In "The Red Convertible," explain the following quote: "We owned it together until his boots filled with water on a windy night and he bought out my share."

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This quote is an example of foreshadowing, as it points towards the tragic ending of this story and how the relationship between Lyman and Henry is brought to a sudden end. Let us remember what happens at the end of the story. Henry, having fought in Vietnam, returns home but is clearly not the same and has been damaged by his experiences. It is only when Lyman and Henry go on another car journey together that Henry fights with Lyman about who should have the car. In the end, he jumps into the river and lets himself be washed away by the current. His act of committing suicide is therefore what Lyman somewhat ironically interprets as "buying out his share," as his death meant that they no longer owned this car together. It is part of the brilliance of Erdrich as a writer that she does not immediately reveal through this quote the tragic ending that awaits Henry, though of course when we get to the end of the story, we come to realise the full meaning of her words. It is Henry who, after jumping into the stream, comments upon how his boots are getting filled with water before he drowns.

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