The Red Convertible Essay, Research Paper
The Red Convertible is a story that symbolizes thought. It is a story of family as well as culture. It is a story that asks a lot of questions, questions that don t have answers. Did Henry commit suicide? What is the role of the convertible? Many questions, no answers. The dialogue used in the story is different, than others of any sort. The way she compares people to animals is unique. It is a story, not a sad story, not a happy story, just a story, a story about life, especially Native American life. It is a part of life unlived by any of us but to her it is a reality. It takes place on a reservation in North America close to Canada in the 1960 s and early 70 s. A time when indians were not respected. It is hard to believe that these Native Americans had so much wealth, they bought a car and did things other Indians might never get to do in there life. It is the convertible that separates them from other Native Americans, it is the car that brings them into reality and keeps them connected before and after the Vietnam War. In The Red Convertible, by Lyman Lamartine the convertible represents the bond between Henry and Lyman. Henry and Lyman in the story are a close as brothers could be. They are happy and do things all the time together. It is a happy story, calm with no stress. The brothers have a strong bond, that will be hard to break, but easy to make stronger. So what they did to make their bond stronger was to buy a car, a red convertible. They had bought the car together. That car reposed, calm and gleaming, a For Sale sign in its left front window. Then, before we had thought it over at all, it belonged to us and our pockets were empty. This is an important part of Lyman s life, as well as Henry s. It is the part that brings them as close as they can get, their bond is unseparable. We went places in that car, me and Henry. We took off driving all over one whole summer. We started off toward the Little Knife river and Mandaree in Fort Berthold and then we found ourselves down in Wakpala somehow, and then suddenly we were over in Montana on the Rocky Boy, and yet the summer was not even half over. Some people hang on to details when they travel, but we didn t let them bother us and just lived our everyday lives here to there. Life for the brothers is calm and peaceful. It is a memory of Lyman that is strong in his head, even more in his heart. Even when I read the story, I feel a sense of carelessness, not to worry that everything will be o.k. Life for them could not be better, they just drove and drove. When they finally got home is when things started to change, not for the better, they were already to good, but for the worse. The change for Lyman was hard when Henry left. It never really says how he really feels but you can tell he is down. It is the car that he writes about to Henry. Henry went off to training camp, came home once during Christmas, then the next thing you know we got an overseas letter from him. It was 1970, and he said he was stationed up in the northern hill country. Whereabouts I did not know. He wasn t such a hot letter writer, and only got two off before the enemy caught him. It doesn t really say but we can only think what Lyman is going through, hearing that his brother was caught by the enemy. The language she uses changes the theme of the story from happy to a unsatisfied. The wording she uses tells us that, for example, I wrote him back several times even though I didn t know if those letters would get through, this is kind of an unsettling form of behavior, he wants for sure, the positive feelings that they experienced together. I kept him informed all about the car. Most of the time I had it up on blocks in the yard or half taken apart. This is the bond that Lyman and Henry live by, some people have pictures, some promises, some rings, Lyman and Henry s bond is the car, the car that they bought together.
When he came home, though, Henry was very different, and I ll say this: the change was no good. You could hardly expect him to change for the better, I know. But he was quiet, so quiet, and never comfortable sitting still anywhere but always up and moving around. Lyman feels that his bond with Henry is broken. You can tell that he is hurt, he wants things to be back to the way they used to be. The language the author uses creates a theme, that is disturbing and tense. The description sitting still anywhere but always up and moving around, suggests his actions alone are scary, that he isn t the same person. Once I was in the room watching TV with Henry and I heard his teeth click at something. I looked over, and he d bitten through his lip. Blood was going down his chin. I tell you right then I wanted to smash that tube to pieces. Lyman doesn t know what to do, he just wants his brother back, how will he do it? The symbol in the story is the red convertible, the car is what will help Henry, nothing else will. Henry isn t Henry at this stage in life. One night Henry was off somewhere. I took myself a hammer. I went out to that car and I did a number on its underside. Whacked it up. Bent the tail pipe double. The theme seems it might change at this point back to a beautiful brotherhood again. I had been feeling down in the dumps about Henry around this time. We had always been together before. Henry and Lyman. But he was suck a loner now that I didn t know how to take it. So I jumped at the chance one day when Henry seemed friendly. It s not that he smiled or anything. He just said, Let s take that old shitbox for a spin. Just the way he said it made me think he might be coming around again. The theme is set to make you to believe that he is slowly coming around, but at the same time the words the author uses tells you that this story isn t going to get any happier. The themes that the author gives us change drasticly, from a very high to a very low. It is a wonderful story to read, I enjoyed it very much. The before Henry went away stage, was when they both were happy and energetic, but when Henry went away to war it changed him for the worse. He would never be the same even thought the author made is seem to us by use of her theme, that Henry was going to get better. It is a story about beginning and ends, but all together it is just a story , a story about life.