Analysis of "Seeing" by Annie Dillard

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Max
11/5/12
Eng. 101 9:30-11:00

"Seeing" by Annie Dillard:
1) According to Dillard, lovers and the knowledgeable can see well. Yet she also suggests that those who are knowledgeable on a topic, such as people who have been blind from birth and can suddenly see (due to an opperation), can perhaps view more objectively the world around them, and see it in a way that those with vision from birth cannot. Infants, she says, can see very clearly, for they are viewing the world for the first time, and can observe the colors and the light with no prejudgments, but we forget this experience as we grow older, and only occasionally catch glimpses of this phenomenon. 2) Lovers can see well, because their vision transcends the obvious, if they love a lake, they do not merely see a lake, but also see what the lake represents for them, they see meaning. The knowledgeable can see because as small children we are constantly learning, but those who are knowledgeable continue to learn throughout their lives, which enables them to keep discovering new ways to view the world and allows them to keep an open mind and open eye. Those who know little can see, but only if they are open to knowledge, even if that knowledge is self taught, they just must be open to experience and to wonder. 3) Seeing contributes to happiness because when we allow ourselves to see, we allow ourselves to open our minds and our hearts, and to see the wonder in the world, which we often close ourselves off to as we grow older. Perhaps when we begin to learn of all the sufferings of reality, we close ourselves off to seeing, because we don't want to know, but if we do not allow ourselves to see and feel suffering, we shut the door to the joys and wonders of this world as well. 4) The part of Dillard's essay which struck me the most was her retelling of the experiences of those who had been blinded from birth and were then granted sight, and how they did not have a sense of visual space or distance. It made me realize how my perception of the world is a combination of all my senses, and I can't really distinguish them. If I see an apple, I don't only see it, but I imagine how it feels, tastes, smells, sounds as I bight into it. It is hard to separate each of those from each other, but the sound of an apple being bitten into without the knowledge of it being an apple or knowing what it tastes or smells like, is a novel idea. To think of it separately is difficult, but if you can isolate it, it is truly fascinating, exciting even, for it is like a whole new experience. 5) When Dillard uses the term seeing, she means seeing something beyond the obvious. When looking at a tree, not seeing just a tree, but seeing it as if you were seeing it for the first time, and seeing it for all that it entails. 6) A person may "see" not with the eyes, if they were to feel something deep within themselves that could not be attributed to any of the senses. Seeing in this case means to understand what the view means to the individual. 7) See is most closely a synonym with understand and appreciate. What Dillard means is to appreciate, for often we go through life not "seeing" because we are ungrateful. However, one cannot truly appreciate unless they understand. One can look at the stars and not know what they are and still see them and understand. What I mean by understand, is not to be able to scientifically explain, but to wonder about and to be able to understand what it means to the the individual. Death of a Moth- Annie Dillard

8) The indefinite article article "a" in Dillard's title suggests that when she speaks about the vulnerabilities and fragilities of one moth, she speaks for the whole species. She observed "a" moth burn in the candle, but it could have been any moth, for they all are vulnerable to fire. Humans as well, are all connected in this way, when one person dies, we are reminded of our own vulnerability and our own lack of power in the face of death. 9) In...
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