The Red Convertible by Louise Erdrich – Essay Example

The paper "The Red Convertible by Louise Erdrich" is an excellent example of an essay on literature. The narrator seems like a friendly guy who takes a relatively light view of life. Although he achieved ownership of a restaurant by the time he was 16 and lost everything in a tornado, his attitude is to just keep going forward with what you had left. He’s thoughtful and loving toward his family, buying his mother a TV and taking care of his brother through their connection with the car. Both he and his brother seem like people I would like to know before Henry goes away. When Henry comes back, he is “jumpy and means.” He doesn’t laugh, sit still or notice when he bites through his lip. The red convertible symbolizes innocence. It gave them the ability to go everywhere and they chose to enjoy nature. “We took off driving all one whole summer … some people hang on to details when they travel but we didn’t let them bother us and just lived our everyday lives here to there.” Lyman tries damaging the car to give his brother a way to work back to innocence but it doesn’t work so he gives the car back to Lyman. When Henry drowns in front of him, though, Lyman’s innocence also dies so he pushes the car in the river. The effect of the final paragraph on the reader is a saddened shock and mournful understanding. This ending is exactly right for the story because it emphasizes the connection between the brothers, the symbolism of the car and the fact that Henry drowned and Lyman dove in trying to save him. It can also be argued that this ending is not necessary because it is already clear from the earlier narrative that Henry died and his calm acceptance of the fact that his boots were filling with water indicates that his wish is to drown. While there is some validity to this argument, including the last paragraph ties everything together and gives the story a deeper meaning. 
This is an anti-war story because of the way that Henry is changed in a bad way. He cannot get rid of the horrors he was part of in the war and drowns on purpose as the only way to get rid of them.