Symbolism in The Red Convertible

In class we discussed the red convertible as a symbol and what it could stand for. I agree with what most people said—that the car stands as a symbol of the brothers’ relationship together. The car was new and a gateway to other things, just as their relationship took on a new face when opened up to so much freedom. As said in class, the car became a way to uphold the lost relationship during their separation and then became beat up and broken, finally being fixed for a moment, but not long enough to last, as it was pushed into the river along with Henry Jr. I think the symbol is definitely one of their relationship and also, in class we spoke of the freedom that the car represented—in the sense of being able to drive the car wherever they wanted and wherever they wanted.

I also think the red convertible could also be drawn into parallel with two different historical ideals—firstly, of course, that of the Vietnam war. Not only did it take away the freedom of Henry, but it changed the culture, mainly popular culture, of America. It wasn’t only Henry that this happened to, but many people across the entire nation. But more closely related to Henry, the red convertible could also be a symbol of the assimilation of the brothers into the American society. If one could draw a parallel to the historical native Americans that embraced some of the technologies that the European settlers brought to them, the effect of the native Americans loosing their culture, land, and freedom to the Untied States government is very similar to what happens to the boys’ freedom. In this sense, it would be appropriate that Lyman began by explaining how he was so good at making money inside the American system. It shows where the invasion materialism into their society started, with the car as a symbol of the advancement that could be made, but that also brings, in the end, the downfall of the tribe, of the boys.

I also had not thought of

I also had not thought of the assimilation idea in terms of the car and thought that was really interesting. I went back and reviewed the story and that idea makes sense. In terms of the TV, I thought the significance of having a color tv was that the images of a color TV are much more vivid and real than the images of a black and white tv. Therefore, the color tv makes the images perhaps from the news that more harsh for Henry. He is already struggling internally and the tv makes it worse.

I hadn't even thought of the

I hadn't even thought of the assimilation idea. I can definitely see where you're coming from. While reading the story, I just noticed the tv and Henry Jr. trying to give Lyman the keys over and over again. I was really trying to figure these two things out and hadn't really thought of the symbolism of the car. But after listening to the comments in class, I agree with everything you said. However, the tv still baffles me. I think it was just to show how the world had changed while he was at war and when he came back, it was just too much for him. That's all I could out of it. As for the keys, I thought of someone waiting to die, severing all ties with this world to move on to the next.

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