Awareness in An American Childhood

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AP Lang
4 December 2012
Awareness in An American Childhood
“I sip my coffee. I look at the mountain, which is still doing its tricks, as you look at a still-beautiful face belonging to a person who was once your lover in another country years ago: with fond nostalgia, and recognition, but no real feeling save a secret astonishment that you are now strangers.” In this excerpt from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek Annie Dillard says that she had “no real feeling” for her past lover because now all they are is strangers. In Dillard’s work, An American Childhood, she strongly emphasizes the importance of full awareness of your surroundings.

In An American Childhood Annie Dillard uses imagery and expansive writing to support her argument that consciousness is extremely her young skin and her mother’s old skin. Annie is looking in the mirror watching her parents get ready, when they leave she says, “I hoped they knocked them dead; I hoped their friends knew how witty they were and how splendid.” (27) The quote emphasizes the importance of consciousness because without it, you would just notice the surface of something. Throughout the book, Annie begins with describing the things she notices with just surface details, later she gets to the inside of the object or person and you really see the beauty of it and how wonderful it is. One example of this is her description of the Irish girl next door. At first, Annie thought she was entranced by their beauty, but later realizes that it was the passion and love for what she was doing that made her beautiful. In An American Childhood by Annie Dillard, imagery is used to argue that awareness and complete consciousness is important to have a full life.
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