Complete summary of Louise Erdrich’s The Red Convertible. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of The Red Convertible. “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. “The Red Convertible” is a short story by American-Ojibwe author, Louise Erdrich . The short narrative follows a Native-American family’s attempts to deal with the.

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The Red Convertible |

The fryalator was up in a tree, the grill torn in half like it was paper. My students love how organized the handouts are and enjoy tracking the themes as a class.

By comparison, Lyman seems childishly innocent—writing countless letters without expecting a reply and keeping the car in perfect shape as if Henry will be back at any moment. Because of this, he would not tell his brother outright that he loved him, wanted him to be independent, or feared that he Henry might not return from the war. Download this Chart PDF.

Lyman decided to try to revive Henry by damaging the car so that Henry could fix it. The television Lyman buys for the family symbolizes the intrusion of the events of the world ererich their otherwise peaceful home on the reservation.

Moss, Joyce, and George Wilson, eds. Erdrich uses symbolism in other ways in the story.

However, apathetically, Henry remarks that his boots have filled with water and he goes under in the current. The car is a complex symbol because its meaning changes as the story progresses. He was unable to make progress in peace negotiations but won reelection in erdrch The car represents as well a much-needed outlet for Henry after the war.


Henry worked diligently on the car for the rest of the winter. Because he is so forthcoming throughout the rest of the convertibel, this emotional silence tells the reader that his feelings are too painful to share.

The Cyclic Nature of Louise Erdrich’s “The Red Convertible”

The title of the story points to the most fully developed symbol in the story, the car. The picture shows Henry’s face hidden with holes of shadows and Lyman’s face bright with sun. In the military, soldiers must learn how to swim with their boots on, thus their boots fill with water. In addition, the entire account is related as a series of memories.

Instead, he switches fonvertible third person: He is a shadow of his former carefree self and appears to be in a dream state. Since its publication, it has been translated into eighteen languages. This sudden privacy makes Lyman seem realistic to the reader.

The water imagery is a clever creative device hinting at an endless number of cultural and religious images. Flowing water in Western philosophy also represents change and the passage of time. Lyman is embittered by the false hope the red convertible held out for him and his brother. Cnovertible author uses these images to create an interesting dichotomy.

The Red Convertible () – Wikipedia

Before he left, he gave Lyman his key to the car, but Lyman just laughed and kept it for when Henry came back home. The trip is beautiful and relaxing, and Lyman thinks Henry seems unusually calm and happy.

The branches bent down all around me like a tent or a stable. Teach your students to analyze literature like LitCharts does. September Learn how and when to remove this template message. The final moments of the story support this connection when the narrator sees fit to send the car to a watery grave to join his brother. Paul identifies the ritual of baptism as being one of death and rebirth, simulating the death and resurrection of Christ.


The family visited the reservation often, giving Erdrich a strong sense of her Native American heritage. And of course, it was red, a red Olds. Lyman rushes to rescue his brother but to no avail. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list. 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. The relationship between the brothers fractures, and Lyman tries everything he can think of to hopefully mend the circuits that connected them together.

Eventually their mother comes in and turns off the TV. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. His ability to make money with ease allows him to buy the convertible and gives him and his brother their freedom for a long time.

When she tells Lyman and Henry that she wants to go home to Alaska, they take her. Their only options are to take Henry to non-Indians for treatment, and they fear reasonably so that they may discriminate against him. Cite this article Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography. Print this article Print all entries for this topic Cite this article. They went back home so that Henry, who had enlisted in the Marines, could begin his military service.