Explain Lyman's actions in the last paragraph of "The Red Convertible." How is the car humanized?

Lyman intentionally sends the car into the river so that it sinks and is gone forever, just like his brother, Henry.

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The final paragraph of this story is a great paragraph because it once again shows how symbolically important the red convertible is to Lyman and his relationship with his brother.

Lyman and Henry had a wonderful time using the red convertible prior to Henry being sent to war. While his...

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The final paragraph of this story is a great paragraph because it once again shows how symbolically important the red convertible is to Lyman and his relationship with his brother.

Lyman and Henry had a wonderful time using the red convertible prior to Henry being sent to war. While his brother is away in Vietnam, Lyman passionately watched over and cared for the car. Perhaps in his mind, if the car was kept safe, Henry would also be kept safe. The car also simply reminds Lyman of his brother. Spending time with the car reminds him of the good times they had together.

Henry returns a very different person, but the car still remains important. They still go places in it, and Lyman finds ways to force Henry to work on it. The car binds the two boys together. Interestingly, Lyman knows his brother is "broken," so Lyman decides to break the car. He hopes that by fixing the car, Henry will be fixed too. The idea isn't a complete failure, but Henry still commits suicide.

After Lyman knows that Henry is truly gone in that river, he sends the car into the river too. To Lyman, the car symbolized Henry. It symbolized their relationship. It was something that they fixed together and used together. Without Henry, Lyman has no use for the car. His brother is gone, so the car should be gone too. The relationship is gone, so the car should be gone too. Some people bury their loved ones with an item that the deceased person loved. Lyman's actions reflect that attitude too. Another possibility is that submerging the car is how Lyman fully lets go of Henry. Lyman knows that the real Henry has been gone for quite some time, yet he holds onto the memory of who Henry was. The car helps him hold onto those memories. This is similar in concept to keeping the ashes of loved one. The person is gone, but the urn symbolically holds that person in it. Once Henry is also physically gone, Lyman decides to "spread the ashes" and finally let go. He took his "foot off the clutch," and the car "plowed softly into the water." The car is humanized here when we are told that the car's headlights "reach in" and are "searching."

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