Study Guide

Why Don't You Dance? Money

By Raymond Carver


The premise of "Why Don't You Dance?" is that all the older man's stuff is up for sale, so there's quite a bit of chatter about money. The young couple shows up early in the story while the guy is out, and starts strategizing how to get the most stuff for the least amount of money. It's kind of sad since this guy is basically selling his entire life away, and the couple is trying to lowball him on the souvenirs and objects associated with that life.

The older man doesn't seem to care, though—he's perfectly happy to accept whatever price the kids want to offer him. The fact that he's so happy being lowballed shows just how desperate he is to shed off his former life… or perhaps for something else this young couple offers him.

Questions About Money

  1. Why does the older guy put all of his stuff up for sale?
  2. Why doesn't the older guy seem to care how much he gets for stuff? What dos he value?
  3. Why is money mentioned so often in the story? What significance do these references have to our understanding of the characters and/or their relationships?

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