The Dragon Can’t Dance The Dragon Cant 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 Cant Dance, Lovelace manages to provoke in his readers a sense of loss concerning ones 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 peoples 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 complete sense. The sentence is still continued, but with a greater pause so the thoughts are separated and a new aspect of the carnival is presented to us: the dragon, and who occupies his authoritative costume. The costume that Aldrick Prospect wears signifies sacredness, virtue, and reverence of his ancestral gods. To him, this mask is sacred and provides him with an ancestral authority to uphold before the people of this Hill, this tribe marooned so far from the homeland that never was their home, the warriorhood that had not died in them, their humanness that was determined not by their possession of things.
(Lines 15-17) Aldrick Prospect is absorbed in this spiritual link with his ancestors, and he occupies the most significant costume- or so it seems. This is the way Aldrick Prospect perceives this carnival to be, and what he strongly believes is the aim or purpose of this carnival. His personal mission, however, varies slightly from the overall definition of this carnival to him. He had a desire, a mission, to let them see their beauty, to uphold the unending rebellion they waged, huddled here on this stone and dirt hill hanging over the city like the open claws on a dragons hand, threatening destruction if they were not recognized as human beings. (Lines 17-20) In those lines, the importance of Aldrick Prospects character is emphasized.
His importance in the event is stressed, and again there is reinforcement of the purpose of this carnival. Those past lines mark the ending of the first paragraph, and subsequently the mood begins to shift. The author spoke of the past and of history and of ancestry, and here, the paragraph starts off with the present But this Carnival, (Line 21). The passage will now take on a different affect in the sense that Aldrick explores his disappointment in his mission. Aldrick states that he .had a feeling of being the last one, the last symbol of rebellion and threat to confront Port of Spain. (Line21,22) Through this omniscient insight on what he is feeling, of him being the last suggests that all else has been lost. The next few lines confirm his view of being the last in the sense that the author speaks of two significant characters that no longer played the same role in the carnival as they had in the past. Immediately after, Aldrick seems to dwell on the past symbol of the carnival, and what used to be present that is no longer here.
Once there were stickfighters who assembled each year to keep alive in battles between themselves the practice of a warriorhoood born in them; and there were devils, black men who blackened themselves further with black grease to make of their very blackness a menace, a threat. (Lines 25-28) This seems to be a recollection of the various facets of the carnival that seemed to together unite and convey a sense of rebellion, but that have been lost or demolished. In the next few lines there is a buildup of a striking, shocking image of: men in jester costumes, their caps and shoes filled with tinkling bells, cracking long whips in the streets, with which they lashed each other with full force, proclaiming in this display that they could receive the hardest blow without flinching at its coming, without feeling what, at its landing, must have been burning pain. This is a terrifying recollection of one of the rituals that Aldricks people practiced, and it serves in exacerbating the depravity of what was done during that carnival. There is an abrupt shift away from the sense of depravity in the next sentence, however, which starts with: Suddenly, they were all gone (Line34) It is here that the reader understands Aldricks feeling of being the last one and the last symbol for his people. He begins to lose faith in the omnipotence that he once thought this carnival could maintain.
The word gone is repeated in the subsequent lines to emphasize the abandonment Aldrick feels. This juxtaposition to the previous scene stuns and astonishes the reader because the sense of solitude contrasts sharply with the previously painted picture filled with brutalities and atrocities. What Aldricks people have failed to see, however, is that those brutalities and atrocities were imperative and immensely instrumental in manifesting and delivering their message. The next few sentences reinforce the concept of the message and the authority being lost. It was not only being lost but it was also being replaced by figures that were irrelevant to what the original Carnival attempted to convey.
This loss of the message seems to anger the narrator, judging from his choice of words when describing the events previously mentioned. Only through the last sentence, however, does he convey the source of his frustration. But bothering him even more than this was the thought that maybe he didnt believe in the dragon any more. (Lines 39,40) From this sole sentence there is loss of faith, disappointment, and failure depicted. The realization that he alone no matter how significant could not carry the message, and furthermore was being drowned out by impertinent aspects that were entering the Carnival, inevitably distresses the character of Aldrick. His character, though strongly developed, does not seem to be the sole focus of the excerpt.
The gradual stripping of the necessary facets of the Carnival that affect Aldrick so deeply is what seems to be of greater significance. The concept of one being dispossessed of the beliefs that have constituted his ancestral history has the master effect on readers. The images and illusions Lovelace uses support and enhance this concept, and through his literary devices he is able to provoke pathos in the readers thereby intensifying the disappointment and loss of faith in ones self in the end of the excerpt. English Essays.