Analysis of William Frederick Witherington’s short story The Dancing Bear 1.
The initial impression gathered from the passage is bizarre and very dreamlike, perhaps chiefly because it is an excerpt from a novel or a larger literary work. Upon further analysis, the passage develops an eerily violent tone. The events appear to take place in the home of Dieter Bethge, during a stormy night while he is sleeping. Immediately the rain is described as falling with “sodden fury”, introducing the negative tone. Shortly after this description, Mrs. Hax adopts the persona of an animal stalking its prey. She “methodically trimmed the glass out of the frame” eerily without emotion, despite the fact that she is on her way to cause harm to Dieter, as what can further be assumed by her act of “comitt[ing] her injuries in advance to Bethge’s head”. The “atonal ringing” promotes the eerie feeling further. There is no pureness or musicality in atonal ringing; it is an unsettling sound. The uncomfortable feelings of the first paragraph, along with the unnatural and uncomfortable falling of Mrs. Hax from the basement window, are drastically contrasted against the natural, peaceful description of Bethge’s dream. The “perfect, graceful dance” performed by the bear caused him “great peace rather than alarm”. The two paragraphs that describe his dream are completely peaceful, and then the following paragraphs seem to shift “from dream to the sharp, troubling present”. The paragraph which begins with “He tried” sets a weirdly relaxed mood despite the tension of the situation. It almost reflects the “perfect, graceful dance, performed without a hint of the foppishness or studied concentration that mars the dance of humans” that was performed by the bear in his dream. There are no harsh word used in this paragraph other than the word “striking”, but there was no blood gushing or limbs snapping, his mouth only “filled with something warm and salty”. The blood was “singing in his veins”....
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