What effect does the setting have on the characters or plot of "The Red Convertible"?

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jamesk8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Setting is the time, location, and circumstances in which the story takes place.

The Red Convertible is a story about the relationship between two Native American Indian brothers.  This story is told from the point of view of Lyman Lamartine.  Lyman and his brother Henry are living on a reservation in North Dakota.  As Lyman tells the story it is 1974. (setting)

Lyman and Henry buy a red convertible on a visit to Winnipeg. Henry and Lyman drive all around in this convertible they bought together.  They drive all around the Dakotas, Montana, and end up in Alaska.  They spend most of the summer in Alaska before returning home to North Dakota.

Henry is called into the military when they return home.  Henry returns after three years and he is a changed man.  His mood is very dark, sullen, and unpredictable.  Lyman longs for Henry to be the same person he was before he left for the military.  He tries to get Henry's attention by convincing him to make repairs on the red convertible.  This cheers up Henry, for a little while.

Lyman and Henry decide to take a drive to the Red River. Henry's mood turns dark again at the river.  He jumps into the river.  The current carries him away.