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Red Convertible Essay
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Red Convertible

In Louise Erdrich’s Red  Convertible, Erdich tells the story of two Indian brothers.  Henry and Lyman, both put in money on a car they would share but things would change between the brothers just as the car would.  The car would play a significant role in the tale of these brothers and change their lives forever.

            Even in the beginning if the story Edrich, tells the reader exactly what will happen at the end without giving the ending away:

“we owned it together until his boots filled with water on a windy night and  he bought out my share.  Now Henry owns the whole car, and his younger brother (that’s myself), Lyman walks everywhere he goes.” (943).

            As the story begins, Henry and Lyman happen to find a ride to Winnipeg and had brought all their money, when they saw the car and agreed to buy it.  When they first got the car they went joyriding all summer and meet a friend named Susy pg 944.  The brothers agreed to take her home which just happen to be in Chicken, Alaska.  When they returned Henry had to go to Vietnam and things were never quite the same between the brothers.

            When Henry was away at war he got captured and when he finally came home he was changed by the experience:  “By then I guess the whole war was solved in the government’s mind, but for him it would keep on going.” (946) After Henry returned from Vietnam he was irritable and jumpy.  Lyman and his mother both worry about Henry: when Henry was not around we talked about what was going to happen to him.  “ They don’t fix them in those places… they just give them drugs.”(947).

            Lyman later tries to use the car to help his brother come back to the norm “ I thought and waited for my chance to interest him in the vehicle.” (947)  Later after Henry restored the car he invites Lyman to take a ride in the car.

            The brothers start off their ride toward Pembina and Red River and they talk for a while.  Henry explains to Lyman that he could tell he purposely banged up the car so he would have to fix it. But after that, Henry said that he fixed the car and wanted to give the car to Lyman but Lyman refused to accept the car.  When Lyman rejects the car he and Henry come to blows over the disagreement.  The later drink a cooler of beers and talk about going to get some “Kashpaw girls” at the same time Lyman notices Henry’s change in emotions “He says nothing.  But I can tell his mood is changing.” (949)  Soon after Henry leaped up and said he needed to cool off and jumped into the cold debris, filled water.

            Lyman hears his brother out in the river say, “ my boots are filling.” (950) in a normal voice before not hearing anything from his brother.  After Lyman tries to find his brother, he only manages to heave himself out of the hazardous river.  When Lyman got out of the treacherous river he pulled the car up to the bank and rolled it into the river as if he was giving the car to his brother.