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The Red Convertible Research Assignment Paper (Book Review Sample)




The Red Convertible
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In the Red Convertible by Louise Erdrich, much of what we know about Henry depends on what we know about his brother Lyman. It comes alongside with a great difference. Lyman, as the main character and a protagonist, narrates off the major events that led to Henry’s suicide. The author has allowed the reader to know the feelings and thoughts of the character as per that duration.
The story begins with Lyman and Henry spending all the amount of money they had on one summer in buying a red convertible (Erdrich, 2009). The two are noted to have taken driving one for the whole summer; they portray a fun and carefree attitude. Indeed, summer is notably a season to let one’s self free by doing exciting things. Lyman is seen to remember on where they slept on the same trip. He remembers ‘the place with willows’ and branches that bent around like a tent. The “tent” of willows has a reflection of Lyman’s feeling of containment and safety.
While on their trip, they meet a girl named Suzy of whom they go with to Alaska where they do enjoy. In summer, the sun does not set there and the night is a soft dusk. As darkness is associated with bad things, Lyman sees a brighter future with nothing to go wrong. In Alaska, Lyman says that the season is changing and it was getting darker, the cold was becoming a little mean. He is foreshadowing that something bad is going to happen. The words, mean, darker and cold are just a reflection of terrible things that hold on Henry’s future. Presently, everything seems to be so good for Lyman; however, they are all likely to change, equally. When Henry and Lyman get back home, Henry goes to Vietnam. After some years he comes back home, it is notable that he is mentally and emotionally damaged.
The setting of the story is now at their home, Henrys is observed after sometime to be feeling better, and they embark on another trip. The setting of the trip has contradiction with the first summer trip that was pleasant and happy (Erdrich, 2009). They come along a river, very high and with trash; it is colder by the river despite the sun being out. The trash and cold weather are representing Henry’s desperate mindset. Henry as compared to the river is almost going over the edge in emotions. He appears to be unpleasant of his current situation, he feels like going crazy if he cannot do something about it. Unfortunately, the only way he remains with is taking his life. Henry drowns; the distraught in Lyman’s mind lets the red convertible rolling into the water after Henry. It is the place that Henry throws away his life. ‘Lyman sees the sun going down’. It is a reflection on Henry’s death; the sun has just set on his life.
When Henry Junior returns home from the Vietnam, he is notably changed from a jovial person to a totally withdrawn individual. He is only observed to be calm when watching television; however, he still appears to be under hypnosis. Henry is observed sitting in his chair, he grips the armrest with all of his might. Lyman hammers the car with hopes that Henry will have interest on focus to his energy and time to fix up the damaged red convertible. Coincidentally, Henry is observed to fix up the car just as Lyman had hoped (Erdrich, 2009). He could have decided to sell or get rid of the car, but the passion he portrayed to rebuild it showed that he too had loved the red convertible despite the distress and emotional challenges at his disposal. Just as the car, it accumulated wear and tear with some minor damages. The car’s condition reflects what was going on in Henry’s life as well as their relationship status with Lyman.
The nine months that Henry served in Vietnam brought up the changes. He was captured by the North Vietnamese and taken to prison for six months (Erdrich, 2009). The numerous settings observed in the ‘The Red Convertible’ give reflection of the mental status of the characters. When analyzing the settings, a reader is able to see dramatic emotional changes that Lyman and Henry undergo. Generally, by looking at Henry’s actions, one can conclude that he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorders. Persisting avoidance made Henry be with fewer interests to all activities that used to make him happy and with pleasure. At the begin of the story, both Lyman and Henry were too close but he kept much away from his brother when he came back, he had avoiding activities on what he once fully enjoyed like driving the red convertible. He beca...
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