Dance In Tim O Brien's The Things They Carried

1100 Words5 Pages
“There was no music,” starts Style, a chapter of Tim O’Brien’s book The Things They Carried. A fourteen-year-old Vietnamese girl dances gracefully, surrounded by a burned down hamlet. Two American soldiers, Azar and Henry Dobbins, while searching through the wreckage, tries unsuccessfully to understand why the girl is dancing. When they leave, Azar mocks the girl’s dancing, and Henry scolds him, threatening him to "dance right." If this summary sounds vague, that is because the story is. Using generalized vocabulary, Tim O'Brien leaves many concepts of the story unexplained. The main unexplained concept is the girl and her dancing, the principal focus of this chapter, as well as why the soldiers reacted the way they did. The lack of…show more content…
The chapter does not confirm. Is it a "weird ritual," as Azar guesses? Or is it something to distract her from the death of her family? What does dancing represent to the girl and to the village? The omitted explanation as to why the girl is dancing represents how the experiences and feelings of a victim are also omitted from media exposure of wars. Not knowing the underlying meaning of the dance as causes the readers to pay more attention to the visual aspect of the dance; the way the girl is dancing. It describes that she is dancing while “sometimes smiling to herself,” and she also “did a graceful movement with her hips.” This presents the readers with an image of someone who is happy and at peace. It is as if this description of her dancing is distracting the readers from the destruction, just as how the media tries to hide away the violence of war from privileged citizens, while, in reality, victims are in pain. This odd image of the girl dancing happily also confused the soldiers. They cannot ask why the girl is dancing due to the language barrier, which could also reflect on how dominant-class citizens are often disconnected from victims in war. The soldiers cannot ask anyone, and hence they may never know why the girl is dancing, so they comfort their curiosity by filling in the blanks. Upper-class citizens do not know the victims and the war personally, so they too fill in the blanks. The soldiers also react in various ways that have many underlying meanings not explicitly said. Their reactions could reflect on how first worlds react to

    More about Dance In Tim O Brien's The Things They Carried

      Open Document