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"Why don't you dance"

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"Why don't you dance" by Raymond Carver The story is set in suburban America in the 1970'es. The main character, who remains nameless throughout the whole story, hast just moved his whole bedroom out into the street, lamps plugged in and all. The time is backed by the appliances - the boy turns on the TV set and makes minor adjustments, and you get the feeling, that he is turning the knobs to get a sharp picture. Also, in the seventies, everybody had a TV but it was still, as it is today, a rather big expense. The characters are: The man (the main character), the girl and the boy, who is the only character in our story to be called by his name, Jack. The man is middle-aged. In the beginning of the story, he brings out a lot of things from his home, and most of them are gifts. ...read more.


She has an air of promiscuity about her. She keeps asking Jack to lie with her on the bed, and even asks "what if.." in the story thus suggesting that they have sex right then and there. The boy laughs but for no good reason. Her exhibitionistic nature cannnot help her asking that question and when the man asks the couple to dance, she jumps to the chance of putting herself on display. She shares a moment of intimacy with the man but we are never told exactly what is going on between the two in that sequence. She feels his breath on her neck, pushes her face into his shoulder and pulls him closer. Could be they are just dancing but could also be that they are having sex. I think they are dancing closely and that the intimacy they shared when dancing confuses the girl to the extent that she has to tell everyone about it afterwards as it touches something in her that she has not experienced before; something that she cannot fathom. ...read more.


He craves female company and when he finally has female company in his yard, it is a naive girl, who does not know any of his records and drinks watered down whiskey. Drinking a whiskey and dancing could be a ritual performed by him and his wife and so he looks for someone to come and perform his ritual with him as he misses it terribly. He more or less gives his stuff away to the young couple to rid himself of the reminders of life with his wife. The man is basically lonely and by saying that he is, I have also arrived at my conclusion as to what the message of this story is. "Why don't you dance?" gives us the message that loneliness is one of the saddest human emotions and in order to rid yourself of it, you need to be open and let people in. You cannot be alone forever. 082102/ English Jeanette Kenworth 1 ...read more.

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