Analysis of Annie Dilliard's "Living Like Weasels".

Topics: Writing, Annie Dillard, Short story Pages: 3 (901 words) Published: March 8, 2004
Analysis: "Living Like Weasels"

Annie Dillard

Annie Dillard's essay "Living Like Weasels" offers its readers a unique comparison between the life of weasels and the life of human beings. It seems that one of Dillard's principal objectives is to appeal to all types of people so that all can enjoy her writing. Therefore, Dillard uses stylistic choice to make her story more universally understandable. This essay examines four different realms of discourse in detail. In the first two paragraphs all types are demonstrated including the children's story, objective or naturalistic, scientific and poetic approaches. These realms of discourse are established in the beginning and can be seen again throughout the essay.

As the essay begins, the sense of a children's story is very much conveyed. "A weasel is wild. Who knows what he thinks? He sleeps in his underground den, his tail draped over his nose." These first three sentences give an introduction to the topic and describe the basics about a weasel. The short sentences are typical of children's story writing as well as the simple ideas. Dillard uses this type of introduction to appeal to all types of readers and to establish her ideas in a very elementary type style.

Throughout the entire rest of the story, this childlike approach continues as Dillard describes the actual account she once had with a weasel. It is very descriptive and almost journal or diary like. The bulk of the story follows this pattern and although the vocabulary becomes more complicated and a little more trivial, the sense of a children's story is still present. By using this technique throughout the essay, the reader is able to easily follow the story and acquire a true sense of what the author's message is.

A second realm of discourse used is the objective or naturalistic approach. This is also seen in the beginning of the story when Dillard talks about an account where a naturalist came in to contact with a weasel and refused to...
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