“The Red Convertible” Louis Erdrich
The Red Convertible is a story about two brothers in which a red car plays an important role. This is a story about the trauma and difficulties that war can bring to people’s relationships and how it affects the personality of those who have visited it. After one of Henry’s brothers, on his return from the war, completely changes in his behavior, which significantly worries the second brother Lyman (Gardner et al. 464). For the return of his brother, he uses a red convertible, hoping to arouse his old feelings in him. In the end, Luman and Henry get into a fight, and the story ends with Henry going for a swim and drowning. Thus, the title of the story, Red Convertible, represents the main symbol denoting youth, energy, freedom, and the relationship between brothers. I liked this story, I find it very touching and exciting.
“A Good Man is Hard to Find” Flannery O’Connor
At first, it seems that this is a familiar story about an average family. However, towards the end, it takes an entirely unexpected turn. In this story, the grandmother forces her son to go on a family trip to Tennessee (Gardner et al. 388). On the day of the trip, an older woman is reminiscing about her youth. She incorrectly points the way, which is why they get into unfamiliar territory. There they meet a gang of robbers who start threatening the whole family. As a result, the whole family is killed, and an elderly woman holds a discussion with criminals about selfishness and also becomes killed. After reading it, I was left with vague feelings, as it was difficult to understand the essence of the story immediately. After rereading it, I came to the conclusion that the short story puts the moral that people cannot be good people, thinking only about themselves. Thus, without thinking about others, people substitute for suffering, which in no way can go in parallel with the good.
“The Weary Blues” Langston Hughes
The poem The Weary Blues generates depressive and sad feelings when reading. The author tells how he heard an African-American man singing while walking down the street. His song penetrates the soul to the very depths; he sings about the difficulties of his life. Moreover, first, he sings about how he can cope with everything, and then he regrets that he did not die (Gardner et al. 664). Music in this context plays the role of a means to alleviate suffering. This tool helps a person to convey their thoughts and experiences share them with the whole world so that other individuals understand that they are not alone in their difficulties.
“All the Time I Prey to Buddha” Kobayashi Issa
This poem struck me with its brevity. Since it contains only three lines, however, it makes people think about many aspects of people’s lives, worldviews, and opinions. The absurdity of this work is that one of the main tenets of Buddhism is that a person should not kill (Gardner et al. 592). However, in the second line, the author says that he continues to kill flies. This shows the duplicity of many representatives of society, who usually say one thing, but act entirely differently. Perhaps the author is trying to point out what false beliefs people have formed and how absurd they can be.
Gardner, Janet, et al. A Portable Anthology (5th edition). Bedford St. Martins, 2021.