What was the problem with the little dancing girl, and was it really a ritual?
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For one soldier, Azar, the dancing girl symbolizes the unknowability and otherness of the Vietnamese. Her village was just burned, her family was killed, and she is dancing. Azar finds it strange, exotic. But Dobbins, who is the more sympathetic character, sees the girls' innate humanness and tries to understand her as he would understand an American, as someone with a will and tastes.
"A while later, when we moved out of the hamlet, she was still dancing. 'Probably some weird ritual,' Azar said, but Henry Dobbins looked back and said no, the girl just liked to dance."