Literary Analysis Paper

‘The Red Convertible’ Analysis

In the story, there are two main characters Lyman and Henry, and their lives revolve around the simple vehicle, which is a sign of their strong brotherhood. Henry depicts a person who is broken by the years of war and struggles for returning to normal life. Lyman is careful and kind, he is ready for everything to help his brother, but, at the same time, he does not understand a mental state of Henry. The struggle of characters forces Henry to commit a suicide, as he does not see a sense in life after living during the war for three years as I mention when I write my reaction paper

The author leaves that question without answer, but after analyzing the ending of the story it is obvious that Henry]s death was not by accident. He is suffering from traumatic stress syndrome and he cannot have a normal life after fighting in the horrible war for three years. Biting lips during the eating, he even does not taste the blood, which has mixed with his food. His careful brother Lyman manages to help him: he even has broken the red convertible in order to make Henry fix it and come back to ordinary life, but it does not help. Jumping into the water, Henry does not tell anything about his intention to his brother, so it is the confirmation of Henry’s deliberate suicide. The water means for man the chance to escape from pain, dark memories, and never come back. When Lyman realizes that he is not able to rescue his brother from the death, he puts the vehicle to the edge of the river and lets it fell down into the water. As Endrich writes: ‘we owned it together until his boots filled with water on a windy nigh.’

At first sight the reader sees Henry as a Native American, who takes part in the Vietnam War, but then he is described as a broken soldier, who manage to hide his pain under the mask of indifference. The Vietnam War has changed Henry’s life. He was a marine in the Vietnam War, and after the returning home he became silent, moody, restless, and smiled rarely. The war changed him, but Lyman remained the same, and this is the conflict between different characters. Because of Henry’s frustration and mental illness it took him a long time to fix vehicle. Henry forces himself to believe that restored car can make their relationship better. But soon he understands that his plan cannot be realized and decides to use another intention. Now, he just wants to forget everything from past and escape from it. His refusal from car, which Lyman suggested him, means that he is devastated and his soul is ill. Beidler and Barton note that ‘all through the unfolding of the story, the state of the car is a parallel to the emotional state of Henry.’

Overall, Erdich gives all the necessary elements needed in a story in order to engage the audience and make them feel the same as the characters. Author attests that essentially all that is loved is lost. Although Lyman loved his brother and the red convertible, he pushed it into the river to disregard all memories associated with it, especially those pertaining to his brother. The only thing left to answer is ‘How do you know when to let go of something that has so much value to you? ‘The answer is when that something no longer has the same value it has had when that other valuable thing is gone.


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