In Annie Dillard‟s “Terwilliger Bunts One,” Dillard‟s mother is explained through small anecdotes throughout the story. Through these anecdotes, the reader can grasp how Dillard admires and feels about her mother. Beginning with her mother‟s creativeness to her mother‟s challenging playfulness, the reader can sense, through Dillard‟s writing, admiration and sometimes ambivalence for the qualities Dillard‟s mother holds. The story unfolds in the kitchen when Dillard‟s mother catches onto the words, “Terwilliger bunts one.” The phrase is repeated continuously and shows Dillard‟s mother‟s way with words. It displays how Dillard‟s mother makes “this surprising string of syllables her own,” (151) by explaining how her mother uses the phrase and repeats it over and over again. Dillard seems to exert admiration for her mother‟s thoughtfulness with words as she thinks about the “Tamiami Trail” and even how her mother notices the exclusive way Pittsburghers speak. When Dillard‟s mother challenges her with spelling words, Dillard learns the small lessons that she doesn‟t know everything and that her mother will go to ways to try and show her that by saying, “ „No, I just wanted to tell you something once without your saying, „I know‟‟” (152). Dillard then goes on to explain how her mother likes to joke with people and prank people. Sometimes, Dillard wouldn‟t even understand the jokes, “It took me years to determine where the joke lay” (152). Dillard seems to admire her mother‟s way of playing with the world and keeping things lighthearted, such as when her mother tricks the crawling toddler Molly with a drawstring gown, and as they got older, her mother‟s way with playing the wrong number on the phone and the pranks she pulled on people at the beach.
Displaying creativeness and excelling at bridge, Dillard‟s mother seemed to amaze Dillard and her family. Dillard explains her mother‟s intellect with gaming and also her judgmental nature when analyzing the products and...
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