The Red Convertible by Louise Erdrich

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The Red Convertible is a story about two brothers who co-own a red convertible. The story, written by Louise Erdrich, has many themes that include brotherly relations, money-making and post-war psychological trauma. These are relevant social themes because they touch on the lives of men and women in uniform and their families. The author who is of native American origin lived in the 1960 when the country was fighting in the Vietnam war in a move to assert its position as an anti-socialist country. Therefore, the book is a reflection of the life of a typical American soldier before and after the experience in a battlefield. In The Red Convertible by Louise Erdrich family is very central in the psychological support of soldiers returning from war with psychological derangement from the effects of war experiences.

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Industry and money making

Hard work and entrepreneurial acumen is useful in making remarkable strides in a persons financial status.

In the story, Lyman was very industrious from a very young age. His money making tactics made him acceptable by the nuns, allowing him to sell spiritual banquets for the mission door to door. He later found himself working in a restaurant washing dishes in Joliet Cafe and that is when his first big break happened. Lyman eventually rose the ranks to become a manager and later the owner of the cafe.

When a tornado wrecked the restaurant, the insurance paid him a lot of money that he used to share cost with his brother to buy a convertible. Lyman was able to own a hotel and a convertible at sixteen years. It shows how entrepreneurial skills and resilience in business takes a person to high levels

War and post war experiences

Soldiers in the war front fail are disconnected with their families back at home, and occasionally encounter emotional breakdown when they come back home. Henry enlisted in the army, probably because they liked his Indian nose. Lyman constantly wrote letters to him though he wasnt sure if they got to him. On returning back home, henry was a completely changed man. He did not recognize their treasured but now old convertible, worked long night hours and bit his lip at one point. He pressed down the armchairs because he thought he could rocket forward. From Henrys behavior, we can tell how sad it becomes for the family of a returning soldier who is not mentally fit. The family and close accomplices are mostly hit by this encounter.

Brotherly ties

The story is centered on two brothers, Lyman and Henry, who share a lot in common, complement each other and have a strong bond of love that ties them together.

The two brother cost shared in buying the convertible. They rode the convertible together from Chippewa to Alaska and back escorting a girl to her home. Lyman describes his luck with numbers as opposed to his brothers lack of it. The story is typical of two brothers brought up together and having similar ambitions. Although separated by distance, they reunite afterwards. Even in his mental instability, Lyman strives to show Henry love and company.


Family ties and brotherly love are important during the time of crisis. When Henry returned from Vietnam with mental illness, his family supported him through thick and thin. The Red Convertible by Louise Erdrich family is very central in the psychological support of soldiers returning from war with psychological derangement from the effects of war experiences, as seen with Lymans love for his brother despite latters mental illness.

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