In "The Red Convertible," what are the traits, strengths, or weaknesses of one character? As the story progresses, to what degree do his/her traits become more or less prominent, and how does that work out for the character (does it have good effects or bad effects)?

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I think Lyman would make a good choice to write about for this question. When the story begins, it is made clear to readers that Lyman is a very determined person that works very hard. It's why he is able to make so much money at such a young age...

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I think Lyman would make a good choice to write about for this question. When the story begins, it is made clear to readers that Lyman is a very determined person that works very hard. It's why he is able to make so much money at such a young age and advance himself in his chosen line of work:

It wasn't long before I was promoted to busing tables, and then the short-order cook quit and I was hired to take her place. No sooner than you know it I was managing the Joliet. The rest is history. I went on managing. I soon became part owner, and of course there was no stopping me then. It wasn't long before the whole thing was mine.

After Henry gets back from the war, Lyman's determination and hardworking characteristics don't change. He is still a very motivated person; however, his energies are directed in a different direction. Instead of working hard to earn money for himself or the family, he now works hard at trying to get Henry to recover from whatever mental illness he has. Lyman does all kinds of things to try and get the Henry he knows and loves back. Lyman even goes so far as to take a hammer to their beloved car:

One night Henry was off somewhere. I took myself a hammer. I went out to that car and I did a number on its underside. Whacked it up. Bent the tail pipe double. Ripped the muffler loose. By the time I was done with the car it looked worse than any typical Indian car that has been driven all its life on reservation roads, which they always say are like government promises—full of holes.

Lyman goes through a lot of effort destroying a car that he loves, but he's doing it for Henry's benefit. Lyman's efforts do begin to work on restoring Henry too:

He was out there all day, and at night he rigged up a little lamp, ran a cord out the window, and had himself some light to see by while he worked. He was better than he had been before, but that's still not saying much.

Henry works and works on the car until it is fixed again. Then Henry invites Lyman to go for a ride in it, and Lyman thinks that his efforts have finally paid off:

So I jumped at the chance one day when Henry seemed friendly. It's not that he smiled or anything. He just said, "Let's take that old shitbox for a spin." Just the way he said it made me think he could be coming around.

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One character you could write about from "The Red Convertible" is Henry. He is a strong and still person at the beginning of the story. Lyman, his brother, observes Henry "asleep with his arms thrown wide." Driving around in the car he shares with his brother, Henry is clearly comfortable and at peace. Henry is also a subtly funny man who says, "I always wondered what it was like to have long pretty hair." Finally, Henry is a patient man who has a knack for working on his car. 

However, after he serves in Vietnam, Henry becomes scared and depressed. He is "never comfortable sitting still anywhere but always up and moving around." Instead of being still, Henry is forever restless. While Henry was always ready with a joke in the past, now "you couldn't get him to laugh." When Henry tries to laugh, it comes out like a choking noise. Henry changes after his military service, but he still enjoys working on his car and spending time with his brother, Lyman. By working patiently on the car, he begins to restore himself to health. His patience working on the car works out well for him and has good effects, as it helps him regain his sanity after his military service in Vietnam. He begins to feel restored before he perishes in the river. 

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