The Chase

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In “The Chase” by Annie Dillard, the actual chase sequence is only six paragraphs long, a relatively short selection. But when read by the reader the passage seems to be much longer than only six paragraphs. This effect is made possible through Dillard’s excellent use of description, details, transitions, repetition, sentence variety, parallelism, point of view, and tension.

“He ran after us, and we ran away from him, up the snowy Reynolds sidewalk. At the corner, I looked back; incredibly, he was still after us. He was in city clothes: a suit and tie, street shoes. Any normal adult would have quit, having sprung us into flight and made his point. This man was gaining on us. He was a thin man, all action. All of a sudden, we were running for our lives.”(105) In this paragraph we see the very detailed style of writing that Dillard uses to keep the reader engaged in the story. The excellent imagery in this passage puts the reader right into the action. Another example of great imagery is: “He chased Mikey and me around the yellow house and up a backyard path we knew by heart: under a low tree, up a bank, through a hedge, down some snowy steps, and across a grocery store’s delivery driveway. We smashed through a gap in another hedge entered a scruffy backyard and ran around its back porch and tight between houses to Edgerton Avenue; we ran across Edgerton to an alley and up our own sliding woodpile to Halls’ front yard; he kept coming. We ran up Lloyd street and wound through mazy back yards toward the steep hilltop at Willard and Lang.”(105-106) They way Dillard uses the actual street names and names of houses really gives the story a sense of homeness; as if this city could be your very own hometown. The short prepositional phrases also put you right into the action. “Wordless, we split up.”(105) is how the transition to the next paragraph reads. This very unique transition is unlike most transitions that would tell the reader how far the chase has gone or how...
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