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The Red Convertible By Louise Erdrich

1356 words - 5 pages

PTSD, also known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, can cause change and bring about pain and stress in many different forms to the families of the victims of PTSD. These changes can be immense and sometimes unbearable. PTSD relates to the characters relationship as a whole after Henry returns from the army and it caused Henry and Lyman’s relationship to crumble. The Red Convertible that was bought in the story is a symbol of their brotherhood. The color red has many different meanings within the story that relates to their relationship.
A key symbol in this story is the red convertible. The vehicle as a whole symbolizes the strong bond that was once held between the brothers. The color red has many different meanings. In some Native American cultures the color red means beauty, faith and happiness but sometimes it means blood, violence, and energy. Within the story there were two brothers that loved each other dearly. They had love for each other and everything was great between them. One day Henry lost his job and his brother Lyman had already had money saved up and they went to Winnipeg to get away and there they saw the car, the red convertible. Since both of the brothers were so close, they decided to buy the car. Both brothers loved the car just as much as they loved each other. The color of the car symbolized the love these two had for each other because the color was bright and vibrant and the car represents the strength of the actually bond between these two. After they made their trip to Alaska the car needed repairs. At the same time Henry was called to serve his country. When the car needed repairs, so did the relationship between the brothers. When Henry returned, he was not well and suffered from PTSD.
Many families are victims of PTSD but the biggest victim is the person that is diagnosed with the disorder. The journal, Who Develops Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder written by Emily J. Ozer and Daniel S. Weiss, states how people are diagnosed and what causes PTSD. According to the journal, “...diagnosis of PTSD requires exposure to a traumatic event that causes extreme fear, horror, or helplessness. Traumatic events are defined as experiences that involve death, serious injury, or threat of death.” Also, the people that have experienced one of the traumatic events often have reoccurring traumas, avoidance of reminders, and numbing of responsitivity. These statements provide us with an accurate description of what PTSD is and what symptoms are used to diagnose people with PTSD. The story states that Henry was called in to serve his country. “He wasn’t such a hot letter writer, and only got off two before the enemy caught him” (Edrich, 234). It is a known fact that during times of captivity enemies would tortured their enemies in which in turn could have caused immense terror for the victim. Henry has suffered immensely during his time of captivity because when he came home his family could tell he was different. “He was quiet, so...

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