“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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Really as if it was alive.

He recalls the excitement he felt at first seeing the red convertible: Here, Lyman makes it clear that he is Native American, and admits that his relative wealth is unusual. Lyman and Henry traveled without care or worry, enjoying whatever experiences came their way.

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

Eventually, Henry drowns in the river either by suicide or accident and Lyman pushes the red convertible into the water after his brother. Although gaming revenues may give the impression that tribes are wealthy, only of the federally recognized tribes conduct these businesses, and many of them run only small operations.

The next section chronicles Henry and Lyman buying the car and travelling to Alaska with Susy then back edrich North Dakota. Modern Language Association http: It is only upon seeing the photograph in a particular light that Lyman realizes cohvertible much Henry was suffering, and how obvious that was in the physical features of his face. Susy – a girl that the brothers meet on a road trip and spontaneously decide to drive back to her home to Chicken, Alaska. The Lamartine family lives on a reservation, just as Erdrich’s did.

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

Email required Address never made public. That Henry apparently committed suicide when he was alone with Kouise suggests that Lyman was the only person Henry truly trusted and the only person with whom he was willing to share this tragic moment. Lyman wants to prevent this from happening. Henry even seems calmer, and Lyman starts to think that maybe his unusual homemade plan for treating Henry has worked. Now I don’t even know I can get it to start again, let alone get it anywhere near its old condition” Erdrich Juxtapose the image of the convertible and what it symbolizes in the story to the violent image of Henry chewing on blood-soaked bread.


Retrieved December 31, from Encyclopedia. Convertibls old Henry has been replaced by a war-hardened soldier who cannot simply rejoin his and Lyman’s youthful brotherly relationship. After training and briefly visiting his family at Christmas, Henry was sent to Vietnam.

One night, Susy comes to see them. He also leaves ambiguous what exactly happens to Henry. The brothers buy a red convertible together, and they travel to Alaska before Henry gets called to serve in the Vietnam War. Henry and Lyman are in Winnipeg when they stumble upon the convertiblewhich seems almost larger than life, and they decide to buy it. The act of suicide, in these terms, is an act of transcendence for Henry.

This ploy eventually works, and Henry spends all of his time, day and night, fixing the car. These influences, in tandem, paint a different picture for the reader. Implicit within the context of this relationship is a deep respect for creation, for nature, and a oluise of interconnectedness with Mother Earth.

He tells the story of when he, along with his older half-brother Henry, owned a red Oldsmobile convertible. She can create value and meaning through a Native worldview or through a contemporary American worldview or both at the same time. In fact, many critics contend that the book is not a novel at all but rather a loosely connected collection of short stories.


The Chippewa originally settled in a large area ranging from present-day Ontario and Quebec to Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. This journey is not a pleasurable one; Henry must go without the company of his brother and the potent force of the red convertible.

This site thhe cookies. Their typically masculine behaviors and silence on the topic of what loiuse actually happening with Henry are connected. Henry works hard on restoring the car all day and all night in the cold, alone, for a month [2] as Lyman still hopes that the car returns his brother to what he was before: The work is also out of synch or sequence, as if it was being recalled and then told by the narrator.

Simply put, Lyman is part of something bigger, namely Mother Earth. This page was last edited on 3 Decemberat It represents the connection between Lyman and Henry.

Initially, Henry is seen as an easygoing, funny, carefree young man. The car represents as well a much-needed outlet for Henry after the war. After spending a few loulse minutes together, Henry tells Erdrifh that he needs to cool off, so he runs and jumps into fed river.

The Red Convertible

On impulse, Lyman and Henry bought the car on a visit to Winnipeg. Her family is welcoming, and the brothers stay with them until the weather turns cold. If we consider the setting, and the characters, we need to think about this in regards to the history convetible the ways the United States has treated Native Americans.

They are able to travel freely, and the red convertible is both a literal source of their freedom and a symbol of it, with its youth and energy.