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"The Red Convertible" in "Literature and the Writing Process" 9th Edition by Elizabeth McMahan, Robert W. Funk, Susan Day, Linda Coleman is a very interesting story which is reflective of human values and the awe inspiring changes that shape our life. The story inculcates the habit of assessment and analytical review while shedding light on the human values and elements which help to shape our daily lives on a regular basis. The idea is to get acquainted with how the human mind and approaches work and change with the passage of time. There are events surrounding our daily lives which can and do end up influencing us in every walk of life. The story is about two brothers, their associating bond, life progression, their red convertible and the induction of one of the brother as drafts and his deputation to Vietnam War gives an insight on how the life is shaped in view of hardened and horrific experiences.
This makes "The Red Convertible" by Louise Erdrich a tale of symbols, life, factors and values which appear so differently from various perspectives yet are common to all and positively or adversely shape the lives accordingly. The two brothers raised and brought up in the same manner are as different as can be presumed. The elder brother has money coming to him easily while other has to struggle and work hard for everything and yet earns less. Eventually the elder brother Henry buys a red convertible and both brothers travel across states taking a female friend along with the way. On return the brother (Henry) who bought the car is drafted in the army and heads to Vietnam gifting the car to the other brother (Lyman). Henry returns a disturbed man and eventually Lyman destroys the car so as to raise the interest of Henry who ends up fixing the car and they go on a ride again where Henry appears normal but eventually drowns himself and the car in the red river.
The story tells about the bonds of relationships between brothers and also shows how sad events like a war can negatively impact young minds thus making it stressful and threatening the survival while disturbing the normal living routine. The brotherly bond, fun, enjoyment is evident throughout the story and it is symbolic that some things are common to those who seek them naturally. However at the same time is also clear that no matter how close the bond and how much brother might want to support each other but some wounds are left so deep that no blood relatives can identify them either.
Speaking of symbols since brothers belonged to a former Indian tribe the significance of color red is pronounced which reflects, life and energy as evident from the car and its inspiration for both brothers. Similarly the return to river is also reflecting of the same but the mention of the color black in between signifies death which indicates that all good things are bound to come to an end. As is the case where Henry who is unable to let go of the horrors of the
Vietnam War ends up taking his own life and destroying the material piece which had been a source of aspiration and life for the two brothers. So just as enjoyment and life is pen to all whether we seize the moment or not death is also evident which finds a means to route its ways to the person its seeks.