The Taught Dance By Justin Torres

1600 Words7 Pages
The Taught “Dance” of Generations For many, the relationship they form with their parents establishes the standard for how the majority of their other connections will cultivate in their life. According to psychologist Sigmund Freud, these relationships -whether positive or negative- have a tremendous impact on how people comport themselves with others later in life. Additionally, the relationships maintained with ones’ parental figures become somewhat of a mirror of how one will act themselves in their adult life, any sort of trauma experienced during childhood can compromise your behavior. This Freudian analysis is apparent in the novel, We the Animals by Justin Torres. “Paps” as his own children tenderly refer him, is suggested to have…show more content…
When not meeting his standards of a Puerto Rican dance style, Paps dances for his children and says to them, “‘This is your heritage,’ he said as if from this dance we could know about his own childhood…about his Paps, how he beat him, how he taught him how to dance.” (pg. 10). This quote demonstrates the most revealing background information that the reader gets of the boys’ father. Although, usually reserved in his thoughts, the way he is expressed to move in such elegance during his dance says more about him. A double-edged sword, suggesting that his dance stems from something much deeper rooted, he treats his own sons in accordance to the way he himself was raised. The real dance his father taught him was abuse and in the same way Paps continues to teach the same “dance” to his own children. As a child, one rarely possesses any domineering power over their parents, however as an adult one is more easily able control what children can or cannot do. In a sense, I believe the way Paps behaves towards his own children is his method of regaining the power he did not have against his own father. Although the desire to gain power is unconscious, he continues to perpetuate the same abuse his father put onto him because it is the only form of control he recognized. Throughout the novel he craves for this same control, however he expresses this in many different forms. One of the ways Paps exerts control is through manipulation and instilling the belief in his
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