Annie Dillard American Literature Analysis
Dillard is much more than the voice of her most popular book, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. In fact, those readers and critics who view her as an untutored Appalachian local who both rhapsodizes about and is horrified by the natural world of rural Virginia greatly misjudge their subject. That Dillard can make her readers share in such small and private activities as seeking out praying mantis egg cases or sitting quietly trying not to scare a muskrat attests to both her powers of observation and her skill at descriptive narration. All of Dillard’s writing displays this almost photographic evocation of place, a skill that has prompted critics to label her a naturalist. Dillard does not agree; for her, the natural world provides the only avenue by which to contemplate the ultimate, the absolute, the divine. Nature provides metaphors that describe human agonies and activities; nature, for Dillard, is the only place where she can catch glimpses of an otherwise silent and invisible God.
Surprisingly to some people, Dillard does not think of herself as an environmentalist or as a champion of wilderness preservation; rather, she sees herself as someone for whom the world is her greatest subject because it allows her to consider those questions she sees as being most vital. Because she believes that it is a writer’s goal to bring enlightenment, give clarification, search out answers, and provide inspiration, her writing probes the nature of being and the...
(The entire section is 4833 words.)
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