Monday, February 7, 2011

"Why don't you Dance" and "Beginners"

The stories “Why don’t you Dance” and “Beginners” by Raymond Carver are about love and mainly relationships.  In “Why don’t you Dance” a young woman and man are looking to furnish an apartment and see all this furniture out on a lawn and assume it is a yard sale.  The man who owns the property seems to be lonely and missing something in his life.  The young couple offer to buy a few things and when they are finished the man offers a drink.  When they are drinking the man puts on music and tells them to dance.  The young man does not want to dance so the older man does and we see him kind of open up and she even puts her head on his shoulder.
The “Beginners” is about a pair of couples who are having a drink around a table in the day time.  They are talking about all kinds of topics but than they fell on the subject of love.  All the people at the table have been married before this and started talking about how they fell out of love at one time with there other partners.  The older man is a doctor and tells a story about how this much older couple where in an accident and had to be in separate rooms while they had to recover.  The doctor has talks with the older man everyday and he finds out the couple has only been apart for a prolonged time twice in their many, many years of marriage.  Hearing this and seeing how much they in love makes the doctor really think about his relationships and his wife.
The globally accepted aspect of collective cultural ideology that Carver is examining is the first on the list where he aims to examine the subject matter in terms of  power relationships and examine how these relationships influence cultural practices.  In “Why don’t you Dance” we see an example of this when the woman is questioning what is happening.  "The guy was about middle-aged. All his things right there in his yard. No lie. We got real pissed and danced. In the driveway. Oh, my God. Don't laugh. He played us these records. Look at this record-player. The old guy give it to us. and all these crappy records. Will you look at this shit?"   She kept talking. She told everyone. There was more to it, and she was trying to get it talked out. After a time, she quit trying.”  She is trying to figure out the relationship that the man had and what was exactly going on with this man.  She knew that there was some kind of relationship but she couldn't figure out exactly what is was an no one was listening to her.  In “Beginning” The doctor ask, “What do any of us really know about love?” Herb said. “I kind of mean what I’m saying, too, if you’ll pardon me for saying it. But it seems to me we’re just rank beginners at love. We say we love each other and we do, I don’t doubt it. We love each other and we love hard, all of us. I love Terri and Terri loves me, and you guys love each other.”  He says that they are just beginners at love and he thinks that they have no idea how to really love because of there failed past marriages.  When he speaks to the old man in hospital he gains an insight to what true love is and how it should be passed along and received.  He lets the old couple visit each other everyday and he notices that they are friends first because they never run out of anything to talk about and are truly in love.  His wife now has a different view on what love is thanks to her first husband Carl.  Carl was an aggressive person and he often would beat his wife.  While he was beating her he would say things like I told you I love you and she thought it was his way of showing it.  When they broke it off Carl would follow them and leave them threatening messages and they were very scarred.  This is not the love the old man in hospital was talking about and the doctor knew it was not true love.
The conclusion that Carver comes to is that we all need healthy relationships in are life that can and will be good for us.  These relationships involve love and what can come out of it if it is the proper kind.  Also these relationships can be on a friendly level like just having someone to talk and dance with.

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