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. Need help with The Red Convertible in Louise Erdrich’s The Red Convertible? Check out our revolutionary side-by-side summary and analysis.

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Eventually their mother comes in and turns off the TV. The setting briefly extends as far as Alaskawhen Lyman and Henry embark on a road trip.

Rather than respond with anger or resentment, he fixed the car so that Lyman would have it. But unlike the car, Henry cannot be repaired, and he realizes this: He has become the sacrificial lamb. Initially, it represents their close companionship. The Chippewa originally settled in a large area ranging from present-day Ontario and Quebec to Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. When Henry comes home, he is very different. Once Henry is dead, Lyman knows that he has lost his innocence and his connection to his brother, and, therefore, he has no use for the car.

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Lyman decided to try to revive Henry by damaging the car so that Henry could fix it. Lyman dares to hope that the repaired car means a repaired relationship. Chavkin, Allan Richard, ed. His friend Ray helped him bag the picture and hide it in a closet, but he still remembers the stark difference in their faces every time he passes the closet.

In his despair, Henry pushes the car into the river that took Henry. Erdrich is known for her insightful, moving, and sometimes amusing depictions of modern Chippewa life. In describing metaphors, scholars often use the terms vehicle and tenor. This page was last edited on 3 Decemberat There were no Chippewa doctors on the reservation, and they feared that a hospital would either reject Henry or attempt to solve his problems by giving him too many drugs.

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I owned that car along with my brother Henry Junior. He is seen as a tragic figure who represents conflict between white culture and Native American culture. Teach your students to analyze literature like LitCharts does. In the end, the car is the literal vehicle that takes the brothers to the site of their tragic last meeting.

This book is written to be more easily understood than other books on the subject, which are more clinical in language and tone. Although he seemed to be improving when he finished fixing the car, this lighter mood was temporary—or perhaps even feigned.

How can we improve? The Red Convertible by Louise Erdrich. This trade led many Chippewas to the prairies, where they gradually adopted a lifestyle different from that of their woodland forebears.

The Red Convertible

With this connotation, we can take the phrase in the first paragraph to refer to Henry going convertibld the military, this his boots fill with water during training.

Lyman Lamartine narrates the story and recounts memories of his relationship with his brother, telling of the good times they had with the car until Henry’s deployment to Vietnam.

Erdrlch, we know that they own it together, and, of course, the ownership switches in the final sentences. The relationship between the brothers fractures, and Lyman tries everything he can think of to hopefully mend the circuits that connected them together.

The Red Convertible Summary & Analysis from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes

Lyman was able to buy a red convertible Olds-mobile with his brother because he had always been good with money. He was jumpy, silent, moody, and detached, and he rarely laughed or smiled.

My students love how organized the handouts are and enjoy tracking the themes as a class. Henry continues to be withdrawn as he fixes the car in the winter, but when spring comes, he seems renewed if only temporarily. This journey is not a pleasurable one; Henry must go without the company of his brother and the potent force of the red convertible.


Together, Lyman convfrtible Henry used the car to leave the reservation where they lived and to see what was beyond cobvertible borders.

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

Erdrich claims her creative inspiration stems in part from her Native past. That summer, they took the car on a trip without an itinerary or any plans.

Describing Henry after the war, Lyman remarks:. The Indian brave no longer fights for his own land and food but in a foreign war in which he has no stake.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. One night, Susy comes to see them. However, instead of talking to Henry about what happened to him or what he needs, Lyman takes action in silence by destroying the car.

The Red Convertible (1984)

This image foreshadows the events to come, and Henry’s fading away from his family. The site louisse become a place of meditation and somber reflection. They’re like having in-class notes for every discussion! 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.

The main symbol used in “The Red Convertible” is the car itself. Erdrich purposely gives the reader this distorted view of Henry, and the conclusion to be drawn from this rather bizarre scene, this strange twist to a traditional story, is that Henry has been sacrificed for no good reason.

The author amplifies the notion of an exploited Henry on several levels. InErdrich entered the first co-educational class at Dartmouth College. 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.