The Dragon Can't Dance
The Dragon Can’t Dance
Often when one comes to the realization of delusion in the understanding of an event, anger at defeat kicks in.
In this particular passage from The Dragon Can’t Dance, Lovelace manages to provoke in his readers a sense of loss concerning one’s roots and customs. The excerpt is extracted from a fictional novel, which deals with the slaves that came through the middle passage from Africa as chattels. Within this passage are manifestations of - the main character - Aldrick Prospects’ frustration.
Throughout the passage Lovelace uses several literary devices to further enhance the piece. With the incorporation of repetition, imagery, characterization, and symbols, the perfect mood is created for an event like the Carnival Monday to take place.
The passage consists of two paragraphs: the first paragraph consists of twenty lines, seventeen of which compose one sentence; Lovelace uses this as a literary device to preserve the continuity of his descriptions and thought process. The mood is assembled with the images that are projected to the readers. Sacredness and the need to break loose of this restraining authority are the most controlling conditions under consideration in the first paragraph. The second paragraph consists of another twenty lines, but which are reasonably worded and seem to convey the narrators’ observations regarding the situation. There is a distinct difference in both these paragraphs since one examines the past and the other progresses to the present. The overall effect of the piece lies in the reaction of the main character – Aldrick Prospect – that undergoes a change in the way he deems and perceives the significance of a particular ritual of his people.
In the introductory paragraph, Lovelace describes to his readers the beginning of the day, the sweeping of the grounds, the preparation for Carnival Monday. He describes to his readers’ the importance that lies in the memory of this ritual, and exactly what this memory consists of. Lovelace also establishes the setting and a general characterization of his main character.
In line 3 we as readers understand from the “beating kerosene tins for drums..” portrayal that those people do not possess the ability to buy real drums, and therefore it is conveyed that they are poor and perhaps inferior to the rest of the society. This begins Lovelaces’ characterization of those people as slaves. Subsequently, he manifests through description the importance of this event known as Carnival Monday. The fact that the yards are being swept and that there is heralding to the masqueraders’ arrival gives the readers a sense of what importance this event holds to the people. Following this description, there is text that identifies this ritual as having great historical significance. This is substantiated in line 5 where the author tells us that “..that goes back centuries for its beginnings, back across the Middle Passage, back to Mali and to Guinea and Dahomey and Congo, back to Africa…”
The setting is then further identified as Lovelace refers to the slaves that came as chattels from Africa to work in the Caribbean island of Trinidad.
In continuation to this thought, Lovelace elaborates on the earlier mention of masqueraders. He characterizes the “Maskers” as “sacred and revered, the keepers of the poisons and the heads of secret societies,” in lines 7 and 8. Lovelace then states the function of this Carnival starting from line 10 and continuing to the end of the paragraph.
Within those lines, the author seems to juxtapose the meaning of the carnival, for example in line 10, where he states that the masqueraders would affirm “warriorhood and femininity”. Those two expressions strongly contrast against each other, and therefore the reader is presented with two different sides of what this carnival may mean. The warriorhood and depravity it consists of only to convey the people’s ability for endurance, and the sensitivity linking the villagers to their ancestors. Lovelace again reinforces the importance of this event in the subsequent lines, saying “…remembered even now, so long after the Crossing, if not in the brain then certainly in the blood;” (lines11,12).
Here the paragraph is not ended, but interrupted with a semicolon. This deviation has a purpose of separating both thoughts but not in a