Sunday, November 16, 2014

Rough Draft for 2nd essay

The “Red Convertible” by Louise Erdrich is culturally significant in the writings of Native Americans. The reading of this short story is typical of post-traumatic stress syndrome of a Native American man and the lack of resources that would have helped Henry cope with his stress. The US government has a long history of marginalizing native people.  The government is not the only ones that have taken advantage of Native Americans.  People assume that the first slaves in the New World were African Americans but that is not true. Native Americans were the first slaves of the New World. Squanto the famous Indian who helped the Pilgrims navigate their first successful year was captured as a young boy and was enslaved until he returned to his people. He was fluent in English and probably can be credited with the survival of the Pilgrims that harsh first year.  
There are many such examples in American history of the disenfranchisement of the Native American. The time period of this short story is during the Viet Nam war with many Americans criticized the war and the climate was one of hostility toward returning veterans.  The government asked a young native man to go to a country where he was unfamiliar and fight in battles with enemies that were not his enemies but enemies of the government.
The red convertible in this story represents to me the importance of the horse to the Plains Indians. The introduction of the horse to the Plains Indians was momentous because it meant greater freedom for the nomadic hunting tribes. The Native Americans were able to move unrestricted in search of hunting game.  This is major because before Henry goes to the Marines, Henry and his brother, Lyman take a trip throughout the United States and even up to Alaska where they stay with Native Americans from Alaska.
The Henry, that returned from Viet Nam was a silent shadow of the young energetic man full of promise and hope for his future.  He was used and then when no longer useful sent home.  Henry is full of shame and nightmares about his service to a government that only rejects Henry.
Henry’s last line is “My boots are filling up.” (Erdrich 3394). Native American People normally wore moccasins. Are the boots the last anchor of the white man in weighing the Indian down?   

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