Louise Erdrich's The Red Convertible Essay

1283 words - 6 pages

The book of the red convertible begins in the native America where two brothers staying with each other. There is the family consisting of Lyman Martine and the other brothers such as Henry. There is a very strong relationship in the family such that the family is bind together before the occurrence of the Vietnam War experience in the war. The story began on a very humble start when the insurance company pays Lyman for the claim against the destruction of his restaurant by tornado. The laying off the worker by Lyman and his elder brother Henry did not in any way represent the values of the society that normally echo on the unity and brotherhood in the society (Erdrich 310). The laying off represented the individual aspect of the persons living in the current world and their failure to recognize people like their brothers and sister as it used to be in the past.
By picking other native women on their way out during their free time, represented how the two practiced the society value and it showed that the family was the basic unit of the community and not individual unit. The two brothers drove the native woman home in Alaska at a place called chicken and spent the entire summer with her family showed how important the individuals in the society were important for each other and thus were inseparable. The individuals are concoction of many people hence they grow through the assistance of other members of the society.
There is a lack of community in the story of the red convertible when Henry returned home after nine months of service in Vietnam. He was imprisoned for another six months after which he was released and returned home. He comes back home an angry totally changed man. The love and unity that he showed to his brother before the short journey to Vietnam was long gone, he came back a very mean and nervous man. He spent most of his days in solitary and could not share the problems that he was facing. He believed too much in himself and did not open up to share some of the challenges he faced while in the Vietnam with his brother. The individualism in him made him commit suicide by jumping into a flowing river since he did not get the necessary support from the family. His death proved that for a complete coexistence to take place the individuals must speak their minds out to avoid such things like suicide (Erdrich 312). The question that many will remain to ask is whether had he shared the experiences with his brother he would have committed such scornful act.
Society is a coherent system of interrelatedness that is unique among communities. Every community has its own special way of doing things and has a common culture. Cultural conformity may to some extend determine the level of individuality. The individualists assume responsibility for talking for themselves and are entitled to their own opinion not necessarily that of society. The aspect of the American dream is the overall enshrinement in materialism and is largely...

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