God in the Doorway

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Vinny Smyth
AP English
Mrs. Connors
9/3/12
Annie Dillard uses many rhetorical strategies to convey the idea that Santa is God. She uses the perspective of a girl and Santa to describe the relationship between God and us. Dillard uses blunt and obvious statements as well as hidden meanings to convey her ideas in the excerpt. She uses both of these methods to show the girl’s acknowledgement, abandonment and final acceptance of God in and around her.

Dillard uses an obvious statement at the beginning of the piece to ingrain the idea that Santa is a comparison to God, to the reader. “Like everyone in his right mind, I feared Santa Claus, thinking he was God.” This sets the thought process for the rest of the excerpt and clearly states what the author wants you think. She uses hidden statements as well to acknowledge that Santa is God by describing his divine qualities and adapting them on to Santa. “…but had barely tested the possibility of shaping my own behavior, and then only from fear, and yet not from love.”

The girl runs from Santa and is beckoned back by her mother Father and Sister, but she would not budge. This can be an example of how we run from God and although many try, at least at first, we do not conform. ”My Mother called and called, enthusiastic, pleading; I wouldn’t come down. My father encouraged me; my sister howled” Once more resistance takes place as the girl interacts again with the Santa, although without her costume, can still be compared to God. “…I ran from her again” The girl finally accepts that she was wrong to run from Santa/God and that it was nothing wrong on his part but solely on hers. “It is I who misunderstood everything and let everybody down. Miss White, God, I am sorry I ran from you.” This marks the girl’s acknowledgement that her fear interfered with the relationship between herself and God.

Using obvious as well as subtle rhetoric strategies Dillard simply conveys her point across to the reader. God wants only to...
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