Louise erdrich the red convertible symbolism essay
The red convertible symbolizes the life the brothers shared before Henry went to war. It was shiny and impressive and new, and a way to freedom. Afterwards, he was damaged, and can't live on. He kills himself, and isn't a living part of Lyman's life anymore, just as the car can't be. That part of their life together is gone.
When Lyman and Henry get to the river in the red convertible, it symbolizes the power of a present trauma over a past life of love. On the drive, Lyman thinks he sees "calm, more peaceful" thoughts echoed on "his face," thoughts of "bare fields and windbreakers and houses." By the riverside, Lyman knows "the squeezing and tightening" he feels is how Henry feels inside: "I knew I was feeling what Henry was going through." Unable to "stand it," Lyman jumps up and shakes him by the shoulders yelling, "[W]ake up, wake up, wake up!" Here the red convertible symbolizes failure, lost chance and lost hope.
After Henry returns from Vietnam, torn up and agitated psychologically and, in some ways, physically (a condition represented and symbolized by the lip he bit through), the red convertible symbolizes both lost hope and youth and, ironically, a return to hope and youth. Of course, Lyman treated the red convertible in a disastrous way to manipulate it into a vehicle of hope for Henry. Lyman hoped his actions might make this object from Henry's loving, active, happy past into the sort of object that might absorb Henry's horrible thoughts and engender life-loving, new thoughts.The red convertible symbolizes the life the brothers shared before Henry went to war. It was shiny and impressive and new, and a way to freedom. Afterwards, he was damaged, and can't live on. He...