The Red Convertible

by Louise Erdrich

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Topics for Further Study

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Research assimilation and acculturation as they apply to Native Americans. What are the main differences between the two, and what are some examples of each? Relate your findings to the story and see what additional insights into the characters emerge.

Some critics do not believe that Henry's death is a suicide, while others feel certain that it is. What do you think, and why? Choose a member of your class who disagrees with you and conduct a debate. Let the class (or a panel) judge the debate.

Compare the Chippewa to two other tribes, such as the Cherokee, Sioux, Pawnee, Seminole, Navajo, Hopi, or Apache. What similarities and differences do you find in the tribes' lifestyles, religions, dress, arts, traditions, social structures, etc.? Consider these cultural aspects in light of stereotypes that portray all Native Americans as being similar. Create a report on each tribe, comparing all three and presenting facts that will help dispel their stereotypes.

Read about post-traumatic stress disorder in war veterans, especially veterans of the Vietnam War. Also, read about how Vietnam veterans were received upon returning home after the war. Write a journal as if you are a returning Vietnam veteran describing your homecoming, and record your feelings and thoughts about the future.

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