The Red Convertible and the themes of war
The red convertible by Louise Edrich is a depiction on how difficult is for the Lamartine family and especially the two brothers to deal with the after-effects of the war following the return of Lyman’s brother from Vietnam. The effect of the war if first felt deeply by the family when Lyman is drafted into the war. This effectively works him down and strips him of his innocence and carefree lifestyle. The effect of post-traumatic stress takes the toll on Lyman as he bites his lips till it bleeds without even realizing. These actions eventually takes toll on his brother in that Henry feel helpless and tries to support his brother through all the available means. The emotional effect of the Vietnam is also evident in Lyman’s life.
The fear of being hurt of eventually losing life in battle has a long resounding emotional effect on the life of soldiers. This is because the circumstances that force them to end their enemies’ lives are beyond their control and this breeds the effect of deep emotional trauma that run long after the end of their service or war. This is clearly seen in the life of Lyman after his return from Vietnam. The constant emotional struggle in the life of Lyman definitely results to severe mental stress that his brother’s efforts and helping hand seem unable to reduce.
The story is a pointer to the fact it is very hard for one to live on the ravages of war and most end up committing suicide. The effect of the war if further demonstrated in the fact that in the beginning the two brothers were very close and shared everything in common. This is demonstrated in the joint purchase of the red convertible that they both loved. Loneliness if felt in the life of the younger brother after the older brother leaves for the Vietnam war but the younger brother’s resolve to renovate the car in anticipation of his brother’s return.
This did not seem to be in that war had completely changed the life of Lyman and post-traumatic stress disorder is acutely demonstrated in the way his brother had tremendously changed. According to Edrich (514), “But he was quiet, so quiet, and never comfortable sitting still anywhere but always up and moving around.” This is a direct sign of Post Traumatic Stress disorder that affects soldiers after the return from the war. The story is well illustrated in an omniscient manner that allows the reader to digest the thoughts of himself while at the same time giving us the opportunity to gain our own insight of everyone in the story.
The tragic effect of war is also demonstrated in the Sophocles’ Antigone. In this classic piece of art 441 BC, the death of two of Antigone’s brothers leaves her helpless. Antigone feels completely helpless without giving her brother-Thebes last respect in the form of a descent burial. While King Creon feels that rebels do not deserve any right in the society including the right to a descent burial. Antigone is immensely affected by the loss of her two brothers in the war and thus feels that to completely satisfy her ambition and live in peace; she has to give her brother a decent burial. This point to the devastating effect of war and the permanent marks the war leaves on those who are left behind.
Antigone cannot leave with the post-traumatic stress related to the loss of her brothers. In the ensuing spectacle, she manages to give her late brother a decent burial which then leads to her own death. This reinforces the theme of war as very tragic and the fact that leaving after war is not easy. Antigone could not live with the reality that her brother was dead and there was need to resume her normal life. Despite the fact that she was the grand-daughter of the King, the effects of the war forced to disobey the commands the king and precedes to burry her brother.
The effects of war are also well demonstrated in the system of rule of the King. Creon could not live with the fact that a dead man has nothing to do with the things of the world. War made a resolve in him that no descent burial could be given to rebels. The levels of empathy felt for the Antigone in the whole piece of work is mesmerizing in that the intense stress and pain associated with the loss of her two brothers in the war makes her disobey all the odds and do the extraordinary.
There is wealth of literal works that are directly related to the theme of war a notable example is a poem by Nancy L. Meek, “The Sacrifice”
“Will he ever find peace here on this earth?
Before death’s fingers encircle his throat
Or will peace remain just beyond his girth
Abandoning him eternally to a land remote” (Meek, 1)
In the poem, Meek explores the loneliness and the existence of certain death in a distant land. This demonstrates the tragic situations soldiers find themselves in during the war. In addition to the above, “the poet briefly describes the state of mind of a soldier on returning from a war and that war is a manifestation of death and destruction and an exhibit of all the negativities of life”