How does the setting of Alaska make Lyman feel in "The Red Convertible"?

In "The Red Convertible," being in Alaska makes Lyman feel happy, free, content, and in unity with his brother. It is the culmination of a joyful journey he takes with his brother, Henry, before Henry goes to the war in Vietnam and returns a broken man.

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To understand the answer to this question, it is important to grasp the organization of the short story "The Red Convertible" by Louise Erdrich . The first part tells of the close relationship of two Native American brothers, Lyman and Henry, Jr., and how they buy a red...

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To understand the answer to this question, it is important to grasp the organization of the short story "The Red Convertible" by Louise Erdrich. The first part tells of the close relationship of two Native American brothers, Lyman and Henry, Jr., and how they buy a red convertible and take it on a long drive across the North American continent. In the second part of the story, Henry comes home from the Vietnam War as a broken and disturbed man, and Lyman does everything he can to help heal his brother.

The joyful journey to Alaska presents a contrast with the dark and gloomy period after Henry returns. Soon after Lyman and Henry purchase the car, they head west across the United States on a whim. When they encounter a hitchhiker named Susy and ask her where she lives, she answers that she is going to a town named Chicken in Alaska. On impulse the brothers decide to drive her all the way home. This trip and especially the decision to take Susy home is the high point of their camaraderie and their freedom. They can do anything and go anywhere they want.

They reach the climax of their journey when they arrive in Alaska. Lyman says that "we got up there and we never wanted to leave." He feels that it is the equivalent of paradise, at least for a time. It is summer, and the sun never really sets; night is the equivalent of a short twilight. During the Alaskan summer, foliage grows quickly. Susy's family welcomes them and shows them a great time. In retrospect, especially in light of what happens when they return home and Henry goes off to war, Lyman must have felt that the time he and his brother spent in Alaska was the happiest time in his life.

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