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Red Convertible Symbolism - Relationships Through Symbolism

Autor:   •  November 3, 2011  •  Essay  •  944 Words (4 Pages)  •  2,241 Views

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Relationships Through Symbolism

In Louise Edrich's short story, "The Red Convertible", the author depicts the horrors of war that oblige on the relationships of two brothers, Henry and Lyman. Symbolism is used to reveal the tests and hardships Henry brings home from the Vietnam War, as well as the difficulties Lyman is suffering from due to the separation from his brother. Louise Edrich uses the red convertible as a symbol of Henry and Lyman's relationship as brothers, as well as the war-torn relationship Henry faces due to being a solider in the war.

The red convertible stands as a symbol for Henry and Lyman's' brotherly relationship before war. The two brothers were generally close and did many activities together. One summer, the two boys bought a car together, the red "olds" convertible, "The car belonged to us, and our pockets were empty" (394). The brothers pooled their money together, basically spending every penny, to purchase this new toy. The purchasing of the car together illustrates the strong relationship and the unity of the two. That summer, the boys just went off driving, "we went places in that car, me and Henry. We took off driving one whole summer" (394). The two taking off and driving around together for an entire summer also demonstrates the strong bond between the two. As well as the normal relationship the brothers maintained, by spending time together, and making memories together. The red convertible symbolizes the brothers' strong relationship. Buying, restoring, and traveling around together in the convertible is a representation of their normal brotherly relationship. The red convertible symbolized unity and bonding between the brothers. The red convertible symbolizes the normal relationship of Henry and Lyman.

The red convertible also symbolizes the changes in Henry and Lyman's relationship after war. When Henry is drafted and goes off to fight in the Vietnam War, their relationship all the sudden changes. Henry returns from war three years later, a disfigured and changed man, "When he came home, though, Henry was very different" (396). Henry came back and was not the same he was quiet and uncomfortable. Henry loses interest in the convertible; "Henry had not even looked at the car since he'd gotten home" (397). Henry had lost interest in the red convertible that he once loved so much. Losing interest in the red convertible is a symbol for the relationship of the brothers as well. Henry loses interest in the car, as well as losing interest in his brother. The separation of the boys is demonstrated by Lyman taking the car apart, "I went out to the car and did a number on its underside. Whacked it up" (397). Lyman wrecks and takes


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