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Strong Stories From an Outstanding Author
Normally I don't enjoy reading short stories but this collection held my interest from beginning to end. It might be because I can somewhat identify with the author; she makes use of vocabulary from the Ojibwe language and I'm part Potawatomi and have briefly studied our language--the two are very similar and that adds richness to the reading for me. Most of her Ojibwe words the reader will understand from their use within the sentence but at times I thought a glossary might have been helpful.
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Posted July 20, 2012
“The Red Convertible” (Erdrich, 2003, p. 1028) is centered between the relationship of two brothers. Lyman Lamartine, who narrates the story, lives on a Native American Reservation. Lyman talks about his experiences as he embraces and keeps alive the memorable and unforgettable times he had with his brother, Henry. One of the strongest points in Lyman’s character is his compassionate and caring personality. Although life was going well for Lyman, he portrays to be jealous and mischievous at times. In spite of this, he faces a terrible devastation at the end, for he is surprisingly unaware of the worst, shocking tragedy yet to come.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
The significance of the story’s correlation between the car and the brothers become apparent after the car comes into the scene. The car’s most powerful contribution relates to the bonding between the brothers and the passion for the car. Therefore, symbolism plays a role between the relationship of the brothers and the attraction for the car.
Later on in the story, revenge and jealousy emerges as Lyman gets the cold shoulder from Henry after Henry’s return from military training. Lyman angrily lashes out as he destroys the car, but their relationship becomes mended after Henry fixes the car back to normal and all is well.
After the relationship was restored, Lyman and Henry decided to go to the river. The drive over there was exhilarating for the brothers; the air smelled fresh and the car sounded smooth. Lyman could sense Henry’s contentment by his facial expressions. They experienced a rejuvenating bonding that day.
Things appear to be going great, but the story takes a turn after their arrival. They finally arrived at the river. Henry and Lyman step out of the car, bicker for a while, and finally say their apologies. Then, the change starts to happen when Henry decides to take a drink of alcohol. After a little while, Henry starts to feeling good. He starts dancing, laughing, joking, and acting silly. He complains of feeling hot, so he submerges himself into the water. Suddenly, Lyman observes Henry being quickly taken away by the fast flowing water and debris. Lyman abruptly leaps into the river hoping to save his defenseless brother. Unfortunately, it is too late.
The sad part of the story is when Henry drifts away and is "gone" (Erdrich, 2003, p. 1034) forever. To this end, Lyman who is torn with devastation and hopelessness, gets out of the river water, proceeds to the car and starts it. He then advances the car into the water and steps out as Lyman clarifies, "I get out, close the door, and watch it plow softly into the water" (Erdrich, 2003, p. 1034). All he hears now is the sound of the water moving swiftly.
Erdrich, L. (2003). The Red Convertible. In Sylvan Barnet et al (Eds.). Literature for
Composition. (6th ed). (pp. 1028-1034). New York: Longman.
Posted October 30, 2011
If you like short stories, this is the book for you. Yes, Louise Erdrich is a great novel writer, but her short stories are just as good if not better. They are are full of character and voice that makes you want to continue reading.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.