An American Childhood
An American Childhood, by Annie Dillard, is a happy memoir of Annie's own life, a child of a well-to-do Pittsburgh family. The activities she had as a child, such as piano lessons and dance class, show her family’s wealth. Instead of having to work as a child she shares stories of fun and learning. This is illustrated on page 30, where she is describing the night when her family saw Jo Ann Sheehy skating on the street. As she is talking about how Jo Ann was “turning on ice-skates inside the streetlight’s yellow cone of light” Annie describes her home and family. Annie stood at the window and watched Jo Ann Sheehy and said she expected her to get hit by a car any second. Annie had always thought that if anyone wanted to skate they would just go to a nearby skating rink where they were not in danger of getting hit by a car. The street was the only rink the girl was able to have. Dillard remembers much of her childhood and doesn't hesitate to tell us a bit of it. Author Flannery O'Conner once said, "any novelist who could survive her childhood had enough to write about for a lifetime." This was most certainly the case for Dillard.
A person's childhood is something that cannot be forgotten. From grandparents telling their grandchildren about when they were their age, to criminals pleading that their childhood caused them to become evil, our first years are our most important. Annie Dillard certainly remembered her childhood. It is clear that what Dillard tells us about her life is true. It is easy to classify Dillard as an avid reader as she constantly mentions all her books. "As a child I read hoping to learn everything, so I could be like my father," Dillard said on page 214.
An American Childhood is extremely interesting and entertaining. Having taken place in modern times, Dillard was born in 1945 and the story begins when she is five, it is something we can all follow and appreciate...
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