An American Childhood Critical Analysis

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Erik Gottenborg
McBride
English 102
February 7, 2013
Critical Analysis of Dillard's "An American Childhood"
Throughout "An American Childhood", Dillard shares with us her childhood experiences with her dear mother. Dillard's admiration for her mother is clearly visible through the way she explains in depth all of the memorable situations and events. Dillard explains how intelligent her mother was and how she always played mind games with her and her sister. The characteristic Dillard displays of her mother can tell the audience that Mother is as unique and spontaneous as can be. After hearing one phrase over the television "Terwilliger bunts one", Mother would be using it for over 7 years in odd ways such as saying it to testing a microphone or writing it to test a pen if it had ink. If anyone spoke in French around her she would reply to them with "Terwilliger bunts one", just because she liked the way it sounded. During a trip to Florida, she would repeat words that interested her like "portulaca" or "Tampiami Trial". Words always excited her, she would pronounce words carefully and spell them out aloud. She would ask Dillard as a child to spell hard words like "poinsettia" or "sherbet", just to prove to them that they do not know it all yet. She once told Dillard that there was a deer in their hall. Dillard replied, "Really?". "No," replied Mother," I just wanted to tell you something once without you saying 'I know'". Many of times Dillard was in line at the checkout stand with her mother at supermarkets, the cashier would ask "Save Stamps?" and mother would reply "No. I build model airplanes". The quickness of diction and dry sense of humor makes Mother that much more unique and different from other mothers. When Dillard's younger sister, Molly, started to crawl, Mother bought her gowns with drawstrings. Mother would walk up behind Molly and step on the drawstrings to get a laugh out of it. Molly would crawl, crawl, and crawl while...
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