About Point of View
As I finish The Dancin’ Man people asked me, “What is your book about?”
One of my answers appears in the summary description on a previous page. Another might be that The Dancin’ Man is the story of a young man, Ted Brunson, who gets what he wants and only much later realizes the cost.
When I was young, my mother gave me a painted tile. The legend read, “Whatever thou desirest, O foolish man, pay the price and take it.” Ted Brunson pays the price, but in his late forties, dealing with multiple life crises, he questions the wisdom of the choices he has made.
But The Dancin’ Man is about much more than one man’s decisions. It is about women in the work force, the privileges and responsibilities that come with wealth, and the stratification of southern society. Perhaps most obviously, The Dancin’ Man is about family and about the way parents shape their children’s attitudes and expectations. Most especially it is about secrets.
This book is also about the way different people view the same situation or event. The steeplechase, for instance, when Virginia announces to her mother, Dolly, that she plans to marry Ted. You will see the confrontation from both Virginia and Dolly’s point of view.
The truth is that we can only experience events from where we are in our own lives at the time. At the steeplechase,Virginia is nineteen. She perpetuates the image of her confrontation with Dolly, never adjusting her reactions in terms of events that follow. As Sam, her twin brother, tells her, she nurses her grudges, frozen emotionally in time. Ted and Sam remain friends because they have both adjusted their view, accepted the inevitable, grown into their maturity; Sam because of a near death experience and Ted because he’s Ted.