Why did Lyman refer to himself in the third person at the end of the first paragraph of the story?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Lyman refers to himself in the third person at the end of the first paragraph of the story to emphasize to the reader the main theme of the narrative, the relationship between him and his brother.  Lyman says, "Now Henry owns the whole car, and his younger brother Lyman (that's myself), Lyman walks everywhere he goes", highlighting for the reader how, through the loss of the convertible, his relationship with his brother has irrevocably changed, and will never be the same again.  Lyman uses a switch to the third person one other time in the book, at the point where he first begins to hope that Henry will come out of the deep depression that has tormented him since his return from the war.  He says, "We had always been together before.  Henry and Lyman".  Again, the switch emphasizes the importance of their relationship, as it should have been this time, as equals.

The brief switch to the third person in the first paragraph has a symbolic effect as well.  Lyman has a position of importance as the first person narrator of the story, but in telling how, through the loss of the convertible, Henry now has ascendance in their relationship - Henry owns while Lyman now walks - Lyman also give up for a brief moment his prominent place as storyteller, stepping back briefly both literally and figuratively to let someone else have the limelight.

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The Red Convertible

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