Think or Fight



English 113


August 31, 2004


“The Red Convertible” starts with two happy Indian brothers, Henry and Lyman. The year is 1970 and these two are best friends living life as it comes with no worries. That summer they run into a red convertible and buy it. Henry and Lyman are carefree at the time so they just drive all around North West America. As they tour the North they run into Susy, a hitchhiker. She needs to go back home to Alaska, and like that Henry and Lyman are on route North. The brothers stay with Susy in Alaska the whole summer, just enjoying life. Finally, the seasons start changing so Henry and Lyman tell Susy goodbye. Just before Leaving Susy shows them her hair and how its so long. See, she always bunned it up so no one knew that it was this long. At first they were amazed, but then Henry acted funny because life was not so serious at the time. The brothers arrive back home to find out Henry has been drafted by the Army. Living life not so seriously, Henry just goes along and fights in the Vietnam War. Three years later he returns, a defeated soldier. Henry is never the same after war. He couldn’t sit still or enjoy anything like he use to. He even bit his lip bloody watching TV, ”Once I was in the room watching TV with Henry and I heard his teeth click at something. I looked over, and he’d bitten through his lip” (Erdich 367). The story ends with Henry drowning himself. Henry changes from a joyful happy brother to a man of living death after war showing he should of thought some before joining the Army.


Henry made a decision to join the army without putting any thought into it. Being a laid back Indian from the North West my guess is he had no idea exactly what he was getting into. After summer, the news came about draft decisions and Henry so graciously marched alongside without hesitation. No serious thoughts were made as Henry neared to leave home. Lyman says, ”I don’t wonder that the army was so glad to get my brother that they turned him into a Marine… We liked to tease him that they really wanted him for his Indian nose. He had a big nose and sharp as a hatchet,” (Erdich 367). With this carefree attitude Henry leaves for war. I think Henry should of avoided war by staying in Canada or hiding in Alaska as he frequented it. What Henry failed to do is realize what he is getting into and what it leads to.


Henrys lack of decision leads to his unhappiness after the war and eventual suicide. Coming home he is a changed man, acting hateful and bitter. The war changed Henry from a happy outgoing kid to a miserable person. Henry should of thought about what he was getting into before joining the army.