Living Like Weasles

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It is amazing to witness how two very qualified authors are able to write about two extremely similar topics in his or her respective essay, yet the two authors come from two vastly different time periods and literary movements. Henry David Thoreau, the author of "Where I Lived, What I Lived For" lived as a transcendentalist, and published his work in 1854 after living life in a cabin in the woods. The other author, Annie Dillard, a modern day transcendentalist, published her work, "Living Like Weasels" in 1974. Her essay deals with an "out of body" experience and enlightenment Dillard had with a wild animal. The span between Thoreau and Dillard is almost 120 years, but the concepts which the two authors address remain almost identical. Although Thoreau's "Where I Lived, What I Lived For" and Dillard's "Living Like Weasels" appear upon first glance as if both essays have essentially little in common, the author's choices in theme provide for interesting similarities and equally interesting differences. Thoreau's unique use of sophisticated language leads to a problematic experience when reading, whereas Dillard's simple use of diction allows the reader to be more fully engaged. Thoreau's diction is a major factor in distinguishing between his and Dillard's essays. Earlier in his essay, Thoreau's words do not go against his upbringing. When he discusses the building of houses or the domestic economy, the man is just a fiery thinker and a practical person. However, this all changes once Thoreau discusses on the importance of reading Aeschylus in the original Greek. He states to completely ignore the modern translations offered by the "modern cheap and fertile press." (Thoreau 159) The reader feels after this that Thoreau is now a member of the elite upper class addressing his audience. He states at the end of the essay for "noble villages of men" (Thoreau 162) in which education is spread broadly through the population instead of thinly over the...
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