Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

by Annie Dillard

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The Narrator
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek is written in the first person; that is, the narrator continually refers to herself as ‘‘I.’’ But the book is not an autobiography, and the author is not the narrator. In fact, an early draft of the manuscript was set in New England and was narrated by a young man. For Dillard, the identity of the speaker was not central to her explorations. The narrator of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, then, may more properly be thought of as a persona than as Dillard herself.

Few biographical details can be discerned about the narrator. She lives near Tinker Creek in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. She is well-educated and has read widely, and she spends most of her time alone, closely observing the natural world. She seems to have no daily responsibilities or occupations, but has the time and the patience to spend hours alone in one place watching the light changing or a duck eating. She once had a cat, but she does not mention any family, and she does not seek the company of other humans except for an occasional evening game of pinochle with unnamed friends. No other person plays a significant role in the book.

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