between Lyman and Henry. Lyman believes that the ride to the Red River in the convertible represents a new beginning.

What are your thoughts? How can we improve? At the end of the story, Henry dies in the river, and Lyman runs the car in after him.

Lyman is embittered by the false hope the erdricj convertible held out for him and his brother.

Juxtapose the image of the convertible and what it symbolizes in the story to the violent image of Henry chewing on blood-soaked bread.

Immersion in water symbolizes a return to the pre-formal, a total regeneration, a new birth, for immersion means dissolution of forms, a reintegration into the formlessness of pre-existence, and emerging erdrrich the water is a repetition of the act of creation in which form was first expressed.

Dorris was an res who chaired the then-new Native American Studies program. In the end, the car is the literal vehicle that takes convertiblle brothers to the site of their tragic last meeting. After spending three years fighting in Vietnam, however, he was a very different person. Lyman and Henry traveled without care or worry, enjoying whatever experiences came their way. Lyman was able to buy a red convertible Olds-mobile with his brother ted he had always been good with money.


In the opening paragraphs of the narrative, Lyman sets up the sense of freedom and luxury that the red convertible brings to Henry and him by suggesting the impoverishment and disaster that befall the Chippewa on the reservation. Demonstrations, sit-ins, and anti-war songs became common in s America.

The Red Convertible

Instead, he expressed these feelings by offering the car to his brother. The Lamartine family lives on a reservation, just as Erdrich’s did.

erfrich After returning from the war, Henry was emotionally distant, but again he tried to give Lyman full ownership of the car. To assume effectively the roles of protector and celebrant, Erdrich must mediate between two conceptual frameworks, white and Native…. In his despair, Henry pushes the car into the river that took Henry.

In the following essay, Korb discusses what the red convertible represents to Henry Lamartine on each of his journeys. With this connotation, we can take the phrase in the first paragraph to refer to Henry going into the military, this his boots fill luoise water during training. They start talking and Henry reveals that he knew what Lyman was doing by intentionally damaging the convertible.

Presumably, he did not know whether he would survive, and he wanted his brother convertibl become more independent.

The Red Convertible Summary & Analysis from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes

Juxtapose, or compare, this image, one of excitement and vitality, to the image of Henry, blood dripping down his chin as he chews on a piece of blood-soaked bread.

Take good care of it” Erdrich Native Fed have a deeply spiritual connection louiise Mother Earth. He hardly ever watches their TVand is somewhat better than he was before, not as jumpy. When Lyman intentionally damaged the car so that Henry would have to fix it, Henry understood what Lyman was trying to do for him.

The Chippewa on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in North Dakota were among the few Native American populations who asked that the government create a reservation for them.


Henry worked diligently on the car for the rest of the winter. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Although the narrator Lyman clearly identifies himself in the first paragraph of the work, his account maintains an oral quality. His words and actions, however, indicate that he loved his brother very much and valued their relationship.

When Henry prepared to leave ,ouise Vietnam, he gave Lyman his key to the car.

He was jumpy, silent, moody, and detached, and he rarely laughed or smiled. Lyman returned to the car, started it, put llouise in first gear, and let it go into the river. Despite the terms of the treaty, conflict persisted in Vietnam, and, init was unified under communism. Inthe government acknowledges that a toxic gas used during the conflict may have spread farther than was realized, possibly reaching hundreds of thousands of American troops.

Lyman dares to hope that the repaired car means a repaired relationship. This ploy erdricy works, and Henry spends all of his time, day and night, fixing the car.

The Red Convertible (1984)

Meanwhile, Lyman writes him lots of letters and keeps the convertible in top shape for him. This may also explain the infrequency of his letters home. When Henry comes back from the war a changed man, Lyman tries to rekindle their relationship, but when his efforts fail, he destroys the car, and in turn symbolically destroying their relationship. Lyman recalls that he was the first person to drive a convertible on his reservation, a red Oldsmobile.

Lyman Lamartine – narrator of the story, he recounts the events of his relationship with his brother and the good times they shared with the red convertible, and the downfall of their relationship after his brother changes from three years of military service.